Procurement rules, regulations and procedures

Our tendering processes are regulated by:

  • European Union procurement directives
  • Our own Contract Rules

The Contract Rules apply to expenditure below a threshold set by the European Union.

Generally, all contracts over £50,000 are subject to competitive tender. The Contract Rules also lay down strict rules for how tenders must be received by us, and how our officers must deal with the tenders received.

There are minimum procedures that employees have to follow when making purchases on behalf of the Council. The procedures are grouped into three categories, depending on how much is being spent.

Low value — Class A contracts

For low-value contracts, usually with expenditure of less than £10,000:

  • Employees should always use our corporate contracts if they exist
  • Staff should either place an official order using our online Purchase Order System or use Purchase Cards
  • Employees should try to secure value for money by obtaining and documenting three price quotes, except for incidental items of very low value

Medium value — Class B contracts

For contracts with expenditure of between £10,000 and £50,000, our employees must:

  • Always use our corporate contracts if they exist
  • Obtain at least three competitive quotations and get confirmation in writing of price, goods or service
  • Assess quotations and accept the best-value whole-life price
  • Place an official order with the successful supplier (including the quoted price and terms and conditions) using our online Purchase Order System (unless using Purchase Cards)
  • Ensure where possible that our terms and conditions are adopted, and emphasise that no invoice will be paid unless our official order number is quoted unless using Purchase Cards

High value — Class C contracts

With offers invited for contracts with an estimated value of more than £50,000:

  • Six firms are usually invited by advertisement (or for construction-related contracts through Constructionline)
  • All contracts with a value of over £50,000 will be exposed to a formal competitive tendering process
  • Contracts that exceed the EU thresholds are subject to the regulations of the European Procurement Directive