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Frequently asked questions
We advertise all our tender opportunities on our tenders and contracts page and where applicable Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Sometimes advertisements are also placed in appropriate newspapers and trade journals to ensure that the opportunity of a contract is brought to the attention of a wider audience. We are also registered with the government’s new Contract Finder portal and lower value contract opportunities can be found on the Contract Finder website.
OJEU is an acronym for the Official Journal of the European Union, the publication in which all contracts from the public sector which are valued above a certain threshold must be published.
OJEU is only published electronically. Advertisements are published daily in Tenders Electronic Daily (TED), the online version of the Supplement S to the OJEU containing calls for tenders, contract awards and pre-information notices.
All procurement in the public sector is subject to EC Treaty principles of non-discrimination, equal treatment and transparency. The EC Public Procurement Directives require contracting authorities such as the Council to provide details of procurements in a prescribed format. In accordance with European legislation, the majority of supply and service procurements with an estimated value of €209,000 (currently £164,176), and works contracts with an estimated value of €5,225,000 (currently £4,104,394) must be advertised in the OJEU.
All companies replying to an OJEU advertisement have an equal opportunity to express interest in being considered for tendering. As in all of its tendering exercises the Council ensures those companies selected to tender receive the same information on which to make their bid.
Advertisements must appear in the OJEU before being repeated in any other publication. They will then be shown on the the Council’s website and in any other appropriate publications. Expressions of interest must be received as instructed in the advertisement. These regulations are legally binding on the Council for further information on the regulations see EU public procurement guidelines.
The Council has created a guidance document to assist suppliers in completing tenders.
Contract standing orders set out mandatory rules, which the Council staff must follow when purchasing goods, works or services.
Any one purchasing on behalf of the Council must follow the rules contained within contract standing orders. Please contact us if you would like to view our contract standing orders.
The contract value is based on the probable sum payable to the provider over the term of the contract.
If the value is £50,000 per annum for two years, then the value of the contract is estimated at £100,000.
If there was an option to extend the contract for a further year then the value is estimated as £150,000.
All Council business is procured through a competitive process – whether by comparing quotes for low value purchases, or a formal tender process for high risk/high value contracts.
There are a number of different procurement processes that we use and the time frames for each process will depend on the individual procurement. If the contract is above the European Union (EU) thresholds then the EU regulations will apply, there are exemptions that apply to some procurements i.e. the contract falls within the scope of one of the general exclusions listed in the legislation. The EU regulations set out the time frames for each stage in the process.
It is important for us to allow reasonable time for prospective suppliers to respond and for us to carry out our evaluations. Sometimes it can take up to 12 months for the process to be completed.
The first decision we need to take is to decide whether the procurement is covered by a corporate contract. If the goods, services or works are covered by a corporate contract then that contract must be used.
If the procurement is not covered by a corporate contract then we need to classify the procurement as either a: single tender, de minimis procurement, simple contract, low risk, medium risk and high risk contract. We will then follow the procedures set out in our contract standing orders. .
The Council will give local suppliers a fair opportunity to compete for Council business. We will continue to look for ways in which local participation can be encouraged.
There are a number of different tender procedures and the timeframes for each will depend on how complex the procurement is.
Where all suppliers who request tender documentation in response to advertisements will be invited to submit a tender. There is no pre-qualification questionnaire or short-listing stage prior to invitation to tender, although the Council may lay down minimum standards of suitability, it must send out the contract documents to anyone who asks for them. This information is requested as part of the tender itself. The open tender procedure is normally only used where the known market place is limited, and the Council needs to seek out extra interest, or where the timetable does not allow the two stage restricted tender procedure to be followed.
Where suppliers respond to advertisements expressing an interest in tendering and are required to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire to show that they have sufficient experience and resources to meet the needs of the procurement opportunity. Only suppliers who are subsequently short-listed can be invited to submit a tender. Care must be taken to ensure that the number invited is adequate to provide competition.
The negotiated procedure with a call for competition is an exceptional procedure, justifiable in specified circumstances, under which the contracting authority selects at least 3 participants on similar lines to a restricted procedure, and negotiates the terms of the contract with them
The negotiated procedure without a call for competition is an even more exceptional procedure, for use in narrowly defined circumstances, for example when a supplier is the sole source of the goods or service required, in cases of extreme urgency, or when the precise specification can only be determined by negotiation and under which the contracting authority may negotiate the terms of the contract with one or more economic operators of its choice.
A competitive dialogue procedure may be used for “particularly complex contracts” where an open or restricted tender procedure will not allow the award of a procurement contract.
Suppliers will respond to advertisements by submitting an expression of interest in the tender and complete a pre-qualification questionnaire. Suppliers who are short-listed will be invited to participate in a competitive dialogue with the Council. The dialogue is flexible and may include written or verbal submissions and interviews.
The dialogue may take place in successive stages to reduce the number of potential suppliers, and at the conclusion of the dialogue the Council will ask potential suppliers to submit their final tender.
Most contracts in Hackney use the restricted procedure.
How long does it take?
An EU advertised restricted procedure would normally take a minimum six months and possibly up to twelve months – not including any extra time that may needed to get reports agreed by the Hackney procurement board or cabinet procurement committee/cabinet.
Tender evaluation criteria are agreed by the relevant authorised officers before tenders are returned.
Possible criteria are price, service, quality of goods, running costs, technical merit, previous experience, delivery date, cost effectiveness, quality, relevant environmental considerations, aesthetic and functional characteristics, safety, after-sales services, technical assistance and any other relevant matters.
The project team upon completion of a tender evaluation must produce a written report and this report will need to be approved by the relevant authorised officers.
It is not our policy to hold approved suppliers’ lists for tendering purposes, although this may be the practice of some service areas within the Council. The Council has approved Constructionline as a source of pre-qualified suppliers for building and construction contracts.
If your company would like to apply for a place on Constructionline’s approved supplier list for construction projects you will be required to go through the application process to verify your suitability and competence.
Once your company is on Constructionline’s approved list, your details will be available online to staff in the Council who let contracts for construction projects.
We advocate the use of strategic collaboration partnering organisations such as the London Contracts and Supplies Group (LCSG).
No, because the Council does not hold an approved list of suppliers it can not recommend contractors for work etc.
The community right to challenge gives community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, parish councils and local authority employees the right to submit an expression of interest in taking over and running a local authority service.
Submitting an expression of interest does not guarantee that the group will be awarded the service, but we must consider and respond to the challenge. If we accept the challenge we must run a procurement exercise in which organisations – including those that made the challenge, and also private companies – can bid to run the service. If a challenge is rejected we must publish the reasons why.
Key documents and more information: