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Procurement overview

This page provides an overview of Procurement within Sunderland City Council.

The Council's Procurement team are responsible for an annual spend of almost £300 million with over 5,000 third party providers.

The Procurement team are responsible for the whole procurement cycle from pre-procurement activities such as scoping, market engagement and social value through to coordinating the procurement activity and monitoring to ensure compliance with the procurement rules.

These activities assist in the delivery of the Council's day-to-day operations and outcomes including its strategic priorities and corporate improvement objectives.

All procurement undertaken by public bodies is regulated by law and the provision of goods, services and works from third parties undertaken by the Council is regulated by the applicable public contract regulations, currently the Public Contract Regulations 2015.

Procurement activity must also comply with the EC Treaty, including the general Treaty principals of equal treatment, non-discrimination and transparency. To ensure procurement is undertaken legally and achieves the best value for money the Council maintains its own Council's Procurement Procedure Rules which form part of the Council's Constitution.

In line with the Procurement Procedure Rules procurement activity over £5,000 is the responsibility of Corporate Procurement in conjunction with the respective service area lead commissioner. This ensures that influencable expenditure is subject to professional procurement practices in order to provide more responsive procurements that maximise the local economic impact whilst continuing to ensure value for money and securing the desired outcomes.

There various key procedures which are considered by the Council from the outset of a procurement including:

1. Open Tender Procedure

A tender procedure leading to the award of a contract/framework agreement whereby all interested parties may tender. Tender documentation shall be sent to all who apply prior to the tender closing date.

2. Restricted Procedure

The Restricted Procedure means a tender procedure leading to the award of a contract whereby only parties pre-selected by the Council may submit tenders for the contract.

A Pre-qualification Questionnaire ("PQQ") must be provided to all third parties requesting to participate, which shall be used to determine the third party's eligibility, financial standing and technical capacity.

For tenders over the EU threshold no less than five companies or individuals are invited to tender. For tenders under the EU threshold that relate to Design and Build works contracts, only three companies or individuals need to be invited to tender.

3. Framework Agreements

Where required (predominately when demand is unknown) the Council will maintain framework agreements with a range of third parties for works, goods or services. The frameworks will be awarded in accordance with the open or restricted tender procedures.

The Council may use a call off agreement and/or further competition within a framework agreement.

4. Competitive Dialogue Procedure

The Competitive Dialogue Procedure may only be used in the award of complex contracts where there is a need for the Council to discuss all aspects of the proposed contract with candidates. Such dialogue is not permitted under open and restricted procedures.

Third parties may make a request to participate in the Competitive Dialogue Procedure with the aim of developing one or more suitable solutions to meet the Council's objectives and outcomes required.

How is this a fair process?

Procurement activity conducted by the Council follows a fair, open and transparent process in accordance with the relevant procurement law, Procurement Procedure Rules and standard operating practices managed and maintained centrally by the Council's Corporate Procurement function.

All tenders are advertised on the open market and the Corporate Contracts Register and forward planned procurement activity are published externally to inform the supply market when opportunities will be available in the future.

All procurement documentation includes the criteria that will be used when evaluating bid submissions so providers understand the priorities of the Council and to ensure the evaluation process is transparent.

Supplier briefing sessions are delivered for tender opportunities which provide an overview of the Councils requirements and discuss the procurement documentation which will need to be completed by the bidders. All tender submissions are evaluated by a panel and the Council provides written feedback to bidders so they can understand how their submission scored against the published criteria.

External Links

Public sector procurement policy

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