Supply contract opportunities

How the Met Office operates – procuring goods, services and works

The Met Office buys a wide range of products and services. These include observational equipment, IT hardware and software, industrial gases, workshop facilities and training services.

Our Sustainable Procurement policy (PDF, 86 kB)

Met Office eTendering Portal

Visit our eTendering portal for all Met Office tender activities; please use the appropriate link below.

First-time user registration

Existing supplier login

Latest tender opportunity search

The Met Office will be using the portal for all its tenders, the system allows suppliers to search for opportunities, make expressions of interest and download tender documents instantaneously.

Recently awarded contracts

A list of recently awarded contracts is available via the above eTendering Portal.

Headquarters building, Exeter

All facilities management services for our HQ building in Exeter are provided by G4S.

For example:

  • building and plant and grounds maintenance
  • catering, cleaning
  • conference and events management
  • mail handling and stationery
  • reception
  • sports and leisure

For more information, please contact G4S by e-mail: peter.tierney@uk.g4s.com.

The process

There are a number of methods used by the Met Office to purchase products or services. The method used depends on the contract value, type of product/service, complexity and duration.

Low-value purchases (current threshold <£20,000)

A simple purchase order form with terms and conditions printed on the reverse. Suppliers are usually approached for a quotation (without commitment) prior to order placement. Different conditions apply for services, goods and works.

Government Procurement Card

The Procurement team and selected key purchasers throughout the organisation hold Government Procurement Visa Cards. The cards are primarily used for e-commerce but can be used for other types of purchase, e.g. booking training courses. A VAT invoice is required unless the supplier is VAT-enabled.

Government catalogues

The Met Office takes full advantage of Government-negotiated agreements, and places contracts through Catalist, and OGCbuying.solutions.

Framework agreements

A framework agreement is an arrangement where terms and conditions and often pricing are agreed with a supplier for a set period, which then allows orders to be placed quickly without a full tender being completed. A tender exercise is undertaken to set the Framework up in the first instance.

Standard contracts

Contracts are set up following either desktop competition (a number of quotations obtained via fax or e-mail); single tender (only in exceptional circumstances) or a full competitive tender exercise. All contracts between £20,000 and £90,000 (budgetary estimate) are awarded using one of these routes.

EU Procurement Directives

The Met Office must observe the requirements laid down under the European Union Procurement Directives for all potential contracts over £90,000 (budgetary estimate). This involves placing an advert in the European Journal inviting Expressions of Interest. All requirements placed in the European Journal are also published on the Met Office eTendering portal. More information is available at OJEC.com.

Competitive tender

It is widely acknowledged in the public sector that the best way to obtain 'value for money' is via competition. There is a common misconception that 'value for money' equates to 'the cheapest'. The Met Office looks for quality of products and services, as well as competitive prices.

Ideally four or more companies are invited to tender for work. The tender document usually comprises:

  • terms of reference for public sector tendering and how tenders must be submitted
  • a specification/statement of requirement
  • pricing document/matrix
  • conditions of Contract
  • key contacts and addresses

More about how the government buys — frequent questions

Suppliers

The Met Office does not retain a list of preferred suppliers. Specialists throughout the Met Office suggest suppliers using:

  • recommendations from other public sector/international organisations
  • specialist publications/journals
  • exhibitions
  • precedent purchases
  • direct approaches and introductions

The Met Office holds ISO 9001-2000 accreditation and, wherever practical, requires that its suppliers also hold such accreditation.

The Met Office also holds ISO 14001-2004 and will increasingly look for environmentally aware suppliers.

The Met Office's procurement team works with staff to:

  • provide expert advice on purchasing strategy
  • review legal issues surrounding contracts
  • ensure compliance with all EU and English legislation
  • implement best practice as required by the Office of Government Commerce
  • ensure the fair and equitable treatment of suppliers
  • prepare all necessary tender and contract documentation
  • ensure that value for money is obtained
  • highlight 'whole life' and environmental issues and areas of risk

Note: 'whole life' can be defined as the total cost of owning a product; from its purchase, running costs and maintenance, to ultimate disposal.

Prompt payment of suppliers

The Met Office aims to reduce invoice payment times to 10 working days. All valid goods and services invoices received are passed for payment as soon as they have been authorised by Met Office officials responsible for the contract. We are applying this policy to all UK-based suppliers of goods and services but will not be changing our existing contractual terms and conditions.

The Met Office has also signed up to the UK Government’s Prompt Payment Code and in embracing the concept of collaborative working, as part of our agreement with them, suppliers are strongly encouraged to adhere to the principles of the code and pass on the faster-payment terms to their own suppliers.

How to submit an invoice

To help the Met Office meet its aim to reduce invoice payment times to 10 working days please follow this simple guide to submitting a valid invoice.
Please ensure your invoices always:

  • include clear reference to a Met Office Purchase Order number
  • clearly describe the goods or services provided
  • comply with UK VAT rules (where appropriate) – see HMRC guidance
  • have the correct address

Purchase Ledger
Alexandria 1
Met Office
FitzRoy Road
Exeter
EX1 3PB

We recommend that all invoices are e-mailed directly to purchaseledger@metoffice.gov.uk as this will enable more efficient, and therefore prompter, processing of your payment.

Measuring prompt payment

Note that we measure payment within 10 working days starting from the day on which our Purchase Ledger team receives a valid invoice. The time to pay ends when the money, paid by either BACS or CHAPS, is received in the supplier’s bank account. The Met Office no longer pays suppliers by cheque.

Complaints

If you have any complaints regarding our handling of supplier invoices please submit them in writing, with a copy of the invoice(s) concerned, to:

The Treasurer
Alexandria 1
Met Office
FitzRoy Road
Exeter
EX1 3PB

Contact us

For invoice-specific queries email us at purchaseledger@metoffice.gov.uk

For general procurement queries email us at procurement.enquiries@metoffice.gov.uk