Selling to the Council

About our procurement strategy

The council's procurement strategy sets out its distinctive approach to the use of competition and how it will procure works, goods and services. The Council has long been committed to the use of open competition for purchasing supplies and large scale works in order to achieve cost-effective procurement and to avoid allegations of corruption or favouritism. This has helped to achieve national recognition for Wandsworth as a value for money organisation.

Since 1982, this approach has been increasingly applied to the procurement of Council services. It is accepted Council policy that services will be exposed to competition unless there is a clear reason why it would not be appropriate.

Competitive procurement is applied to almost all "blue collar" services and has, since 1990, been extended to a range of professional services which were previously delivered by directly employed staff. Competition therefore lies at the core of the Council's approach to procurement.  

The criteria for the award of all tenders will be simply and clearly stated and, for the most part, will focus on tender price.  Established Council policy has favoured an award procedure based on the lowest price compliant tender although, on occasions, the "most economically advantageous tender" approach has been followed and resulted in a decision to award the tender to a contractor who had not offered the lowest price.

The most common reason to award to a higher priced contractor has been because of uncertainty about the quality and technical merit offered by the lowest priced contractor and the consequences for the service if the contractor fails.

Other public authorities have, for many years, talked about balancing price and quality but the Council has argued that considerations such as quality or technical merit should, wherever possible, be fully integrated into the specification so that the tendered price covers all that is required.

The Council also contracts with a number of local and national voluntary organisations. The Council's preferred approach is to use contractual agreements which clarify the role and responsibilities of each party as opposed to a grant model. As a rule, the Council will use competitive procurement as the method of selecting voluntary sector providers to deliver services on its behalf and, in many instances, they are awarded contracts after competition with private sector providers. In other instances, it may be necessary to negotiate agreement outside a competitive framework because the voluntary sector organisation is the only suitable provider.