Thames Valley Police spends approximately £115 million per annum on the procurement of goods, services and works. The aim of the Thames Valley Police Procurement Services team is to identify saving opportunities across the force and to provide a flexible procurement function to meet the Force's current and future needs.
The team is working with the business to deliver significant commercial benefits by:
Moving away from securing one-off contracts to longer-term efficient and effective business solutions that minimise the costs over the life of a contract.
Deployment of category management approaches to understand the market opportunities and changing business needs.
Achieving and sustaining savings through the procurement life cycle.
Creating a centre of excellence providing the right skills, and engaged staff being seen as a value added service.
Procurement Services has teams in the following areas:
A lack of information about opportunities and understanding of the Force’s contracting procedures may be stopping some organisations from seeking to become a supplier to the force. This information aims to overcome these difficulties and explains how to apply for opportunities and what is expected of you when working for the force.
Contracts are awarded on the basis of obtaining best value for money for the taxpayer. Thames Valley Police cannot discriminate in favour of local suppliers but they will be given every encouragement to compete for contracts.
There is a great deal of competition for Thames Valley Police contracts and this guide cannot assure an individual firm’s success. However, it should provide enough information to give you the opportunity to be considered for force work.
Procurement rules and regulations
As a public body, there are regulations at both national and local levels that Thames Valley Police is required to follow when procuring goods, services and works. Further details of the local regulations can be found within the Chief Constable’s Financial Instructions.
The EC Treaty incorporates the free movement of goods and services and prevents discrimination against suppliers on the grounds of nationality. It covers all public sector contracts no matter what their value, within the EU. An EC Procurement Directive backs up the principles of the treaty:
2004/18/EC – Procedures for the award of Public Works Contracts, Public Supply Contracts and Public Service Contracts.
This directive is included in UK law as a number of regulations:
The Public Supply Contracts Regulations 2015
The Public Services Contracts Regulations 1993 S.I.No.3228
The Public Works Contracts Regulations 1991 S.I. No. 2680
The directives and regulations require public bodies to follow detailed procedures for all procurement activities above financial thresholds. The thresholds are reviewed every two years.
A number of new reforms to make public sector procurement more accessible have now been implemented in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015). These reforms include new transparency obligations on all contracting authorities which mean that new public sector opportunities will be available in one place, the contracts finder portal. In addition contract award information relating to the winning contractor will also be available on the contracts finder portal. The threshold for TVP to publish is £50,000.
When the estimated value of a contract is expected to exceed the relevant EU financial threshold it must be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), and rules that promote non-discriminatory and transparent competition must be followed. Note that values are for total contract value (ie for the full value for the term of the contract).
With effect from 1st January 2018 the following thresholds apply:-
Products, Services and Design Contracts £181,302
Works Contracts £4,551,413
Social and other Specific Services £615,278
Full details on thresholds is available on the OJEU portal.
European Procurement Directives specify timescales that must be followed and these are intended to ensure that reasonable time to respond to adverts and prepare submissions is given to interested parties.
A specific Tender Notice must be placed in the supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) to give all suppliers in the EU an equal opportunity to tender. A notice of contract award must be placed in OJEU.
Supplying the Thames Valley Police
Where a purchase need cannot be met from an existing contract, a quotation or “tender” process is undertaken, as follows, in accordance with the Chief Constables Finance Instructions:
Roles and Responsibilities
Up to £10,000
Budget holder Process: The budget holder shall conduct such activity as is prudent to show best value and ensure compliance with Financial Instructions.
>£10,000 - £50,000
Informal Process: The budget holder/ Procurement Professional shall subject the requirement to formal quotations from not less than three competitive sources.
>£50,000 to OJEU Threshold
Formal Process: The requirement shall be subjected to a formal tender process conducted by the Procurement Services Team.
Small and local suppliers
Thames Valley Police are committed to encouraging local suppliers as well as small/medium enterprises (SMEs) to compete for business.
In order to assist SMEs and local suppliers Thames Valley Police aims to:
Publicise its opportunities on the Force Intranet site, Contracts Finder & OJEU
Provide up to date procurement advice and guidance.
Keep tender documents simple and jargon free.
Utilise where possible the division of the contract into smaller lots.
Set realistic timetables.
Encourage suppliers to adopt efficient supply chain management practices.
Encourage suppliers to adopt e-commerce systems that streamline processes, reduce administration time and enable the Force to make payment to suppliers in a timely manner.
Budget holders are to source their requirement seeking the quotations / prices ensuring that they are obtaining full value for money.
>£10,000 to <£50,000
At least three suppliers are requested to quote. Quote must include a specification of the services/goods required and timescales for delivery where possible. This is conducted by the Receipts Procure and Pay section.
Tender (goods, services and works)
The contract notice or advertisement will invite companies to submit tenders and will state what is required from potential bidders. It will also detail the evaluation criteria and weightings to be used. If your organisation would like to be considered for a particular contract you must follow the application instructions detailed in the advertisement.
Tender Evaluation and Contract Award
Submitted bids will be evaluated against the pre-determined criteria. Evaluation will focus on how the proposal will deliver the service quality and the cost. The balance between quality and price will depend upon the particular service area. Thames Valley Police will award the contract on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender.
If the nature of the contract requires your employees’ unescorted access to Thames Valley Police premises or access to sensitive material/systems, they will need to be vetted in accordance with our Non Police Personnel vetting procedures.
Following contract award the Procurement Services team work with the client/contract user to ensure that the contractor performs in accordance with the specification and the terms and conditions of the contract. Effective monitoring procedures are essential to ensuring value for money and will depend on the nature of the goods or services purchased.
We aim to establish a good working relationship with the contractor/supplier and their staff as this provides the opportunity to ensure that the contract requirements incorporated into the contract are enforced.