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Doing business with the Council

We are always looking to work with suppliers to support us in delivering our services and help us meet our vision for the future. Our annual influenceable contract spend is approximately £380,000,000 meaning there are numerous contract opportunities for different goods, services and works at wide ranging values to be won.

To learn more about procurement processes and how you can do business with us please see the relevant sections below. Additionally, for free business support and to discuss overcoming challenges and realising opportunities for growth, please contact our Economy Team.

As a local authority we work in line with the Public Contract Regulations 2015 and have created our own Contract Procedure Rules to help us purchase goods, works and services in line with legislation whilst supporting our local agenda.

A brief summary of the procurement procedures we apply for different thresholds can be found below or alternatively our full rules can be found within our Constitution.

Value of contractPre-procurement authorisationAdvertisingProcurement processContract execution
Under £5,000Officer.
If key decision, relevant officer and Cabinet/Committee approval
No requirement to advertiseAt least one written quotation required. Officers should ensure they achieve value for moneyContract terms issued via purchase order
£5,000 to £25,000Officer.
If key decision, relevant officer and Cabinet/Committee approval
No requirement to advertiseSeek to obtain at least three written quotations (at least one from a local provider)Contract terms issued via purchase order. Contract must be published on the Contract Register
25,000 to £100,000Officer.
If key decision, relevant officer and Cabinet/Committee approval
No requirement to advertiseSeek to obtain at least three formal quotations from the Council's RFQ process (at least one must be from a local provider)Written contract signed by one Chief Officer or Officer with appropriate authority to enter a contract. Standard terms approved by Legal Services. Contract must be published on the Contract Register and Contracts Finder
100,000 to ThresholdOfficer and Procurement Team. If key decision, relevant Officer and Cabinet/ Committee approval. Requirement to present requirement to PGGAdvertising on Contracts Finder is mandatorySeek to obtain at least three formal quotations from the Council's RFQ processWritten contract signed/sealed. Standard terms approved and contract prepared by Legal Services. Contract must be published on the Contracts Register and Contracts Finder
Above ThresholdOfficer and Procurement Team. If key decision, relevant Officer and Cabinet/ Committee approval. Requirement to present requirement to PGGAll procurement Notices must be issued by the Procurement TeamProcurement must be in accordance with the RegulationsWritten contract signed/sealed. Standard terms approved and contract prepared by Legal Services. Contract must be published on the Contracts Register and Contracts Finder
Framework agreementsOfficer (and Council's Procurement Team if over £100,000). If key decision, relevant officer and Cabinet/Committee approvalNot applicableFollow call-off procedure within Framework agreement. The number of Tenders will be determined by the FrameworkWritten contract created from Framework agreement. Sign-off as per above thresholds. Contract must be published on the Contracts Register and Contracts Finder

Additionally, if you would like to know more about how procurement plans to support the Council in meeting it’s objectives please see our Procurement Strategy.

Advertised Opportunities

As a large Local Authority there are multiple ways in which we’ll look to award our contracts so we’ve listed below the different ways you can look for contracting opportunities to work with us.

Contracts Finder – this is a Central Government website where you can find all of our advertised contract opportunities. You can search for contract opportunities and also create alerts so you are notified when relevant opportunities are advertised.

Find a Tender – this is also a Central Government website where you can find all of our advertised contracts with a net value above the £177,897 (in line with the public sector procurement thresholds)

Established Frameworks

We will also look to purchase certain goods, services and works through frameworks so we recommend that you apply to get onto frameworks that are relevant to your business. Some of the framework providers we will use include CCS, ESPO, NEPO and YPO.

Sub-Contracting Opportunities

If you are looking for sub-contracting opportunities or when to expect contracts to be re-procured, you may wish to view details of all our active contracts above £5,000 including awarded suppliers, which are published on our contracts register.

e-Tendering

We use In-Tend, to conduct our procurement activity for contracts above £100,000. For all procurements we carry out on In-Tend you’ll be able to access all relevant documents and submit your quotes or tenders on the portal. You’ll also find simple to use guides on the portal. Additionally, you can sign up to In-Tend to receive alerts for all West Northants Council opportunities as they are published.

Social Value

The Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force on 31 January 2013 and requires public authorities to have regard to economic, social, and environmental well-being in connection with public services contracts. To demonstrate our commitment to delivering social value effectively and collaboratively with our suppliers, partners and the community, we are delighted to have recently teamed up with the Social Value Portal. Our social value requirements will be aligned to national and local priorities and instructions for suppliers on how to meet our requirements will be detailed in our procurement.

