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Nottinghamshire County Council - Proud of our past, ambitious for our future

Explaining our procurement process

 We've put together some useful information to assist you in tendering for a contract with us.

Becoming tender ready

In July 2012 the County Council Corporate Procurement team held a series of county-wide events to advise potential suppliers of goods and services on preparing for the procurement process. The Becoming tender ready presentation [PDF] shown at the events provides useful information on:

  • An understanding of the procurement process
  • An overview of EU Legislation concerning procurement
  • An awareness of how we evaluate tenders
  • Hints & tips on completing submissions

We have also produced a Becoming tender ready checklist [PDF] which organisations may find useful when considering submitting tenders to the authority.

Where we advertise our contracts

We usually select contractors through advertising contracts. We invite businesses to either submit tenders or to express an interest in tendering for contracts. We are using Due-North Eastmids Tenders portal to carry out electronic tenders bringing buyers and suppliers together making it easier for businesses to grow, develop and benefit the local economy.

All our contract opportunities are advertised on:

Our financial regulations state that all contracts estimated to exceed £25,000 must go to tender.

All contracts above the relevant European Union (EU) threshold must be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), that is:

  • £174,000 or more for supplies and services
  • £4.3m or more for works.

These contracts can be viewed on the Tenders Electronic Daily (Ted) Publication website: http://ted.europa.eu

Find out more information about European Union Public Purchasing Directives and how these affect tendering opportunities.  

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

We aim to encourage Nottinghamshire's small and medium enterprises to meet our specifications so they are on an equal par with other traders to conduct business with us.

We cannot guarantee any supplier future business or discriminate in favour of Nottinghamshire businesses during any procurement. However, we would like to break down any barriers that small traders may be experiencing in doing business with us. Find out more about Procurement and community benefits.  


Businesses are expected to complete a pre-qualification or company questionnaire to assess their suitability to undertake business with us. If you wish to bid for businesses with other councils you will have to complete the appropriate pre-qualification process on each occasion.  

Selecting a contract

When selecting a contract, we will often consider the following:

  • previous experience and performance (quality assurance, references)
  • technical and resource capacity
  • 'whole-life' costs (not necessarily the cheapest at the time of supply)
  • social/community impact (benefits to local people, equality)
  • environmental impact (such as fuel efficiency and replacement lifetimes)
  • other factors to suit our needs.

When we have a regular need for goods, works and services, they are usually purchased through contracts that are in place for a period of time. This is beneficial to suppliers as it stabilises or increases the volume of business and cash flow. It gives us peace of mind that our traders are credible as they meet our requirements and will provide best value or value for money.

We set specific response times for suppliers to prepare and submit their offers. This is usually a minimum of 10 to 52 working days depending on procedure.

We also take into account:

Best value:

  • imposes a legal duty on all local authorities to continuously improve the services they provide, having regard to a combination of the economy, efficiency and effectiveness
  • having a duty to provide the optimum combination of ‘whole-life’ costs and benefits to meet the customer requirement.

Value for money:

  • a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness - having the right goods or services at the right quality, in the right place, at the right time.
  • the combination of cost, over the whole life of a project, and quality which best meets an organisation’s requirements.

Whole-life costs:

  • considering quality, long-term cost, benefits as well as initial price, for example thinking about cost, environmental and social issues prior to a product’s inception and at the end of its lifeline.   

Contract award

Once a contract has been awarded (contract award), both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified. Tender awards will also be published on Source Nottinghamshire and Due-North EastMids Tenders portal and, when appropriate, in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

Feedback is available on request to help unsuccessful suppliers and contractors improve their prospects of winning future contracts.  

Contract management and monitoring

We will monitor the progress of contracts throughout their lifetime. This ensures that the standard of services provided on our behalf, are being met.

  • For works contracts – this will involve regular communication with a contract administrator and submission of activity records
  • For suppliers and services contracts – an officer will be designated to monitor performance of the contractor.

Electronic procurement (e-procurement)

From 29 November 2011, we implemented a new Business Management System (BMS) which:

  • Makes it easier and faster for you to do business with Nottinghamshire County Council 
  • Streamlines our processes to help you by reducing bureaucracy and paper work 
  • Saves public money to reinvest in important front line services to help vulnerable older people and children living in Nottinghamshire. 

This online system will also modernise and transform the way we buy and pay for goods and services, for example, through:

  • Electronic ordering
  • E-invoicing
  • Catalogues

The Council is also using Due North EastMids Tenders portal for e-tendering to advertise all contract opportunities over £25K.

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