How to do business with Falkirk Council:
Guide for Suppliers.
The guidance in this document is
intended to be informative and
useful. It should not be taken
as a statement of the law and
suppliers should take their
own legal advice as necessary.
In issuing this advice the Council
does not commit to enter into any
contract with individual businesses
or group of companies.
1. Introduction 3
2. Procurement objectives 4
3. Rules that affect how works, supplies, and
services are purchased 5
4. How to find out about tendering opportunities 6
5. Applying for contracts that are advertised 7
6. If you receive a tender - how do you respond? 8
7. How are contracts awarded? 10
8. Challenge of Contract Award 11
9. Freedom of Information 11
10. Customer care 12
11. Further information 12
Small business offering a big service
W.H. Tyres in Bonnybridge is a prime example of a small
company offering a big service, following the award of a
Falkirk Council contract.
Directors William and Eleanor Hughes started out small but
have since doubled the size of their premises on the
Canalbank Estate at Seabegs Road and have taken their
workforce from three to ten.
This expansion has been possible due to the volume of Falkirk
Council contract work.
They provide commercial and car tyre services plus a 24 hour
mobile one-hour response time.
Customers include Falkirk Council and Central Scotland Fire
and Rescue Service.
Falkirk Council (“the Council”) spends millions of pounds on
a wide variety of supplies, services and works each year,
providing companies of all sizes with a range of commercial
This Guide aims to help all potential contractors, suppliers
and service providers (“Suppliers”) to tender for contracts
with Falkirk Council. It explains the legislation that the
Council follows and outlines the procedures that apply when
tendering for Council work.
Issuing this guide is part of the Council’s commitment to
supporting and encouraging all suppliers, including small
and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), to compete for Council
business. The Council also recognises that many small
businesses are key local employers and make significant
contributions to their communities. This Guide is therefore
designed to assist SMEs tender to supply goods and services
to the Council and support the Council’s wider commitment
to achieve community benefits through procurement.
Underpinning the procurement process is the Council’s duty to
seek best value in obtaining supplies, services and works. In
seeking best value the Council is committed to ensuring that
consistent procurement procedures are in use throughout the
Council.The use of these procedures promotes transparency,
fairness and equality of treatment for all potential suppliers.
All our procedures comply with applicable legislation and the
Council’s own procurement rules.
In order to assist suppliers the Council shall:
Publicise tender opportunities on it’s web site.
Give guidance as to tendering processes and ensure the
guidance is kept up to date.
Make our tender documents available free of any charges.
Keep tender documents simple to understand.
Set realistic timetables for tendering submissions.
Engage with small and medium sized businesses to deliver
elements of larger contracts and framework agreements.
Encourage and support suppliers to adopt e-commerce
systems that streamline processes, reduce administration
time and enable the Council to make payment to suppliers
Rules that affect how works,
supplies and services are purchased
For the general day to day buying of goods, works and
services the Council’s own rules or ‘Standing Orders’ set the
following general approach:
Where the value of the purchase is less than £1,000 there is no
formal requirement for the Council to get quotations, as long
as best value is obtained. In the interest of cost and efficiency
the Council can elect to purchase the goods from one supplier
without seeking quotations from other potential suppliers. If
it is considered necessary to get quotations then the Council
will usually obtain a minimum of three.
Where the value of the purchase is between £1,000 and
£30,000 the Council will normally obtain three competitive
quotations from suppliers.
Where the value of the purchase is above £30,000 the Council
will conduct a formal tendering exercise and obtain
competitive tenders from suppliers.
There are some rare exceptions to the above approach
contained in the Council’s own rules.
As well as the Council’s own rules, for certain larger contracts
in excess of financial thresholds set by the European
Union (“EU Thresholds”) the Council must comply with
European Union procurement legislation. Contracts for
services and supplies above £144,000 (approximately) or for
construction works above £3.6 million (approximately) are
subject to European Union procurement legislation and set
5 tendering procedures.
The Council’s Central Procurement Team maintains an up to
date register of existing contracts with suppliers on the
Council’s website and details of the value of contracts
This can be viewed at www.falkirk.gov.uk – clicking purchasing
within ‘quick links’.
The website also provides information on some future
contract opportunities which are likely to arise in the
following 12 / 24 months, details on suppliers who have been
awarded contracts and the tender register giving details of
the term of contract with any extension periods.
At present not all contracts are advertised on the Council’s
website. The Council intends however to continually increase
the number of contracts displayed through this medium.
Contracts, depending on their scale and value, may also be
advertised in newspapers circulating in the Council area. If
necessary an advertisement may also be placed in one or more
appropriate trade journals. Where European rules apply,
contracts will also be advertised in the Official Journal of the
Applying for contracts that are
The Council generally uses two types of procedure, as follows:
The ‘Open’ Procedure
If the Council uses an open tendering procedure, any
interested supplier can tender for the contract.You will still be
asked to express your interest for the contract, but you will
automatically be invited to submit a tender.
Your submission will then be considered together with your
tender bid and supporting documentation.
The ‘Restricted’ Procedure
You will be asked to express your interest and to request the
project related pre-qualification questionnaire.You must
complete the questionnaire and return it within the specified
Once all the returned questionnaires have been evaluated, a
shortlist of tenderers is compiled – tender documents are sent
to those on the shortlist, and a letter is sent giving feedback
to those not successful in getting onto the shortlist.
