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Guide for contractors and suppliers



South Ribble Borough Council spends approximately £9m on annual revenue costs with the private sector and several more million pounds on capital schemes each year. The four-year capital programme from 2022-23 to 2025-26 totals £84.5m.  These spending plans provide organisations of all sizes with a range of commercial opportunities.

A lack of information about opportunities and a lack of understanding of the Council's contracting procedures may be stopping some organisations from applying for Council contracts. This guide aims to help overcome these difficulties and explains how we carry out our procurement activities and how to apply for contracts.

There is of course a great deal of competition for South Ribble Borough Council work, and this guide cannot assure individual firms of success. However it should provide enough information to give you the opportunity to be considered for Council work.

About us

South Ribble Borough Council have operated a shared procurement service with Chorley Council since January 2009, and working in partnership, a Joint Procurement Policy has been adopted. The Joint Procurement Policy includes the Councils' procurement Vision and Joint Procurement Priorities:


  • Supporting the delivery of quality, cost effective services, and the Councils' corporate priorities, through strong leadership, innovation, and a strategic, commercially aware approach to modern, best practice and socially responsible, compliant procurement processes.

Joint Procurement Priorities:

  • Procurement that shows strong Leadership, engages all stakeholders, delivering outcomes and complying with relevant rules both internal and external
  • Procurement that exploits the benefits of Technology, is market & commercially aware, harnesses innovation, is effectively managed and delivers sustained competitiveness & value for money
  • Procurement that is inclusive, sustainable and socially responsible

The Joint Procurement Policy is published here

 A small shared procurement team has been established , supporting the requirements of both South Ribble and Chorley Borough Councils. The shared procurement team has responsibility for promoting and co-ordinating best practice across both authorities and provides guidance and support to officers involved in the procurement process for individual procurement activities.

Responsibility for individual service requirements rests with the individual managers within the relevant service area. A list of the Council Directorates and Service areas, together with the range of goods and services they may procure, is included in this document.

Rules we must comply with

Contract procedure rules

South Ribble Borough Council has its own internal Contracts Procedure Rules which regulate all procurement and determine the processes that must be followed according to the contract value.

Additionally, contracts above the relevant threshold are subject to the Public Contracts Regulations. With effect from 1 January 2022 the Regulations thresholds are shown inclusive of VAT.

A summary of the thresholds and procedures is included in the table below.

The Council may also access and call-off contracts from public sector framework agreements which have already been through a compliant procurement process.

Summary of thresholds and procedures

Below £10,000 excl. VAT

£10,000 to £25,000 excl. VAT

Written, evidenced verbal or electronic quote(s)

Minimum 3 quotations, electronic or through the Chest or reasons for not doing so recorded

£25,000 - £100,000 excl. VATMinimum of 3 formal quotes through the Chest. Where above £25k and openly advertised the opportunity will also be advertised on Contracts Finder
£100,000 +Open Advertisement on the Chest & Contracts Finder - Formal Tenders
Services & Supplies: £213,477 incl. VATContract subject to the Public Contracts Regulations
Works: £5,336,937 incl. VATContract subject to the Public Contracts Regulations
Light Touch Regime Services: £663,540 incl. VATContract subject to the Public Contracts Regulations
Concessions: £5,336,937 incl. VATContract subject to the Public Contracts Regulations



How to find out about our contracts

The Chest

South Ribble Borough Council has implemented the regional e-procurement portal "The Chest".

The Chest has been developed for use by Councils registered to use the system across the North West and brings together buyers and suppliers on to a single regional website, making it easier for businesses to find out about procurement opportunities and to grow and develop to the benefit of the local economy.

The Chest provides for tenders and quotations to be advertised/ invited, received, completed and submitted electronically, providing efficiencies for both buyers and suppliers. Additionally suppliers may register to receive e-alerts for new procurement opportunities that they may be interested in.

