Since starting my role at Gwynedd Council I have received many blank faces when I state that I am a Procurement Specialist Trainee and I have had to answer the question ‘What is procurement?’ several times! The aim of this blog is to briefly explain what is procurement and to give an insight into what are the Council’s procurement arrangements.
What is procurement?
Procurement is the process of purchasing goods, services and works that are required to enable the Council to operate and serve the people of Gwynedd, whether it be purchasing janitorial goods, social services or construction. The process as a whole is more than merely buying and some of the other stages of the process include firstly identifying needs and planning, and then following the awarding of the contract, supplier relationship management and contract review.
The Contract Standing Orders and Procurement Rules (section 17 of the Gwynedd Council Constitution) set a corporate framework for procurement within the Council. It sets out the rules and procurement procedure that the Council must follow.
As the Council is a public body, there is a specific legal framework that must be followed such as the principles of the EU Treaty and Public Contract Regulations 2015. The legal framework encourages public procurement to ensure value for money, which is one of Gwynedd Council’s main procurement priorities as well as keeping the benefit locally.
Procurement at Gwynedd Council.
The procurement process that Gwynedd Council follows will vary depending on the value of the agreement. For agreements with a value of less than £50,000, and unless there is an approved framework or arrangement one quotation will be required for an agreement with a value of up to £5,000 and three quotes will be required for an agreement with a value of up to £50,000.
For a contract with an estimated value of over £50,000 the Council will implement the tendering process. If the estimated value then exceeds the EU threshold levels, the procedure laid down by the Public Contract Regulations 2015 must be followed.
The tendering process is where the Council invites suppliers to offer a product, service or work.
The most common tendering procedures used by the Council are open or limited.
- Open: All suppliers who have expressed an interest in the Council’s tender notice will be invited to tender.
- Limited: Suppliers will need to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire, and only those selected by the Council will then be invited to tender.
The tenders will be advertised on the Sell2Wales website – a website where all public sector organisations in Wales advertise their tenders. The eTenderWales portal will then be used through the rest of the tendering process.
The contract is usually awarded on an evaluation of the tenders in accordance with the criteria set out in the invitation to tender and also which tender offers best value for money to the Council.
Once the contract has been awarded the Council will continue to manage the contract throughout its duration, including monitoring elements such as performance, compliance with the terms of the contract and user satisfaction.