To ensure we’re actually delivering social value effectively we’ll also be looking to use the national measurement tool for social value known as the National TOMs Framework. In our procurements we’ll ask you to map your social value offer to the TOMS framework. If your bid is successful, this will form the social value schedule in your contract outlining your offer.

Climate Change

An important part of social value is delivering environmental benefits and tackling climate change. Our ‘clean and green’ priorities are outlined in our Corporate Plan. Of these a key priority is the aim to become carbon neutral by 2030.

We want to be an authority that puts the environment first and considers the carbon cost in all our own decision-making, but also encourages and supports others to do the same, to help us shape a cleaner and greener West Northamptonshire.

We may include environmental factors in the specification of requirements for goods, services and works, so to put yourself in the best position to tender for West Northants Council and other public sector contracts we encourage all of our suppliers to review and improve their own environmental impact and a number of centrally available resources are available to support this:

  • UK Business Climate Hub
    For further information and guidance on how businesses can reduce their environmental impact
  • Carbon Reduction Plan Template
    From October 2021 Central Government contractors of contracts over £5m per annum are required to publish Carbon Reduction Plans on their website using as a minimum the Carbon Reduction Plan Template

How to get paid

If you have been awarded a contract and want to ensure your invoice is paid as promptly as possible. We recommend you follow our invoice guidance to make it as quick and seamless as possible.

All invoices should be addressed to West Northamptonshire Council.

Compliant invoice checklist

  • your full company name, address, and contact details
  • invoice date to ensure our system calculates your invoice due date correctly
  • a unique invoice number which we will be recorded on our system and quoted on your remittance advice or during any other correspondence with you
  • a valid ERP Purchase Order Number for the goods and/or services you are invoicing for on the invoice. The correct West Northamptonshire Council PO number will have 11 digits and start with 3140XXXXXXX and must be clearly specified on the invoice
  • your bank details including sort code and account number where you expect to receive the payment for your invoice
  • full organisation name and address liable for paying the invoice, for example, West Northamptonshire Council
  • clear description of the goods and/or services provided
  • accurate quantities, price and amount due
  • the date of supply (also known as tax point) if this is different from the invoice date
  • a breakdown of the goods and/or service clearly showing the net price, the VAT rate, the VAT amount, and the total amount for each line on the invoice

Submitting your invoices

Please email all Purchase Order Invoices in PDF format to: [email protected].

Invoices must be submitted in PDF format and individually attached, that is one invoice per attachment but you can submit multiple attachments in one email. Invoices which are not submitted in PDF format will be automatically rejected and unpaid until you re-submit your invoice in the required PDF format.

We prefer to receive invoices via email but if you are unable to send them to us electronically, paper invoices can be posted to:

Accounts Payable
Shire Hall
OCT 1101
Castle Hill
Cambridge
CB3 0AP

Non-Compliant invoices will be automatically rejected and unpaid until you re-submit your invoice in the required format.

If you have any queries regarding the outstanding invoice payments or you need to update your supplier record, please contact our Help Desk team via:

Standard terms and conditions

If you have been awarded a contract by us and have been sent a purchase order, our standard terms and conditions will apply for all purchases below £25,000 unless we state otherwise, for example, where the we have issued separate terms and conditions.

Localism Act

The 2011 Localism Act included a new ‘Community Right to Challenge’, which allows:

  • voluntary and community bodies
  • charities
  • parish councils
  • groups of 2 or more staff from the local authority
  • other person or body specified by the Secretary of State by regulations

to bid to express an interest in the running of services the council currently provides. Private sector providers can support the above providers in their challenge. The Government provides guidance on the services the Right to Challenge can apply to and who can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form.

Under the Right to Challenge, relevant bodies can submit a written EOI in running a service, which the local authority is required to consider and respond to.

You can contact the Council’s Procurement Team via email at [email protected].

Modern slavery

We are taking steps to prevent modern slavery in our operations and supply chains. For further details see our modern slavery and human trafficking statement. We are encouraging suppliers to complete the Government’s Modern Slavery Assessment Tool.

Transparency

In line with the Local Government Transparency Code 2015 we publish details of transactions over £500 and also publish details of our active contracts over £5,000 in total value.

Whistleblowing

We are committed to the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability. In line with this commitment the council encourages individuals with serious concerns about an activity in the council to voice those concerns.

This also applies to concerns about the actions of employees and councillors and external organisations in their dealings with the council.

The Whistleblowing Policy is applicable to all

  • employees
  • contractors working for the council on council property
  • suppliers to the council

Where possible we seek to ensure that any issues that are raised through the Whistleblowing Policy are dealt with through the internal process outlined.

However, where an individual feels that the issue should be raised outside of the council, please view Government advice on how you can do so.

Last updated 29 September 2022