Supplier registration and use of The Chest is free of charge.

To register and view South Ribble Council and other procurement opportunities on The Chest please visit

Contracts Finder

Contracts Finder (opens new window) is the National Procurement Portal specifically referred to in the 2015 Public Contracts Regulations on which all local government opportunities which are openly advertised and above £25,000, must be advertised. (£10,000 for Central Government). 

Find a Tender

Find a Tender (opens new window) is used to advertise procurement opportunities above the relevant public procurement thresholds and subject to the Public Contracts Regulations

Tender evaluation

Unless Price has been pre-determined to be the most appropriate contract award criterion, returned tenders are evaluated against pre-determined MEAT (Most Economically Advantageous Tender) criteria, usually by a panel of officers. Evaluation will focus on how the Tender proposes to deliver the service/supplies including quality and cost (price). Where appropriate, whole life costing will be applied. The balance between quality and cost will depend on the particular requirement.

Evaluation criteria and methodology will be pre-determined and clearly stated in the Tender documents.

The procurement procedure may include a pre-qualification or suitability assessment stage which will include an evaluation / assessment of the financial and technical capacity of the company including financial, health and safety, customer references etc.

All Tenderers will be notified in writing of whether or not they have been successful in their bid. Within the limits of current legislation and good practice we will provide unsuccessful tenderers with feedback on the reasons why their bid has failed.

Additionally, selling to the Council will be influenced by specific policies that the Council has adopted. Examples of these policies are described below.

Sustainability and the environment 

At South Ribble Borough Council we are committed to protecting the local environment, addressing the environmental impact of our activities and ensuring a better quality of life for everyone. We recognise that the Council has a vital role in furthering sustainable development, through its procurement of buildings, goods, works and services and that procurement decisions can have a major socio-economic and environmental implication, both locally and globally, now and for future generations. To this end, we have adopted a Sustainable Procurement Policy and encourage our suppliers to adopt, practice and promote sustainable policies and procedures.

The Council will specify, wherever possible and practicable, the use of environmentally friendly goods and may include sustainability factors within the specification and evaluation criteria as appropriate.

Our Sustainable Procurement Policy can be viewed here.

Equal opportunities

We want to make South Ribble Borough Council a cohesive multi-cultural society in which all differences are valued and celebrated. To achieve this we are committed to the principles of fairness and valuing diversity to everyone who lives, works, studies, invests in, or visits South Ribble and have produced a comprehensive Equality Scheme which sets out the details of this commitment.

Contract Monitoring

The Council has to monitor its performance as part of its duty under Best Value and our Suppliers and Contractors will be expected to provide the Service in accordance with the requirements set out in the contract documentation.

The Council is continually striving to improve its own performance and expects firms working for it to do the same.

The Council will look seriously at the position of any firm that fails to perform to the levels required.

Suppliers and Contractors will be asked to comment on any adverse performance that is reported and should be aware that any instances of poor performance could lead to financial penalties or early termination of the Contract.

Examples of adverse performance would include areas such as:

  • Poor health and safety practices
  • Poor quality of goods or service
  • Poor adherence to work programme
  • Breaches of legislation which put Council services at risk



E-Procurement is the ability to trade with all suppliers using e-mail and web technology. It removes paper processes and reduces costs for both buyer and supplier, making trading simpler, more efficient and more cost effective. E-procurement also helps reduce costly mistakes, such as incorrect orders and deliveries, and is a key to ensuring quick payment. Without pieces of paper to get lost in the post or mislaid within the department, supplier invoices can be turned around and settled quickly.

South Ribble Borough Council currently issues tenders and quotations electronically through the Chest, which is the North West's Regional eProcurement Portal.

