Tendering guide

This page is designed to provide potential suppliers with an outline of the procurement process and examples of what is required when bidding for a contract. The following information is simply an overview to provide examples of the type of information that is required when submitting tender documents, and is not an exhaustive list.

East Staffordshire Borough Council is committed to providing a high quality service to meet the needs of local residents, and seeks to attain best value in everything it purchases in order to make best use of public funds. The principles of best value mean that the Council will look to obtain the best balance of quality and price and not just the lowest price. In a procurement process this is often referred to as "the most economically advantageous tender", or MEAT for short.

When procuring works, goods or services the Council must adhere to its own internal regulations, the contract procedure rules. However, the tendering process may also be subject to the European Union procurement rules. This is dependent on the nature and contract value of the goods, works or services.

The application process

East Staffordshire Borough Council uses Delta eSourcing to manage its procurement processes. This is a web-based service that provides suppliers the chance to respond to opportunities that arise with the Council as well as over 525 other public sector bodies, representing thousands of individual buyers.

To find out more about how you can use this solution please visit www.delta-esourcing.com

Where tenders are to be invited, the procurement process will start with the works, goods or services being advertised by the Council as widely as possible. This will be done using the East Staffordshire Borough Council Buyer Profile as well as in the local press / media and external websites such as www.supplycontracts.co.uk; www.competefor.com; www.trackerintelligence.com/; and www.gov.uk/contracts-finder.

If the estimated total value of the contract is:

  • Less than £50,000 then potential suppliers will be invited to provide a written quotation for the works or services advertised.
  • In excess of £50,000 then competitive tendering will normally be invited.
  • In excess of the European Union (EU) threshold then competitive tendering will normally be invited and the potential contract will also be advertised in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

However as an alternative to tendering, where appropriate, the Council may opt to use Framework Agreements to award contracts. This could be through a direct call-off or through further competition with the suppliers on the framework as appropriate.

Where tenders are to be invited, there are a number of different tendering options open to the Council, for example:

  • Open procedure: The tendering opportunity will be advertised as widely as possible. This will be done using the East Staffordshire Borough Council Buyer Profile as well as in the local press / media and external websites and OJEU, where applicable. The tender will be open to anyone who expresses an interest.
  • Restricted Procedure: The tendering opportunity will be advertised as widely as possible. This will be done using the East Staffordshire Borough Council Buyer Profile as well as in the local press / media and external websites and OJEU, where applicable. Companies who express an interest will be required to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) – see below. The Council will evaluate the questionnaires and produce a shortlist of suitable companies who will then be invited to tender.

Where a procurement is expected to be particularly complex in nature, then other procedures may be appropriate, such as the "Competitive Procedure with Negotiation" or a "Competitive Dialogue".  

Pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ)

PQQs are used as a means to create a shortlist of potential providers. Returned PQQs will be evaluated and a shortlist drawn up. In addition to a completed PQQ, supporting documentation will be requested to enable the Council to evaluate the suitability of potential suppliers in terms of:

Economic and financial standing of the company: The PQQ will establish what type of organisation the bidder is (such as a sole trader, partnership or a subsidiary of a larger group) and how long the organisation has been trading for. It will also establish if the company has sufficient economic and financial capacity / stability. The PQQ will normally request accounts information which must be submitted with the completed PQQ.

Technical and Professional Ability: The PQQ will also establish whether the company has the technical and professional ability to provide the works or services required under the contract. The Council may impose requirements ensuring that organisations possess the necessary human and technical resources and experience to perform the contract to an appropriate quality standard. Th Council may also evaluate if organisations have have a sufficient level of experience demonstrated by suitable references from contracts performed in the past.

Exclusions: The PQQ also looks at potential contractors to establish whether or not there is evidence of convictions relating to specific criminal offences, in addition to other discretionary exclusions.

Pre-qualification Questionnaires will not normally be used in contracts below the OJEU threshold, but the Council may ask proportionate suitability assessment questions within the tender documents which are relevant to the subject matter of the contract.

The tender documents

The tender documents will look more closely at the specific details of the proposed contract. They are designed to look at the proposals made by each tendering company, and will evaluate against a number of award criteria, including the proposed cost of the goods, works or services and compliance with the contract specification. The tender documents will normally contain:

Tendering guidelines and evaluation methodology: It will contain detailed instructions on how to complete the tender, including deadlines for return of the documents, and what supporting documentation should also be enclosed. It will also contain details of the evaluation criteria, such as how the importance of quality, price or other factors are weighted. For example, 50% quality, 50% price and any applicable sub-criteria.

Specification: The tender document will include a specification of the contract requirements. Tendering companies will be required to provide sufficient details to identify the critical activities associated with the execution of the proposed contract. This may include drawings of proposed works if applicable. Timescales will also need to be outlined, for example commencement and completion dates of the contract delivery.

Pricing schedule: Candidates will be asked to detail in full the cost of the contract activities. The Council is not bound to accept the lowest price, but will look to achieve the best balance of quality and price.

Contract documentation : The tender documents will include the terms and conditions and general obligations that both East Staffordshire Borough Council and the successful company must adhere to during the contract term.

Evaluation of tenders

The Council uses www.delta-esourcing.com to manage its procurement process, and all tenders are required to be submitted via this portal. Once the return date for tenders has passed, all the tenders received on time will be downloaded. The tenders will then be evaluated using the pre-specified scoring mechanism and in accordance with the weighting detailed in the tender documents. Tendering companies may be invited to attend an interview to conduct a presentation to representatives of the Council’s procurement team to clarify their tender submission.

Once all tenders have been evaluated, the successful candidate will be notified. The other candidates will also be informed that they have not been successful and who the contract is being awarded to. The unsuccessful candidates will then be given the opportunity to request feedback from the Council as to why their bid was not successful and what points were lacking. This encourages companies to improve, and increase their chances for success in the future.

Equalities

East Staffordshire Borough Council is committed to promoting equality when procuring goods and services. It is important that contractors tendering for Council work and suppliers can demonstrate a similar commitment to equality and non-discrimination.

As a local authority East Staffordshire Borough Council must ensure that our procurement activities are operated in a way that meets our legal equality obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and other equalities legislation.

Our procurement strategy outlines our commitment to equalities. This includes ensuring that equality considerations are built into our procurement process where appropriate.

For more information on our equality policy please visit our equalities homepage.