Working with us

Working with us

Here you will find out about the current tendering opportunities, check the help and support on offer, and meet our team.

How we work

Northumberland County Council's procurement team is part of the procurement shared service.

The procurement shared service covers three organisations: Northumberland County Council, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.  

Opportunities
Northumberland County Council as part of the shared procurement service with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust will advertise all future opportunities through the Due North ProContract E-Tendering Portal. The portal is widely used across the public sector, providing businesses with a single portal  for the notification of both quote (less than £50K) and formal tender opportunities.
 
Businesses wishing to receive notifications of quote or tender opportunities should register with the Due-North Portal using this link https://procontract.due-north.com/register
 
The registration process takes only a few minutes. Once you have completed the registration process, you will receive two emails from Due North, the first acknowledging your request to register and the second confirming your successful registration. Once your registration has been confirmed, follow the links within the second email to start creating your Due North profile. Using your Due North Profile you will be able to select the categories and regions of interest to you, and Due North will then use this profile to keep you updated about relevant opportunities.
 
Please note that the Council will no longer be advertising opportunities through the NEPO E-Tendering Portal. All opportunities will now be listed on the Due-North Portal which can be accessed using this link https://procontract.due-north.com/register.
 
Contracts register
The Contracts Register is currently being updated and will be reinstated shortly. If you require any information in the meantime please email us at  Shared Procurement Services
Help & support
Our top tips and jargon buster make it easier for you to apply to be a supplier.

Top 10 tips for suppliers
  1. Ensure you have read all the questions and understand what information is required. If you do not understand a question, use the Q&A section on ProContract e-tendering system well in advance of the submission date.
  2. Where you are asked to provide examples, ensure you provide in-depth details – only information provided in your response can be used to evaluate your submission.
  3. Particular attention should be given to any specialist technical questions – questions with high scores/weightings are the most important.
  4. Ensure you complete all the required sections and include all relevant attachments and reference clearly.
  5. Ensure the tender is presented professionally and always keep a copy of your tender.
  6. Ensure your enclosures are in word, excel and pdf formats only.
  7. Consider how you can add value as part of your bid and how your organisation can support the council’s objectives to achieve social, economic and environmental benefits specific to Northumberland.
  8. Use your commercial judgement to know where your organisation sits in the market in terms of capability, quality and pricing.
  9. Do not modify the format of templates – particularly any pricing schedule, as you may be disqualified.
  10. Deadlines are deadlines.
Jargon buster
 
Added value Features and benefits that you offer which exceed the specification for the contract.
Best practice The most effective and desirable method of carrying Features and benefits that you offer which exceed the specification for the contract out a function or process derived from experience rather than theory.
Call of contract An enabling agreement (framework) with one or more suppliers for a defined range of works, goods or services covering terms and conditions which users ‘call off’ to meet their requirements.
Contract A binding agreement to perform a certain service or provide a certain product in exchange for valuable consideration, usually money.
Equality Equality is about making sure people are treated fairly and given fair chances. Equality is not about treating everyone the same way but it recognises that their needs are met in different ways.
E-tendering Electronic system used to view and submit tenders. Public sector organisations use e-tendering systems, to list procurement opportunities. Northumberland County Council utilises the Due-North ProContract e-tendering system
European Union regulations (EU Regs) There are rules and regulations set by the European Union with regard to procurement for public sector organisations – these rules and regulations are set to protect suppliers and must always be followed by all public sector organisations.
Evaluation The process of assessing each bidders tender so as to be able to select the best option suitable to the requirements of the contract.
Feedback Discussion with a public sector organisation to find the reasons for success or failure of a tender so as to learn how to respond effectively in future.
Framework agreement An arrangement where a purchaser selects suppliers and fixes terms and prices for a period in advance (often four years as the maximum), and then calls on the suppliers to deliver as and when required. There is never a guarantee of work even if you are part of a framework agreement.
Invitation to tender A formal communication from a public sector organisation to a supplier inviting it to submit a tender. The ITT will usually also include a specification for the contract, instructions for submitting the tender, and the terms and conditions, which will govern the contract once it is active.
Lot Some contracts are divided into a number of parcels of work (called lot’s) and suppliers are invited to state whether they are bidding for the whole contract or just parts of it.
OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) The Official Journal of the European Union, where all contract notices must be published for tenders that fall within the European procurement laws.
Prior information notice This gives advance notice that a contract may be advertised at some point – perhaps later in the year.
Pre-qualification questionnaire A questionnaire used by public sector organisations to check the suitability of suppliers and shortlist the ones to be invited to tender.
Procurement The process of buying goods and services.
Purchasing The buying of goods and services.
Value for money Public sector organisations strive to achieve ‘value for money’ and this is not necessarily the lowest price.

Our supplier guide is currently being updated.
Contacts
Our contact information is currently being updated.
FAQs
We have answered the most frequently asked questions below:

How can I introduce my business to  The Procurement Shared Service? Should this not be the shared service?
You can send a direct email to financeprocurement@northumberland.gov.uk. Our category sourcing officers will respond as soon as possible.

How do I do business with the procurement shared service?
All of Northumberland County Council’s business opportunities are published through the Due-North ProContract e-tendering portal.
All of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust’s opportunities are also published through the Due-North ProContract e-tendering portal
 
What is the procurement process?
Under the EU directives, the procurement shared service conducts their procurement using the methods below:
  • Open: any organisation can express an interest and request tender documents.
  • Restricted: a two-stage process where any organisation can express their interest. Then they go through a pre-qualification assessment. Once these assessments (usually referred to as PQQS) are complete, only the most suitable applicants are invited to tender.
  • Negotiated: the council will approach one or more suppliers and negotiate the terms of the contract with them. There are strict rules concerning the use of the negotiated procedure.
  • Competitive dialogue: the use of this method would normally be appropriate only in circumstances where the council has a requirement but does not know in advance what the best technical, legal or financial solution is for meeting that requirement.
What is OJEU?
OJEU stands for the Official Journal of the European Union. If the value of a contract is above EU thresholds, then the contract must be advertised in the tender supplement to OJEU.

Does the council have an ‘approved supplier list?’
No, the county council does not operate an approved supplier list. All the council's opportunities are published via the the Due-North ProContract e-tendering portal.

I can’t access my account on the Due North Portal. Can you help?
Please contact the Due-North helpdesk on email support@due-north.com

What should I do if I'm having problems with the Due North portal?
Please contact the Due-North helpdesk on email support@due-north.com

What happens if I cannot make the Due North submission deadline?
Tender opportunities will only be accepted if they have been submitted before the specified deadline.
If there is a technical fault preventing this, please contact the Due-North helpdesk on email support@due-north.com.
If there are any additional FAQs you think should be added, please email them to: financeprocurement@northumberland.gov.uk