Doing business with Worcester City Council

A guide for contractors and suppliers

In this section you will find information to help contractors and suppliers tender for contracts let by Worcester City Council. It also provides an insight into our tender procedures for supplies and services.

Introduction

Worcester City Council spends with organisations of all sizes with a wide range of commercial opportunities each year. 

A lack of information about opportunities and a lack of understanding of the Council’s Procurement rules may be stopping some organisations from applying for Council Contracts.

This guide aims to help potential suppliers understand Worcester City Council’s approach to purchasing, how this is organised and what our potential purchasing requirements are.

There is a great deal of competition for the Council’s contracts and this guide cannot assure individual firms success, however, it should provide enough information to give you the opportunity to be considered for Council work.

Worcester’s approach to purchasing

Worcester City Council has a Procurement function whose role is to ensure that all purchasing activities are undertaken in accordance with the Council’s Procurement Rules, Financial Regulations and relevant legislation. Any contact should be sent to procurement@worcester.gov.uk.

The Council’s aim with procurement is to use a variety of methods and contractual arrangements to help to deliver the Council’s objectives, vision and values and high quality services to residents of the city.  Within this we aim to provide value for money on supplies and services bought and leased by the Council.  This does not mean the cheapest but a balance between cost, quality and performance.

In common with other local authorities, the Council will:

  • Ensure that best value for money is achieved in all purchasing activity;
  • Encourage a diverse and competitive supply market, including small businesses, social enterprises, ethnic minority businesses, voluntary and community sector suppliers;
  • Encourage fair and open competition;
  • Comply with all applicable statutory requirements and best practice, including Council policies and procedures;
  • Operate fair, impartial and transparent selection and contract award processes;
  • Ensure that the procurement method used is cost effective and in line with the level of expenditure involved;
  • Require contractor to comply with applicable requirements, policies and procedures;
  • Where appropriate, seek to establish partnership relationships with suppliers;
  • Incorporate the requirements of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 in any relevant purchasing exercises;

Council structure

The Council is structured into a number of service areas, with all budget holders having devolved responsibility to make purchases in accordance with the Council’s Procurement Code.  

A number of the services provided directly by Worcester City Council in the past are now provided by partners or contractors.  In these circumstances the contracts are let under long term arrangements and are generally only re-tendered at the end of contract period.  Once a contract is let, the successful partner or contractor is responsible for sourcing any goods or services relating to the day to day operation of the service.  These services include Revenues and Benefits, the operation of Leisure Centres, Arts and Sports Development and Property Services.

A number of services are now provided in collaboration with other local authorities.  Where the service is provided by another local authority, they are responsible for sourcing any goods or services relating to the day to day operation of the service.  The services provided under collaborative arrangements along with the host authorities are:

Services Provided by
Building Control Malvern Hills District Council
Community Safety  South Worcestershire Partnership
Emergency Planning Worcestershire County Council
Financial Transaction Processes Malvern Hills District Council
ICT Wychavon District Council
Internal Audit  Worcester City Council
Land Charges and GIS Wychavon District Council
Land Drainage Wychavon District Council
Payroll Wychavon District Council
Property Services

Place Partnership (Joint Property Venture)

Public Health Worcestershire County Council
Regulatory Services  Bromsgrove District Council
Revenues and Benefits Wychavon District Council

The services currently provided in house, where the responsibility lies with the Council are:

Services Service Area
Civil Enforcement Cleaner & Greener
Communications  Transformation and Performance
Community Engagement  Cleaner & Greener
Community Partnership Community Activity & Strategic Housing
Community Safety Community Activity & Strategic Housing 
Electoral Services Democratic & Civic Services
Facilities Democratic & Civic Services
Financial Services Finance
Grounds and Parks Maintenance Cleaner & Greener
Heritage and Design Development Management
Housing  Strategic Housing
Human Resources  Human Resources 
Legal Services Legal Services
Local Land Charges  Development Management
Planning  Development Management 
Public Toilets Cleaner & Greener
Rural & Town Regeneration  Economic Development 
Street Cleansing Cleaner & Greener
Transformation and Performance Transformation and Performance
Waste & Recycling Collection Cleaner & Greener

How the Council buys goods and services

The way in which the Council places orders or lets contracts is set out in the Procurement Code.  The higher the value of the purchase, the more formal the procedures necessary.  For example, low value routine purchases require at least 2 written quotes whereas long term contractual arrangements will go through formal competitive tendering either on the open market or through framework agreements.

Where possible the Council will collaborate with neighbouring authorities to gain advantage of economies of scale.  This ensures best value in terms of the purchase/ contract price and costs of procurement.  The Council also makes use of call of contracts and framework agreements as appropriate.

