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Supplying Goods and Services to the Council

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has to be honest, fair, open and professional in both the way it choose its suppliers and service providers and in the way it deals with them. While this may mean that winning business can be a little more difficult than with your private sector customers it can be seen as well worth the effort when you consider the Council is:

  • A well-established organisation (zero risk of non-payment where satisfactory goods, works and/or services have been delivered) 
  • Prompt to pay (the Council's standard terms being within 30 days of receipt of an approved invoice). In the current economic climate, the Council is looking to reduce this time period, where possible.
  • Able to offer secure payment by BACs directly into the providers bank account  
  • Non-discriminatory 
  • Fair, open and honest
  • Able to provide clear lines of communications when tendering for Council contracts 
  • Willing to provide feedback if required to unsuccessful tenderers

How we buy goods and services

The Council’s purchasing arrangements

Responsibilities for purchasing are organised differently depending on what is being bought. Some departments carry out their own purchasing if the product or services is specific to that service. There is also a Corporate Procurement Officer responsible for setting strategy, policy and supporting staff across the Council. If in doubt about who may be interested in your organisation or product, please contact the procurement officer and we will endeavour to put you in touch with the appropriate person.
All contracts must comply with UK law and the Council’s standing orders which govern its contracting activities and procedures for obtaining quotations/tenders and awarding contracts. As an authority we:-
  • Follow procedures that are ethical, environmentally friendly, accountable and compliant with procedural, legal and international obligations
  • Achieve continuing improvement in value for money, based on whole life costs and quality of goods and services
  • Help to improve the competitiveness of suppliers and support the local economy
Our aim is to seek value for money on all goods, services and works bought by the Council. We continuously strive to improve the procurement process and look favourably on companies that can demonstrate an awareness of e-procurement facilities and provide good management information. We aim to obtain best value from contracts we enter into and to minimise the administrative cost of buying. The following links and documents are intended to highlight the Council’s commitment in such areas:-
  • Suppliers Charter  - information on how the Council builds its relationship with the supply market
  • Small and medium business friendly concordat  - information on the agreement the Council has signed up to, setting out a framework for cooperation between the Council and SMEs
  • Procurement strategy document  - information on long term plans to deliver procurement linked to corporate priorities. The attached document is supported by an action plan.
Two documents govern the Council’s contracting activities and procedures for obtaining quotations/tenders and awarding contracts. Copies of these can be found in the 'Useful Documents' section.
  • Standing Orders in Relation to Contract - information on the rules and principles of the procurement.
  • Financial Regulations – information governing the Council’s financial regulations and procurement.

Opportunities for small to medium sized enterprises

Many SMEs are unaware of the business opportunities to be gained from tendering for government contracts. The public sector spends a huge amount of money each year and is always looking for new suppliers. However small your business there are always opportunities to be a supplier to this market. Even if you are already supplying one part of the public sector it is worth looking for opportunities in other areas. The public sector employs more than 25 per cent of the workforce in the UK and includes:-

  • central government departments and agencies
  • the NHS and its local trusts
  • the Ministry of Defence
  • the Northern Ireland Assembly, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Executive
  • local authorities
  • universities and colleges

Whatever your business, there may be a market for it somewhere within the public sector, whether through a direct contract or by becoming a subcontractor.

Legal issues

The Council spends hundreds of thousands of pounds each year of the tax payers money. It is vitally important that we spend this money wisely and that we are open and honest about how we reach our investment decisions. Every contract made on behalf of the Council has to comply with relevant regulations, mainly European Union Law and our own Financial Regulations and Standing Orders.

European law

Contracts for the supply of goods and services must comply with the Public Supply Contracts Regulations 2006 (No. 5). The Regulations apply to all contracts for the supply of goods to a value in excess of £172,514*.

Contracts for construction and engineering works must also comply with the Public Works Contracts Regulations 2006 (No. 5). The regulations apply to all contracts for the supply of construction and engineering contracts to a value of £4,322,012*

The value of the contract is either:-

  • The aggregate value of the contract over its length or 
  • Where a contract is of indeterminate length, the value is calculated on the basis of the aggregate value over 48 months.

Contracts for goods of the same nature should be aggregated and, in particular, should not be artificially divided to avoid the need to comply with the regulations.

* Subject to change (normally 2 years, the last review having been undertaken in January 2014) – please check OJEU - The Official Journal of the European Union for latest figure.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council financial regulations and standing orders

The Council has a legal responsibility to make proper arrangements for the administration of its financial affairs. The Financial Regulations are aimed at achieving four main objectives:-

  1. To maintain sound and proper financial records, procedures and arrangements for the administration of all the Council's financial affairs. 
  2. To demonstrate to the public that proper safeguards and controls exist. 
  3. To assist employees and members in their delivery of services to the public. 
  4. To safeguard members and employees by giving them procedures to follow which ensure that the Council's expected standards are met in terms of managing public money and assets.  In addition, employees can feel confident that they will have no difficulty in explaining their actions to auditors, the Cabinet, committees, senior managers or the public, if they have followed Financial Regulations.

Standing Order A1 - Purchasing and disposal procedures must:

  • Achieve best value for public money spent; 
  • Be consistent with the highest standards of integrity; 
  • Ensure fairness in allocating public contracts; 
  • Comply with all legal requirements; 
  • Ensure that non-commercial considerations do not influence any contracting decision; 
  • Support the Council’s corporate and departmental aims and policies; 
  • Comply with the Council’s best value methodology and competition strategy. 

Last updated 19 July 2021

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