In both the ‘Open’ and ‘Restricted’ Procedure
If you apply to tender under the open procedure or are
selected to tender following the restricted procedure,
information on how the tender documentation can be
obtained will be sent to you from either the Council’s Central
Procurement Team or the Council Service supervising the
(Wherever possible the Council will make documents available
in electronic format on its website).
If you receive a tender -
how do you respond?
Typically the Invitation To Tender (ITT) documents that you re-
ceive will consist of all or some of the following:-
Covering letter this will advise when and where tenders
should be submitted.
Invitation to Tender provides guidance for completing the
Contract Specification sets out what needs to be achieved
including policies, procedures or guidelines to be followed. It
sets out the performance standards and the outcomes expected.
Schedule of Rates/Pricing Document the document where all
prices are entered.
Terms and Conditions of Contract sets out the legal
framework and the obligations of both parties.
Quality Requirements/Method Statement Questions
questions about how a supplier intends to provide the service,
including supporting evidence demonstrating relevant
experience. This will be used to help evaluate the quality of
Tender Evaluation Criteria advises how the tender submission
will be evaluated and the contract awarded.
Pre-addressed tender return label states the time and date
by which the tender must be returned. (Late tenders may not
Any other relevant supporting information.
If you receive a tender you must follow the instructions given
in the ITT and letter of invitation, as a failure to do so may
prevent the Council from considering your tender.
The tender documents are all opened at the same time
through a secure and auditable process after the tender
return date. Once the tender documents have been opened
they are forwarded to the appropriate Council Officer for
evaluation. If you fail to return your tender documents by the
specified deadline your tender may be excluded from the
When tendering for Council contracts it is important to
consider a few key Do’s and Don’ts:
Do ensure that you Don’t
supply all details requested and place any identifying marks on
signatures your tender envelope
can provide the goods and expect any special treatment; all
services the Council needs as per tenders are treated equally
the specification ask for special meetings to
provide all relevant contact discuss your bid during the
details tendering process as all tenderers
return your tender to us by the must have equivalent rights to
deadline; late tenders may not be information and access
considered forget to ask for debriefing if
are not discouraged from your bid is unsuccessful
9 bidding for further work if your
How are contracts awarded?
The Council will usually evaluate the tender bids on the basis
of the ‘Most Economically Advantageous Tender’, sometimes
known as ‘MEAT’, which takes account of price, quality and
whole life costing. After evaluating the bids, if the Council is
satisfied that you can undertake the work, supply or service
and your tender is considered the most economically
advantageous you will be awarded the contract. You should
note that the Council is not bound to accept the lowest priced
bid or indeed any of the bids submitted.
If you are not awarded the contract you will be notified in
writing that you have been unsuccessful and within the limits
of commercial confidentiality, the Council will, if requested,
offer unsuccessful tenderers feedback to find out why their
This information can be used to help with any future bids;
being unsuccessful in one contract does not mean being
unsuccessful in the future.
Challenge of Contract Award
Anyone who has submitted a tender to the Council for a
contract either above or below EU thresholds can seek redress
from a Sheriff Court if they have been harmed, or are at risk
of harm, by the Council breaching EU procurement legislation.
Anyone who feels they have not been treated fairly can also
complain to the European Union. Suppliers should take their
own legal advice as a matter of urgency in such circumstances.
Freedom of Information
The Council, as a Scottish public authority, is bound by the
provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
(“the Act”). All information submitted to the Council in a
tender may therefore need to be disclosed and/or published
by the Council in compliance with the Act. If you consider that
any of the information submitted should not be disclosed (eg,
if commercially sensitive), you should identify that information
and explain (in broad terms) why the information should not
be disclosed. The Council will take this into account in
deciding whether or not to release the information if
requested to do so by a third party.
Falkirk Council’s aim in working with suppliers is to be open,
fair and transparent. The Council will adopt a variety of
contract monitoring arrangements appropriate to the value
and nature of each contract. Most complaints will be discussed
and resolved through these arrangements.
To speak with someone from our procurement team please
Falkirk Council, Business Services, Purchasing,
Seabegs Road, Bonnybridge FK4 2BU
Tel: (01324) 503075 / 503092 Fax: (01324) 503081
Other useful contacts:
Falkirk Council’s, Business Support Team
The Falkirk Stadium, Westfield, Falkirk FK2 9DX
Tel:01324 590964 www.falkirkonline.net
Tel: 0845 609 6611 Website: www.bgateway.com
Falkirk Enterprise Action Trust
Tel:01324 665500 Website: www.feat.org.uk
Other key Council Contacts
Infrastructure, Construction and Transportation Services
Development Services, Abbotsford House,
Davids Loan Bainsford, Falkirk FK2 7YZ Tel: 01324 504950
Housing Property Maintenance /Improvement and
Housing and Social Work Services, Suite 5, The Forum,
Callendar Business Park, Falkirk FK1 1XR Tel: 01324 590800
corporate & commercial services falkirk council
Designed by communications unit,
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Seabegs Road, Bonnybridge, FK4 2BU
Tel: 01324 503050
Fax: 01324 503060
to do business with Falkirk Council
Guide for Suppliers
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