Procurement, tenders and contracts

The role of procurement

Procurement involves the purchasing of goods, works and services. The Councils' Procurement team work to create and award contracts that deliver value for money while maximising the social, economic and environmental outcomes for residents and communities in Adur and Worthing.

This approach applies to approximately a £29m spend each year on everything from stationery and groceries to property maintenance services and coastal protection works.

For more information see our What the Councils buy webpage.

How it works

All public procurement is governed by the Public Contract Regulations 2015, which sets out the rules that must be followed, according to the total value of the contract.

The Procurement team provides advice and support to the Councils' departments on all aspects of commissioning, pre-procurement, procurement and contract and supplier management. The Procurement team leads larger value projects.

To ensure that the Councils' procurement activities are undertaken in a fair and transparent manner, a set of Joint Contract Standing Orders have been adopted as part of the Councils' constitutions, see:

Type of procurement procedure

There are several types of procurement procedure, but the most common are known as:

  • either 'open', meaning any organisation can submit a tender
  • or 'closed', when an organisation must meet minimum published criteria before being invited to tender

The total value of the contract also determines the type of procedure that must be followed, as detailed below:

Total contract valueProcedure
Below £25,000 The relevant head of department must demonstrate they are obtaining value for money, eg by using an existing contract or seeking a minimum of two quotations
£25,000 to £99,999.99 A minimum of three quotations or tenders must be obtained via the Councils' e-tendering system
£100,000 to 
The tenders must be advertised on Contracts Finder and via the Councils' e-tendering system
Above Public
The tenders must be advertised on Find a Tender System (FTS), Contracts Finder and the Councils' e-tendering system

Framework agreements

There are some exemptions from following these procedures, such as when a framework agreement is used. Framework agreements are contracts which have already been advertised and tendered by another public body for other public bodies to use. A number of organisations provide these frameworks, and some of our regular partners include:

How to respond to an Adur & Worthing Councils' tender effectively

Our tender evaluators have put together some tips for applying for contracts and tenders with the Councils. Some of these tips may seem obvious, but contracts have been lost because contractors have not followed them. They apply to most public sector tender processes:

First steps

  • Don't be put off by the tender documentation. Read it thoroughly and if there is anything you don't understand please contact us for clarification. It is part of our job to assist you.
  • Understand your customer; look at their website and read their procurement information and guidance - it will help you understand their priorities, processes and requirements.

Filling in your return

  • Answer in full - do not assume anything is obvious, or 'goes without saying'. If you're only writing three or four sentence answers, you probably need to be providing more detail.
  • Even if you have previously done some work for the Councils - even if you are the present contractor, your submission will be evaluated solely on what you have written in your response. This has led to disappointment more than once. So be sure to provide any relevant evidence that you think will help support your bid.
  • Make it clear which question your answer refers to - clearly numbered paragraphs are easier and clearer to evaluate than a page of unbroken writing. Make it easy for our team to give you points!
  • Work out the most important questions from the evaluation criteria weightings in the tender documents, and take extra care to answer them fully.
  • Be clear on your pricing model - state any assumptions you made when pricing (eg availability of resources, timing, etc.)

Ready to send it back to us?

  • Check that you have provided us with all of the information requested. If you are unable to provide all the information for some reason, contact us for advice.
  • Complete and return the documents by the date and time given. Check that you have signed everything you should have.
  • Don't include publicity or promotional material in your submission unless you are asked to do so.
  • Keep electronic copies of all submissions. You will be able to cut-and-paste your answers into future Councils' Supplier Selection Questionnaires and Invitation to Tenders and save time.
  • Do ask for feedback if you are unsuccessful, it will help you with the next tender.

Do give us feedback

If there is anything about our tender process that you think could be improved, please let us know.

Email us at

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Page last updated: 01 November 2022

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