Procurement frequently asked questions

Where do I find out about current opportunities?

Salford's contract opportunities are advertised on the north west business opportunities portal The Chest. It is free for businesses to register on The Chest. All expenditure over £500 is published online.

What sort of goods, services and works does the council need?

The council's requirements are diverse and many. Some examples of goods or services purchased are:

  • agency staff
  • adult care services
  • cleaning and janitorial services
  • consultancy services
  • drug and alcohol support services
  • environmental health
  • financial services
  • food and catering
  • gas, electricity, oil and water
  • information technology
  • office furniture
  • postal services
  • public health
  • residential accommodation
  • residential child care
  • rethinking construction works, ie landscaping, demolition, minor works
  • school and children's services
  • security services, eg CCTV social care
  • stationery
  • supporting people, eg older people, people with disabilities, homeless people or those at risk of homelessness
  • telecommunications
  • vehicle fuels
  • vehicle hire/leasing

How do I get on Salford's approved supplier list?

We do not operate approved supplier lists as requirements are advertised on The Chest.

What is the difference between a tender and a request for quotation?

We use invitations to tender for contracts above £75,001 in value and requests for quotation for anything below £75,000. The process and documentation reflects the risk and value associated with the procurement in question.

Why do you request so much information from suppliers in your request for quotation (RFQ) or invitation to tender (ITT) documents?

We aim to make the procurement process as streamlined as possible and to be proportionate in both our processes and requirements. We are spending public money, so we have to be sure that the suppliers we are awarding contracts to are able to meet our requirements and adhere to our standards.

What is the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and what does it mean to the procurement process?

The Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) is where tender opportunities above the OJEU thresholds, must be advertised. Current threshold values are as follows (from January 2014):

  • Goods and services £172,514
  • Works £4,322,012

For any contract awards subject to European Procurement directives we are also obliged to place an award notice in OJEU. 

What is the evaluation process? 

The evaluation process will vary depending on the nature, risk and value of the requirement under consideration. Evaluation criteria will be stated in the RFQ or ITT. In addition to evaluation of your submitted quotation or tender, the process may include assessment of interviews, presentations or demonstrations and reference site visits.

Is the council only interested in the cheapest price?

The council awards contracts on the basis of best value for money. This will normally be determined by evaluation of a combination of cost and quality criteria which will be stated in the RFQ or ITT.

What can I do to increase my chances of winning council work?

Make sure you understand what is required and follow the instructions provided. Keep the evaluation criteria at the forefront of your mind when you draft your response and ensure you have covered all aspects of the invitation to tender.

Are there training sessions available to help me complete tender documentation?

The council hosts an annual Meet the Buyer event which includes advice about the tendering process. In addition, there are a number of business support organisations, including Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses who provide guidance on competing for public sector contracts.

If our bid is successful, would we be given preferential treatment in next round of bidding?

It would be unfair on other bidders to give preferential treatment to previously successful contractors. For each procurement process we have to create a level playing field for all bidders, in compliance with public procurement regulations

What are Salford's policies regarding social value?

The council has a strong commitment to getting long term unemployed residents back into work. It also wants to tackle the problem of young people not in education, employment, or training (NEET). Allied to this is the wish to regenerate our local economies and reduce poverty. Companies will be encouraged to demonstrate how they will help us meet these objectives in the performance of a contract. Tenders will include social value award criteria which will be weighted and scored in the assessment (please refer to the documentation of the tender you are applying for).

Does the council try to support local businesses?

The council has a clear objective to deliver local economic benefit and is keen for local businesses to compete for our contracts. Whilst we will encourage bids from local suppliers which but we must be fair, open and transparent in terms of our processes and our contract awards.

Where can I give feedback on procurement and the procurement process?

We are always keen to receive feedback and welcome both general and project specific comments. Please contact the procurement team.

What happens in relation to procurement for local schools and colleges?

Schools have their own budgets and are responsible for their own procurement decisions. However the council does provide schools with a procurement service and negotiates and lets a range of contracts for use by schools.

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