Welcome to our Procurement section. The scope of the Procurement Department within the Corporate Services Directorate is to provide a professional purchasing service to internal customers reducing risk to the Authority by acting as a commercial specialist. We undertake effective management of the LFRA supplier base, support business development with due consideration of the requirements of SME’s and consistent with national guidelines and contribute to collaborative procurement opportunities with other Authorities as necessary to develop and implement regional joint agreements.
The Authority is responsible for purchasing a wide range of products and services, including:
- IT suppliers and services
- Estate services
- Operational equipment
- Training services
LFRA Procurement Department works closely with four other North West Fire and Rescue Authorities (Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cumbria and Cheshire) to collaborate on procurement activity. Collectively this group is known as the North West Regional Procurement Team (NWRPT).
The Authority also collaborates with other emergency services, local authorities and other public bodies when it is advantageous to do so.
On occasion it is appropriate for LFRA to utilise existing collaborative Framework Agreements or Contracts, such as those provided by the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) or other public buying organisations.
The Authority has a Procurement Strategy which defines the role of the Procurement function in the delivery of LFRA’s commitment to providing best value for money. This document identifies procurement’s priorities aligning with local, regional and national procurement policy and the critical actions required to deliver the strategy.
As a public sector organisation, LFRA has to ensure it undertakes procurement activity in a transparent, fair and equitable way. The Authority has a duty to comply with the Public Contracts Regulations (2015), as well as internal procedures. The Authority sets out the way it buys Goods, Works and Services in its Contract Standing Orders although some general guidance is provided below.
Routes to market
The Authority uses a web based e-procurement platform for all purchases over a value of £25,000. We advocate that all potential suppliers to the North West Fire Authorities register on our e-procurement platform here. Please note that there is no charge to register but the registration process must be fully completed to allow the system to alert you of potential tender opportunities. Suppliers must ensure their contact details are kept up to date to receive alerts. Once registered suppliers can browse through contract notices for free and express an interest to participate in the advertised opportunities.
The procurement procedure utilised will depend on the estimated value of the contract:
- For Goods or Services between £25,000 – £181,302 a UK tender procedure will be followed
- For Goods or Services over this value an EU tender procedure will be followed.
- For Works between £25,000 – £4,551,413 a UK tender procedure will be followed.
- For Works over this value an EU tender procedure will be followed.
All of these opportunities will be advertised on the Supply4NWFire portal and on Contracts Finder. In addition all EU tender procedures will be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
The Authority may also wish to use a compliant framework agreement to purchase Goods, Services and/or Works.
Typically these are available from Crown Commercial Services or other public buying organisations. If a framework is used the guidelines for that framework will be followed.
The tender process
The Authority will publish an advert using the appropriate online media:
- Contracts Finder
based on the value of the required contract.
For tendering opportunities between £25,000 – £181,302 for Goods and Services, and between £25,000 – £4,551,413 for Works. The Procurement process can take one of two routes
For tendering opportunities above these thresholds a range of EU procurement processes are available to the Authority. The most widely used processes are the Open and Restricted procedures
Any process which involves a Suitability Assessment or a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire will assess the potential suppliers and only a nominated number of bidders will be invited to submit a tender.
The process may also involve other activities such as bidder days, presentations and interviews if deemed appropriate. All bidders will be aware of these requirements at an early stage in the procurement process.
Bidders will need to submit a completed tender response on the Supply4NWFire portal by the time and date specified in order for the bid to be considered. There is more guidance for suppliers regarding the completion of tenders available in our Do’s and Don’ts advice.
The Authority will open all electronically sealed bids and commence evaluation of the responses following the return deadline date and time. Evaluation will be undertaken by a panel of suitably qualified and experienced officers utilising the contract award evaluation criteria specified in the tender documentation. All tender evaluation will use a Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) approach. This approach requires the Authority to determine the relative weightings it should attribute to quality and price (cost). The weightings will vary for each procurement project depending on the Goods, Services and/or Works being procured.
Once all of the bids have been evaluated, the bidder(s) with the highest score will be identified as the preferred bidder(s). Internal requisite approval to award the contract will be obtained and all bidders will be notified of the outcome.
A legally binding contract will be put in place with the preferred bidder(s) and business can then commence.
The Authority uses a range of standard templates to undertake its business with suppliers – these are updated and amended as required for each contract.
All purchase orders are subject to the Authority’s standard Terms and Conditions of Contract