Do business with us
When it comes to doing business with us, our procurement process must be fair and transparent. We are committed to ensuring we make this process as easy and clear as possible, especially for small local businesses.
We spend around £40million a year on procuring services and products, ranging from construction contracts to stationery supplies, vehicle maintenance to horticultural services – and much more in between.
We are hugely aware of the impact this can have on the local economy, and we are keen to ensure local businesses in the Borough are wellinformed and engaged with the procurement process.
As a local authority, we need to comply with legislation such as the European Procurement Directives. These require Council to ensure fairness, openness and transparency throughout the procurement process. We also want to deliver value for money to all our ratepayers.
For all tenders with a value above £30,000, we must award the contract to the most competitive tenderer, regardless of geographical location.
For tenders with a value below £30,000, we can direct this towards the local business sector if it provides best value for all.
Of course, best value does not always equate to lowest initial price, and we therefore must take into consideration quality, running costs and maintenance costs as well as resource capacity and ability of a company to deliver on time, to budget and to specification.
With all this in mind, here are some top tips for success in the tender process:
Top tendering tips
1. Let us know you are there
If we don’t know about you, we cannot invite you to quote. For example, if we are looking for a graphic designer to do a small job with a quick turnaround, we will invite quotes from our database of graphic designers. You want to make sure you are on that database!
2. Register with eTendersNI
The Council is in the process of moving from the tender portal eSourcing NI, to using eTendersNI exclusively. This site is already used by central government. It is vital that businesses register now and familiarise themselves with the site if you want to see what opportunities will be available. We also advertise on the Belfast Telegraph’s tender section.
3. Ask questions
We are happy to meet with suppliers to run through processes and to give guidance where appropriate. You don’t need to wait for a workshop or seminar.
4. Fill it out
Make sure you read all documentation in full and follow all instructions. If you forget to fill out a section, we have to disqualify the tender. If there is something you do not understand, you can contact the person named in the tender for clarification. Late submissions cannot be accepted.
5. Get feedback
If you don’t win a tender, you are able to receive feedback from Council as to why you weren’t successful on this occasion. This may be helpful and can enable you to make a positive application in the future.
6. Attend events
We host and attend a number of workshops, seminars and Meet the Buyer events throughout the year. These are good opportunities to network with other businesses, and as we encourage interaction, you may often hear a point being raised that you hadn’t thought of. We are planning our next workshops for Autumn 2016.
7. Consider partnerships
We encourage businesses to look at partnering or sub-contracting aspects of a large project. This can open up opportunities for smaller businesses and help them resource the right skillset to deliver large tenders at the request of Council.
8. Find out more
In the future, we will be producing a Selling to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council guide. We will also be updating our website and upgrading it to allow suppliers to register online. Look out for these and, in the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.