The Council is required to be fair, honest and open about how it spends public money and therefore cannot favour certain suppliers.  

The Council maintains a contracts register, which details all existing contracts and their expiry dates.

The Council is now using the e-procurement portal known as the Due North Pro-Contract portal to conduct its procurement exercises.

Current thresholds and Council requirements are:

Contract value Process required
Up to £4,999 Seek two or more quotes or select supplier who offers best value
£5,000 to £49,999 Seek at least three written quotations or use framework agreement if appropriate or 
£50,000 upwards Seek at least 3 written tenders. Additional approvals required if over OJEU threshold. Use Framework agreement if appropriate.

Opportunities over £50,000 are advertised on

You can register on the Council’s E-Procurement Portal at any time. Please see the details below on how to register.

Due North ProContract E-Procurement portal

The E-Procurement portal is a web based tool which does not impact on your IT systems.

Benefits for you the supplier

  • You will receive email updates on opportunities that match your capabilities from all buyers registered with ProContract
  • Electronic receipt and sending of Questionnaires, Tenders and Quotations which will reduce tendering costs and make the procurement process more efficient

If you are already registered with ProContract - then there is no need to re-register to access the Worcester Procurement portal. Just please ensure you log in and edit your profile and ensure your account is up to date.

If you are not already registered please register an account on the tool via the portal environment. There is NO charge for registering an account on the portal environment, however to take part in any of our purchasing activities going forward, you must have an account registered on the portal.

There are user guides to assist you with the registration process and throughout the time that you are active on the portal. If you have difficulties you can call the Due North Service desk on 01670 597136.

Where a contract exceeds the OJEU threshold and a framework agreement is not being used, the contract will be advertised in the Official Journal of European Union (OJEU).  OJEU can be accessed electronically via www.ojeudaily.com in addition to www.mytenders.com

The Council only pays suppliers by electronic BACs transfer.  We aim to do this well within 30 days and in accordance with the supplier’s payment terms.

How to Tender for Council Contracts

When a supplier applies for a tender a set of tender documents will be issued via the Council’s E-Procurement Portal which normally consists of the following:

  • Specification of the required goods or services
  • Criteria for selection by which the tenderer will be selected
  • The period of the Contract
  • The Terms and Conditions of the Contract
  • Form of Tender and/or the Price Schedule upon which the tenderer submits the priced bid
  • Supplier’s Proposal
  • The time and date by which the tender/quote has to be returned by
  • Any additional information as considered appropriate to ensure the Council receives Best Value for money.

The amount and type of information requested will depend on the size and scope of the contract but is likely to include the following:

Financial Information

In this section you will be asked for certain financial information relating to your business for each of the last three years. If you are a Private Limited Company or a Public Limited Company you must submit fully audited accounts as registered with Companies House. Other applicants including voluntary and community organisation should forward copies of internal management accounts or a certified statement of turnover.

Equal Opportunities

The Council strongly supports equal opportunity, and equal access for all sections of the community. We strive to ensure the standards we expect internally are supported by our suppliers.

Health & Safety

Organisations are required to submit a Health & Safety Policy that refers to the Health & Safety legislation.

Sustainability & Social Value

We are committed to the sustainable development of the Worcester City and how procurement may improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of Worcester City and we expect our suppliers to demonstrate similar levels of commitment.

Tender Evaluation

Evaluations will normally focus on examining how proposals deliver the service / goods (quality) and the cost of the service / goods (price) over the term of the contract.

The Council is obliged to tell suppliers the evaluation criteria and the associated weightings in the invitation to quote / tender documentation. Returned quotes / tenders will then be evaluated against these pre-determined criteria and the contract will be awarded to the tenderer who scores the highest.

Contract Award

If you are successful in your tender submission you will be notified in writing and enter into a contract with the Council.

Debriefing

If you are unsuccessful you will also be notified in writing. You are may also request feedback on why your tender submission was un-successful.

Contract Performance

All accepted suppliers are monitored throughout the contract period against the pre-defined performance criteria stated in the tender documents.

Contracts have to be delivered in accordance with the requirements set out in the contract documentation.

The Council is continuously striving to improve its performance and it expects its suppliers to do the same.

Information Governance

Suppliers should be aware of the Council’s obligations under the The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”), the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (“EIR”), public sector transparency policies and Disclosure Obligations. 

  • Placing of contract award notices on the Contracts Finder database, apply to the Council (together the “Disclosure Obligations”). 
  • The Council’s obligations and responsibilities under the Disclosure Obligations to disclose information held by the Council. Information provided by you in connection with any Procurement Process, or with any contract that may be awarded, may therefore have to be disclosed by the Council under the Disclosure Obligations, unless the Council decides that one of the statutory exemptions under the FOIA or the EIR applies.