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Public procurement - the basics

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When we undertake a procurement exercise, we follow a method to ensure that we obtain best value for the tax payer whilst meeting our objectives. The value of the proposed contract and the potential level of market interest generally dictate the way in which we go about contracting. For low value requirements we would undertake a quotation exercise. For higher values, we would use one of the tender processes described below.

As a public sector contracting authority, we adhere to the rules laid down in European and domestic legislation when buying goods, services or works. These rules are designed to ensure that we use auditable processes that are fair and affordable equitable treatment of all potential bidders throughout the procurement process.

As a matter of course we advertise our tender opportunities using Contracts Finder - the Government Opportunities Portal and, where the aggregate value of the contract is in excess of the European procurement threshold in the Official Journal of the European Communities. In our adverts we explain how to express your interest in bidding, the procurement process and timescales we will use and, list what information we require from you.

The process we follow will depend on the nature and complexity of the requirement but will usually be one of the following:

  • Open tender where any provider responding to the advert is invited to bid. If you are involved in this process you will be expected to meet our published minimum standards to be considered for award;
  • Restricted tender where we will issue a selection questionnaire (SQ) and then shortlist a number of providers (the number will be stated in the advert) who will be invited to complete formal tenders;
  • Competitive dialogue. This process is used for very complex projects, where we cannot objectively define the way in which our service requirements may be met and/or where the complexity means that we cannot specify either the contractual or financial make up of the project. In this process, we will enter into a dialogue with providers who have been selected on the basis of completed SQs.

Contact Details

Ipswich Borough Council,
Finance and Procurement,
1C Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,

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01473 433903