Working with us

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

We want to make the procurement process as easy as possible for suppliers. Our Suppliers' Guide aims to help suppliers understand our objectives, rules and regulations and explains how to do business with the council.

How we work

The council has adopted and implemented the 'Category Management Approach' to commissioning and procurement. This approach enables us to maximise value for money and has other value adding benefits. It also helps us to engage with service departments, stakeholders, businesses and third sector organisations.

More information on the Category Management Approach is available here .

Opportunities

More information about opportunities for suppliers can be found below.

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

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

Contracts shown as contract type 'repeat' are likely to be re-tendered due to the recurring nature of the work.

Publishing our contracts allows you to plan ahead and be ready to place your bid when the contract is up for tender.

View the Contracts Register here

Help & Support

Our top tips and jargon buster make it easier for you to apply to be a supplier.

  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!

Download our Suppliers' Guide here - it has lots more tips as well as a tender check list.

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 form 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

Meet our Commercial and Procurement Team members here.

Lee Jackson

Commercial and Procurement Services Manager

Tel: 01670 622350

Email: Lee.jackson@northumberland.gov.uk

Dianne Gratton

Category Sourcing Team Leader

Tel: 01670 624851

Email: Dianne.Gratton@northumberland.gov.uk

Chris Rush

Senior Category Specialist

Tel: 01670 622347

Email: Chris.rush@northumberland.gov.uk

Kevin Bell

Category Specialist for Construction

Tel: 01670 622346

Email: Kevin.bell01@northumberland.gov.uk

Jacqui Arkle

Sourcing Officer

Tel: 01670 624851

Email: Jacqui.arkle@northumberland.gov.uk

This category specialises in the following areas:

  • Capital Schemes
  • Minor Building / Construction Works
  • Property Repairs and Maintenance
  • Highways and Roads
  • Environmental Services
  • Grounds Maintenance

Karyn Wilson

Senior Category Specialist

Tel: 01670 622359

Email: Karyn.wilson@northumberland.gov.uk

Kerry Davidson

Category Specalist for Transport and Catering

Tel: 01670 622356

Email: Kerry.davidson@northumberland.gov.uk

Brian Jones

Category Specialist for Fleet

Tel: 01670 622344

Email: Brian.jones@northumberland.gov.uk

Cathy Weaver

Sourcing Officer

Tel: 01670 624851

Email: Cathy.weaver@northumberland.gov.uk

This category specialises in the following areas:

Facilities

  • Catering and Hospitality
  • Cleaning Services
  • Building Alarms and Security Services
  • Laundry
  • Removal Services
  • Bailiff Services
  • Disposal of Equipment
  • Commercial Equipment repairs and maintenance

Transport and Fleet

  • Car Leasing Scheme
  • Lease and hire of commercial vehicles
  • Purchase of vehicles
  • Plant Hire
  • Taxis
  • Coach Hire
  • Repairs and Maintenance
  • Petrol and Diesel

Julie Parkinson

Senior Category Specialist

Tel: 01670 622355

Email: Julie.parkinson@northumberland.gov.uk

Catherine Lawson

Senior Category Specialist for Adult Services and Public Health

Tel: 01670 622351

Email: Catherine.lawson@northumberland.gov.uk

Leanne Stewart

Category Specialist for Children’s Services

Tel: 01670 622360

Email: Leanne.stewart@northumberland.gov.uk

Lauren Morgan

Sourcing Officer (PT)

Tel: 01670 624851

Email: Lauren.morgan@northumberland.gov.uk

Deborah Beckwith

Sourcing Officer (PT)

Tel: 01670 624851

Email: Deborah.beckwith@northumberland.gov.uk

This category specialises in the following areas:

Adults

  • Residential Care
  • Day Care
  • Domiciliary Care
  • Addiction Care
  • Supporting People
  • Short Break Residential Care
  • Home Support Services
  • Advocacy Support
  • Strategic Housing

Children’s

  • Residential Care Services 
  • Foster Care
  • Home support Services
  • Short Break Residential Care
  • Outreach and Day Care Services
  • Youth Offending Services
  • Parenting Services
  • Supported Accommodation
  • Advocacy Support
  • Alternative Education

Public Health

  • Drug and Alcohol Services
  • Sexual Health Services
  • Stop Smoking Services
  • Dietetics - Adult Weight Management
  • HealthImprovement Services

David Herdman

Senior Category Specialist

Email: David.herdman@northumberland.gov.uk

Janine Ternent

Category Specialist for Professional Services

Tel: 01670 622354

Email: Janine.ternent@northumberland.gov.uk

Helen Hewitt

Category Specialist for ICT

Tel: 01670 622358

Email: Helen.hewitt@northumberland.gov.uk

Emma Dinning

Sourcing Officer

Tel: 01670 624851

Email: Emma.dinning@northumberland.gov.uk

This category specialises in the following areas:

Business Services

  • Stationary and Business Consumables
  • Office equipment
  • Non-office equipment
  • Insurance
  • Mailing Services
  • Uniforms, Clothing and PPE
  • Subscriptions
  • Travel and accommodation
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Professional Services
  • Consultants
  • Agency Staff and Interims
  • Legal Services
  • Training
  • Specialist Advice
  • Translation Services

ICT and Telecoms

  • Hardware and Software
  • Printing
  • Printers and Peripherals
  • Repairs and Maintenance
  • Computer Leasing
  • Mobile Communications
  • Telephone (Landlines)
  • Other Line Rentals

Frequently Asked Questions

We have answered the most frequently asked questions below:

You can send a direct email to financeprocurement@northumberland.gov.uk

Our Category Sourcing Officers will respond as soon as possible.

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.

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.

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

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.

No, the county council does not operate an approved supplier list.  All the council's opportunities are published via the NEPO Portal.

Please contact the NEPO helpdesk on 0191 433 5949.

Please contact the NEPO helpdesk on 0191 433 5949.

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 433 5949 and ask for the Contract Manager.

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