Working with us

Find out about the current tendering opportunities, check the help and support on offer & 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.

Click here to view our team

Opportunities

The North East Purchasing Organisation (NEPO) manage the electronic tendering system (Pro-Contract)which is a one-stop shop source for all tendering and quotation opportunities within the council, as well as opportunities from other North East authorities.

All of the council’s opportunities will be available on this site and registered suppliers will receive notifications when opportunities become available.

Register for NEPO free of charge here

Within the system there is a ‘Quick Quotations’ facility to allow authorities to obtain quotations under the tendering threshold of £50,000.

We encourage all suppliers to register on the NEPO Portal to gain access to all tendering opportunities (goods / services over £50,000) and quotations (good / services under £50,000).

Further guidance on using NEPO is available here

Contracts Register

The Contracts Register is a list of contracts that have already been awarded past and present.

Our Contracts Register is currently being updated

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 that 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- you may be disqualified!
  10. Deadlines are deadlines!

Our supplier guide is currently being updated

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, usually the same system such as the North East Purchasing Organisation (NEPO).

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 4 years as the max), 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.

 

       

Contacts

Our contact information is currently being updated - for general enquiries please contact the Sourcing Team: 01670 624851 or financeprocurement@northumberland.gov.uk for all contracting queries please contact the contracting team on 01670 620284. 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

We have answered the most frequently asked questions below:

How can I introduce my business to Northumberland County Council?

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 Northumberland County Council?

All of our business opportunities are published through the NEPO portal.

To be alerted to new opportunities or complete a tender / quotation, you need to be registered with NEPO, further information on this can be found in the current opportunities section.

What is the Procurement Process?

Under the EU directives, Northumberland County Council 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 assessment (usually referred to as PQQS) are complete, only the most suitable applicant 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 that the best technical, legal or financial solution is for meeting that requirement.

Where do I find out what contracts are coming up for tender?

The North East Purchasing Organisation (NEPO) manage the electronic tendering system (Pro-Contract)which is a one-stop shop source for all tendering and quotation opportunities within the council, as well as opportunities from other North East Authorities.

All of the council’s opportunities will be available on this site and registered suppliers will receive notifications when opportunities become available.

Register for NEPO free of charge here

Within the system there is a ‘Quick Quotations’ facility to allow authorities to obtain quotations under the tendering threshold of £50,000.

We encourage all suppliers to register on the NEPO Portal to gain access to all tendering opportunities (goods / services over £50,000) and quotations (good / services under £50,000).

Further guidance on using NEPO is available here

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 NEPO Portal.

I can’t access my account on the NEPO Portal - can you help?

Please contact the NEPO helpdesk on 0191 2613940.

What should I do if I'm having problems with the NEPO portal?

Please contact the NEPO helpdesk on 0191 2613940.

What happens if I cannot make the NEPO 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 NEPO helpdesk on 0191 2613940.

If there are any additional FAQs you think should be added, please email them to financeprocurement@northumberland.gov.uk