Council Procurement

We currently spend approximately £18 million annually on externally procured works, goods and services. Much of this spend is with small and medium-sized enterprises.

Doing business with us

We want to encourage SMEs to tender or quote competitively to supply us because we recognise the positive contribution they can have in the local economy.

Our Procurement Strategy explains how we approach the procurement of works, goods and services. We see procurement as playing a vital role in delivering efficient and effective services to the public and helping to support sustainable local communities.

In April 2006 we signed the Concordat for small and medium-sized enterprises aimed at encouraging trade between local authorities and small business. The Concordat sets out what small firms and other community and voluntary organisations supplying us can expect when tendering for contracts.

Business opportunities and current contracts

You can find out about planned business opportunities in:

We record current contract information on the South East Business Portal.


Any interested business or enterprise can express an interest in any of our advertised tendering opportunities. Since February 2003 we have used Constructionline as our selection method for construction related contracts. Constructionline is a national register of contractors jointly administered by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, and Capita.

The pre-qualification process for certain contracts that fall below European Union requirements includes a standard self assessment questionnaire. Where the pre-qualification process is used only those who pass the pre-qualification stage will be invited to submit a tender.

Above the European Union tender threshold, we have the choice of a number of procedures. We will choose the most appropriate one and make this clear when placing the notice. This may require the completion of a more formal and detailed Pre-Qualification Questionnaire.

All successful bidders will be contracted on our terms and conditions.

Value thresholds

Our value thresholds fall into four categories:

  • European Requirements
  • Contracts costing £30,000 or more up to European thresholds
  • Contracts between £5,000 and £30,000 
  • Contracts less than £5,000

European Union Thresholds

Thresholds under the Public Contract Regulations 2006 applicable from 1 January 2014, for council contracts, are given below. Thresholds are net of Value Added Tax (VAT).

Type of procurement Pounds Euros
 Supplies  172,514  207,000
 Services  172,514  207,000
 Works  4,332,012  5,186,000

Procurement Procedures

In summary our procedures are as follows:

European Requirements

Relevant contracts where the value meets or exceeds the threshold laid down by the European Union for goods, works and services must be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union. An advert will also be placed on the South East Business Portal.

Contracts costing £30,000 or more up to European thresholds

One of the following procedures is used:

  • A notice will be placed on the South East Business Portal and where officers assess the need for wider advertisement in local newspapers or a national or trade journal to the industry to seek contractors. 
  • Approved contractors are drawn from the Constructionline database (for construction related contracts) with at least four being invited to tender.
  • A contract may be entered into with an existing contractor where the proposed contract forms part of a programme, and the rates and prices are those in the initial contract which was awarded competitively under Contract Procedure Rules.
  • Where works, goods or services are of a specialist nature an invitation to contractors may be approved by the appropriate officer and reported to Cabinet.
  • Works, goods or services may be ordered from existing framework agreements procured by other local authorities, government departments, statutory undertakers or public service purchasing consortia.
  • Another arrangement approved by the Cabinet.

Contracts between £5,000 and £30,000

At least three competitive quotes are required with the goods, works or services being supplied or carried out by the contractor submitting the lowest quote unless considered and approved by the Corporate Head of Department.

Contracts less than £5,000

Managers can identify suppliers and negotiate prices. Quotes can be obtained if the manager considers it would be advantageous to do so.


Under any of the above procedures it is not an absolute requirement that the lowest quote or tender will always be accepted. Quality, performance in the field of environment, health and safety, equal opportunities, financial management and other criteria can be used; the Council is always looking to secure value for money for its customers.

Payment Terms

Our payment terms in respect of works, goods and services are 30 days or other agreed terms from receipt of invoice. We strive to pay all undisputed invoices within this timescale.

Data Transparency

We have published information about our current contracts and tender opportunities on the South East Business Portal. Other contracts which have been let in recent months are shown below: