What we buy, how we buy and what we look for

What do we buy?

The Council buys a wide variety of goods and services for use by all departments or, in certain cases, one department in particular. Some examples of commodities or services purchased are:

  • Agency staff 
  • Building consultancy and construction work 
  • Consultancy services 
  • Environmental health 
  • Gas and electricity 
  • Grounds maintenance 
  • Information technology 
  • Insurances 
  • Janitorial products 
  • Office furniture 
  • Office products 
  • Security services 
  • Telecommunications 
  • Vehicle fuels 
  • Vehicle hire/leasing 

How do we buy?

The goods and services used by the Council are paid for with public money, so rules are in place to make sure each stage of the procurement process is transparent. The rules fall into five groups:

  • European procurement directives 
  • UK legislation 
  • Financial regulations of the council 
  • Contract and procedure rules of the council 
  • Policy decisions of the council 
  • The council purchases its goods and services to its published Terms and Conditions of Contract. Sometimes we may use industry standard models or we may negotiate terms. However, this will be made known when we approach the market for specific goods or services.

What do we look for?

Purchasing decisions are extremely complex and not confined only to price. The lowest price may not always represent the best overall value for money. Examples of other issues the Council would consider before awarding business include:

  • Fitness for purpose (quality, suitability for the task to be undertaken etc.) 
  • Delivery and availability against price 
  • Cost of ownership 
  • Whole life cycle costs, including spare parts, maintenance costs and projected down time 
  • On-costs (such as transport and storage) 
  • The cost of procurement itself 
  • Sustainability/environmental/corporate social responsibility 

For more information, please contact a member of the Purchasing team.