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Public Sector Procurement. Helen Chapman – Procurement Officer Karen Towers – Procurement Officer Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. Agenda. Why is Public Sector Procurement Different? Procurement at WMDC Socially Responsible Procurement VCS Engagement Programme Outcomes

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Public sector procurement l.jpg

Public Sector Procurement

Helen Chapman – Procurement Officer

Karen Towers – Procurement Officer

Wakefield Metropolitan District Council

Agenda l.jpg

  • Why is Public Sector Procurement Different?

  • Procurement at WMDC

  • Socially Responsible Procurement

  • VCS Engagement Programme

  • Outcomes

  • Ongoing Engagement

  • Questions/Discussion

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Procurement – what is it?

The process of acquisition of goods, services and works…

From pens and pencils through to major services.

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Why is public sector procurement different?

  • Council’s and other public sector bodies spend £billions of public funds. £125billion was spent in 2006 by the whole of the public sector -OGC

  • Subject to EU legislation – aimed to remove barriers in the EU single market

  • Subject to UK legislation – competition law, Best Value etc

  • Subject to audit

  • Accountable to government and the electorate

  • Many services are sensitive or high profile

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Procurement at Wakefield Council

  • Strategic team established in 2004

  • Support & guide procurement activities

  • Integrating strategy, policy and legislation

  • Provide training & engagement events;

    • Council Officers

    • Members

    • Local Organisations (SME, VCS, BME etc)

    • Meet the Buyer event (

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Facts & Figures

  • £360m net revenue budget

  • £130m+ per annum on bought in goods & services

  • 56% of council spend with local & regional suppliers (31st March 2007)

  • 400 staff involved in procurement

  • Over 85% of suppliers to the Council are SMEs

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Procurement at Wakefield Council

What the Council buys

Office supplies





Training / educational services

Advice and consultancy


Professional services

Social care





Footpaths and highways


Etc… etc… etc…

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How We Buy

Rules and Regulations

  • Contract Procedure rules

    • Tender Thresholds

  • EU Procurement Regulations

    • European Thresholds

      Tender Process (Open or Restricted)

      – 2 stages:

    • Pre-qualification – Restricted Only

    • Invitation to Tender -ITT

      Evaluations based on Best Value (MEAT)

      Contract Award

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Questions we ask

Financial (over £75,000)



Equal Opportunities

Freedom of Information Disclosure

  • Environmental

  • Health & Safety

  • Non-Collusive Tendering

  • Tender-Specific Questionnaire

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Tender Evaluation & Award Criteria

  • Price Quality Split

  • Award Criteria established prior to invitation

  • Weightings (most important to least important)

  • Possible interview / site visits

    The Council obtains the optimum combination of whole life costs and quality

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Exercise – Question 1

Good answer?


Please outline how your company proposes to manage quality during this contract.


“Dedicated Account Manager whose sole purpose is to ensure that 100% satisfaction is achieved”

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Suggested Answer – Question 1

Product Quality

  • ISO 9000 accredited

  • Quality management systems in place to record, analyse and resolve problems

    Service Quality

  • Monitoring of KPI and reporting with MI

  • Undertake user surveys and then use this to ensure continuous improvement

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Exercise – Question 2

Good answer?


Please detail safety arrangements for the delivery of goods/works/services, specifically including:

  • risk assessment procedures

  • First aid provision

  • Emergency procedures


    ‘All of the above are incorporated within our Health & Safety Policy’

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Suggested Answer - Question 2

Answer the questions, when it asks for detail, you need to respond with detail. Your submission can only be evaluated on your response.

Risk Assessment Procedure

Employees are required to…..

First Aid Provision

At least one member….

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Exercise – Question 3

Good answer?


Please give examples of how your environmental policy is applied in practice.


‘We have worked for 6 years delivering this service for Wakefield Council and have always considered environmental concerns’

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Suggested Answer – Question 3

Where a question asks for examples – give examples. Also do not assume prior knowledge. The only information which can be considered is what is written down. What any of the evaluation panel know about your organisation from previous working arrangements cannot be considered.

E.g. ‘Our policy states our commitment to reduction in emissions due to travelling so we have installed secure bicycle racks and shower facilities, we also actively encourage use of public transport and car sharing for business purposes.’

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Main Points

  • Answer all the questions

  • Keep to the point of the question

  • Don’t assume prior knowledge – this can’t be evaluated

  • Include appropriate references

  • Seek clarification if unsure

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Supplier Contract Management System (SCMS)

  • Procurement website for Council’s within the Yorkshire and the Humber region

  • Free to register

  • Simple registration

  • User-friendly navigation

  • Bulletin Board

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Supplier’s can:

View and participate in current tender opportunities

Maintain their company profile (including categories)

Submit tender responses electronically

View contract award notices

Communicate with Council’s who they are registered with

SCMS cont’d

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Council’s can:

Identify potential suppliers

Communicate with suppliers throughout a tendering process

Advertise tender opportunities

Issue tender documentation

SCMS cont’d

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Future Tender Opportunities

  • Supplier Contract Management System:

  • Appropriate Trade Journals

  • Local press

  • European Journal:

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What do you know?

