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We are keen to make the tendering process as simple as possible, however within the public sector it is important there is a clear audit trail regarding the award of contracts and that the we can demonstrate value for money regarding its expenditure.

There are five common types of Tender:

  • Open
  • Restricted (following an open advertisement)
  • Tender process from a standing list
  • Negotiation
  • Competitive Dialogue

The tender process consists of three key areas. Below is a brief explanation of the procedures.

Preparation of Tender

The first part of the tender process is to prepare the 'Tender document’. This will draw up:

  • The specification or scope of requirements.
  • Determine terms and conditions.
  • Pricing structure.

Tenders are usually awarded for a minimum of two to three year periods. There may be the opportunity to extend the contract for a further period, however this will be subject to agreement with the contractor.

Advertisements will then be released before the contract is due to commence.

If the tender is valued in excess of the current European threshold then at least 52 days (40 days of the Tender is issued via InTend) must be allowed between advert being dispatched and the closing date of the tender.

Advertisements are placed in the local press, publications circulating within business's that would have an interest in the topic being tendered, and on the Council web site.

Tender documents will usually be sent to companies electronically that respond to the advertisement(s), or to those who have previously expressed an interest in receiving the tender and who’s company names have been recorded on the database.

Some Directorates within the Council maintain a list of Approved Contractors. Therefore companies may be selected in rotation from this list to tender for specific projects.

Completion of Tender

When the supplier/service provider receives the tender documents it is important that they carefully read all documentation, and are satisfied that they can comply with all the requirements of the tender.

There will be a contact address and telephone number/email address etc. quoted on the document if the tenderer should require any clarification.

Suppliers/service providers must ensure that the information they provide is correct and accurate. If the tender is accepted the information provided on the tender will form the contract between the company and the Council.

Special care should be taken when pricing the document as most tenders will have a period where the prices are fixed. During this period no increase in price(s) will be considered. All price variations after the fixed price period must be supported by evidence before changes are implemented.

Where a tenderer has applied via the Councils electronic tendering system (InTend) they will return the documents electronically by making an official submission as directed by the onscreen instructions.

In the case of a hard copy tender; once the tenderer has completed the document it should be returned in the marked envelope provided, before the date and time stated on the envelope. It should bear no marks that would identify the sender.

Any tender received that has not followed instructions detailed may be rejected.

Analysis of Offers and Award of Contract

After the closing date all tenders that have been received on time, meeting the Council’s requirements, will be ‘opened’ and evaluated by nominated officers of the Council.

The tenders will be analysed in accordance with the scoring methodology previously agreed and is usually tabulated on a spread sheet, where all aspects of the offers received can be compared.

Suppliers/service providers that are selected to support the Councils operations will have completed the tender as instructed, and be competitive in terms of price (economic factor) whilst meeting the Council’s social and environment requirements.

The successful tenderer(s) will be recommended as ‘nominated contractor(s)’ to the appropriate Director for his/her approval. Following approval the contract will be awarded.

Further Information

How are tenders considered?

In the past the main consideration of some Council’s when awarding contracts was price, and the lowest priced quote or tender won the business.

Today, with the ideals of 'best value' this is no longer the case. Although price is still an important factor, other aspects are now taken into account when deciding on the best offer.

We will consider whole life matters in the evaluation process, such as social and environmental factors, as well as economic. We score tenders against a set of criteria and weighted accordingly by the project manager/tender panel.

The organisation with highest score wins the business.

Tendering is costly

Tendering is a fair process that is auditable. Decisions can be legally challenged in accordance with the EU Procurement Directives.

We are continually reviewing the cost of tendering and have introduced an electronic tendering system to reduce costs by saving money on stationery, postage and administration.

The electronic tendering system, ‘InTend’, is an easy to use system for sending and receiving tender documentation securely.

Please visit the Dudley MBC eTendering website for further information.

We are keen to work with suppliers and service providers to improve current arrangements, and welcome suggestions to develop and improve current working practices.

Are only businesses in the local area considered?

Did you know that Councils are forbidden to award contracts to suppliers on the basis of location?

There is a view held by the business community that companies should be given priority when contracts are issued because they employ local labour and pay their business rates to the Council. However this actually illegal against the Local Government Act 1988 (Section 17).

The European Union (EU) legislation also requires Councils and other public bodies to advertise all contracts that exceed various financial thresholds within the countries that form the European Union. Although this may mean that occasionally contracts are awarded to companies outside the UK, it does ensure that the Council considers bids equally from outside its boundaries. This is to guarantee the best value for money may be achieved for its tax payers.

The legal framework will continue to support local businesses and take into consideration economic, social and environmental factors, as we are very keen to support the local economy and benefit the community.

Working with Small Medium Enterprises (SME’s)

We are eager to ensure that small medium enterprises (SME’s) that form part of the local economy submit bids for contracts. Due to the legislation in place, we are forbidden to award contracts to companies purely because they are ‘local’ or of a certain size. However we are keen to take steps which will assist local suppliers to gain business with the Council, and still remain within the law.

We also advertise all contract opportunities in the local press, on our website, and we attend meetings and seminars with Federation of Small Businesses, LEP’s etc to give local business an opportunity to win contracts within the Council.

The Council and the Third Sector

We are keen to work with the third sector and works closely with Dudley Community Voluntary Sector, and are committed to extending the role of Voluntary and Community Organisations (VCO's) in service provision.

The tender process can sometimes feel daunting, however there is support and assistance available.

For further information please contact Procurement Services.

What Makes a successful Supplier/Service Provider?

Sometimes it’s perceived that the same companies always win the same Council contracts. This is simply because they have:

  • Completed the tender document accurately and in full
  • Returned the tender document on time
  • They know their market, and competitors, whilst returning a bid that is competitive and that will be beneficial to all parties
  • Show genuine interest in working with the Council
  • Share the same values as the Council
  • Have a Business Continuity Plan in place for disruptions caused by major incidents. We look favourably on suppliers/service providers who have such plans and who can demonstrate minimal risk in continuity of service. We strongly encourage all suppliers and service providers to be proactive in this matter.