Suppliers are advised to register on The Chest free of charge to view and access South Ribble Council and other Authority's procurement opportunities. This can be done by visiting:

E-procure to pay system

South Ribble Borough Council introduced an updated fully electronic procure to pay system across the authority in April 2011. This system uses internet technology to streamline procurement by employing a simple, browser based interface for the requisitioning and purchasing of goods. The system allows orders to be sent to suppliers by e-mail or, for those suppliers who cannot yet accept orders by this method, by traditional printing and posting. The Council's preferred method of sending orders is by e-mail.

The system goes on to allow Council buyers to electronically "Goods Receive" and, process the invoice for fast and efficient payment to the supplier by BACS. BACS is the Council's preferred payment method.

To ensure effective operation of this system and achieve maximum process efficiencies for both the Council and the Supplier it is essential that every invoice quotes an official Council order number. Invoices that do not quote an order number may be returned to the supplier unpaid as considered appropriate.

Dept Responsibilities

Department responsibilities
Directorate or serviceGood or services purchased
Chief Executives — Corporate Management, Organisational Development, Public Relations, Place Promotion, Events, South Ribble PartnershipAdvertising, Corporate Subscriptions, Training, Relevant Consultancy Services
Democratic Services, Legal Services, Licensing & HR — Governance & Member Services, Elections & Electoral Registration, Support to the Leader & Cabinet Members, Mayoralty & Civic Arrangements, Legal & HR Services, Scrutiny & Licensing Services

Relevant consultancy services, recruitment advertising, agency staff, occupational health and counselling services, health and wellbeing initiatives, training and development packages and computer software, PR and communication services, payroll Services

Goods & services relating to legal (and related consultancy services), licensing and land charges

Finance & Assurance Services - Shared Financial Services, Shared Assurance Services, Audit & Risk & Insurance, ProcurementBanking, Financial Advisory Services, Treasury Management Services, financial information systems, Internal Audit Services, Insurance Services & Brokerage, Risk Management Services, Corporate wide & Collaborative Procurement Services
Customer Experience & Operations — Information Services, Benefits, Revenues & Gateway, Corporate travel/ accommodationRelevant consultancy services, computer software/hardware, postal services, bailiffs, recovery/tracing agents, secure cash collection.
Planning & Property - Housing Building Projects, Strategic Housing, Homelessness, Leisure Services, Sports Development, Planning/ Development Management, Strategic Property Services, Asset Management, Building Control, Economic Development, City Deal, Private Sector Housing (DFG), Planning Policy, Central Lancashire Strategic Planning, Investment & Skills, Apprenticeships

Homelessness and Housing Advice, Home Improvement Agency, Supported Housing, Affordable Housing

Relevant consultancy services

Disabled Facilities Grant work, Energy Efficiency works

Sport and General Leisure Equipment & Services

Regeneration / Improvement schemes and Arts

Building facilities management and maintenance services, construction

Neighbourhoods & Development— Safeguarding, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Grounds & Open Spaces, Street Cleansing, Waste Management, Transport/Fleet Management, Grounds Maintenance, Streetscene, Clean Environment, Health & Safety, Community Safety, Caretaking, Catering & Facilities Management, Major Development projects, Project Team, Strategic Partnership, Community Works, Health, Wellbeing & Leisure Campus, Environmental Health, Regeneration &

Vehicles, plant and equipment purchase and hire. Waste and recycling contracts, recycling containers and bags. Publicity leaflets and guides. Street cleaning, canine welfare and public conveniences

Grounds Maintenance & Parks goods and services, playground renovation, spring and summer bedding plants, street furniture and car parks.

Pollution monitoring equipment, pest control materials, pollution/noise monitoring equipment, drainage repair and food safety equipment, catering equipment food & beverages, consumables, hospitality equipment and systems


Comments on our guide

We are committed to quality and are always looking for ways to improve our service. If you have any views, positive or otherwise on your procurement experience with the Council, or any comments on how we may improve this Guide, we would like to hear from you.

Please send your comments to:

Procurement South Ribble and Chorley Council Shared Financial Services

Town Hall

Market Street





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