  • Who are your local public sector buyers?

  • Where do they advertise?

  • Who are the main contacts?

    • Separate Procurement team?

    • Service Specific Contacts?

  • What are the tender thresholds?

  • Do you have template documents?

    • Can you get template documents?

      How do you find out?

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Procurement Strategy

  • Two key priorities:

    • delivering efficiencies and quality

    • socially responsible procurement, engaging with local and regional suppliers to promote the local economy and taking account of the social and environmental impact of spending decisions

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Socially Responsible Procurement

  • Taking a holistic approach to the impact that the Council’s procurement activity has on

    • social (including equality),

    • environmental, and

    • economic issues.

  • For example, requiring bidders to complete long forms on environmental issues may deter small local companies from bidding.

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Socially Responsible Procurement

Social & Equality




Value for Money

Socially Responsible Procurement

Value for Money



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Socially Responsible ProcurementAn example in practice

Employees with learning disabilities

Diverts from landfill

Value for Money 


recycled plastic products

Value for Money 


Social Enterprise

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VCS Engagement Programme


  • Increase awareness of local VCS organisations within Council

  • Increase understanding of Council Procurement Procedures within local VCS organisations

  • Create a ‘level playing field’ for all organisations to bid for Council business

  • Increase volume and value of works/services delivered by local VCS organisations

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VCS Engagement Programme


  • Procurement Seminar February 06

    • What does the Sector see as the barriers to Public Sector Procurement

  • Family Services Seminar May 06

    • Commissioning, Family Services Tendering Procedures and networking session with Service Managers

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VCS Engagement Programme

  • Family Services Tender Workshop June 06

    • Practical session to identify areas of improvement in Tendering Documents

  • Procurement Seminar

    September 06

    • Workshops focussed on

      the issues highlighted in

      Feb 06

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Good times…

  • Positive feedback from sector representatives

  • Active engagement from sector

  • Constructive feedback

  • Linking organisations with

    potential funding/support

  • Long networking sessions

  • Familiar faces

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…not such good times

  • Anticipating capacity for events

  • Delivering events for a broad range of delegates

    • Knowledge, experience

  • Tainted by previous experience of working with Local Authority

  • Preconceived ideas

  • Few new faces

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  • Tender document review in Family Services

  • Increased knowledge of local VCS Organisations for Council

  • Increased understanding of Wakefield Council for local VCS organisations

  • Working towards increased number and value of contracts with VCS through LAA

  • Strengthened relationships with infrastructure support groups

  • VCS Directory

  • Change to Contract Procedure Rules for payment in advance

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Ongoing Engagement – Family Services

  • Meeting VCS Groups and linking with opportunities e.g. youth groups / play strategy

  • Engaging with Community groups and linking with Social Care Teams

  • Networking events for Social Care Teams

  • Preparing funded groups for the future of tendering

  • Linking groups with funding opportunities

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Ongoing Engagement - Corporate

  • VCS questionnaire to establish 2007 plan

  • Active participation in focussed events

    • V&C Sector Events (led by compact)

    • SME Procurement Events

    • BME Events

  • Annual Meet the Buyer Event

    • November 2007

  • Development of V&C Sector directory

  • Supplier & Contract Management System

  • Internal training for council officers involved with procurement

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Hints & Tips

  • Find out where your local Council and other public sector bodies advertise their tenders i.e. newspapers, online….

  • Make contact with public sector organisations- they often don’t know the supplier base and who is out there – find out how they want to know about you

  • Make sure that you are internally ready to participate and deliver a contract

  • Consider subcontracting – ask for the names of the main contractors

  • Don’t be put off by questions in pre-qualification or tender process – the process is more flexible than you think.

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Hints and Tips Cont….

  • Feel free to ask for help and advice when completing the Tender / Quotation documents – training may be available

  • Public Sector procurement isn’t about lowest price – make sure you look at the evaluation criteria as this is how the tenders will be assessed.

  • Make sure you sell yourself especially the added value and benefits you can bring to the contract.

  • It is normal for public sector bodies to pay invoices 30 days after submission – if this isn’t suitable ask!

  • If you are unsuccessful make sure that you ask for feedback – the comments should assist you for the next time.

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Group Task

  • Identify 2 barriers to successful public sector procurement relationships for VCS Organisations

  • For each of these;

    • What can VCS Organisations do to overcome this?

    • What can Public Sector Procurement Officers/Teams do to overcome this?

    • Who else can help overcome this and what can they do?

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Contact Tel: 01924 306781

Helen Chapman Tel: 01924 306968

Karen Towers Tel: 01924 306994

Hazel Brook Tel: 01924 306842