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Before considering the purchase of common goods or services we recommend that in the first instance you consider making use of existing framework agreements and contracts available either within your organisation, or managed by other contracting authorities, to help you achieve value for money.
OGC's Contracts Database signposts current and future frameworks and contracts available to public sector purchasers. Search OGC Contracts Database. The following guidance aims to help you where there is no available existing contract or framework agreement to meet your requirements, and you need to start a new procurement via a competitive tendering process.
You must apply the key principles of public procurement. These require the achievement of value for money, including appropriate quality and service to meet business needs, and appropriate governance e.g. adherence to HM Treasury rules concerning the use of public money in procurement. There are also a number of other key procurement policies to consider in your procurement approach including those relating to environmental sustainability and social issues.
Also, remember that Public Sector procurement is governed in the UK by the regulations that implement the EU Procurement Directives. These apply to the majority of procurements with a total value over a specified threshold. They stipulate the procedures to be followed for the procurement process, especially relating to time limits, specifications, advertising, and tendering and contract award. You must adhere to these regulations in all your procurements exceeding the threshold. In determining whether the threshold is likely to be reached you need to aggregate the estimated value of all anticipated separate contracts for goods or services of the same type which meet your requirement. For example, if you intend to purchase 10 units of your required commodities in one month, and 5 additional units in the subsequent month, then it is the total value of the 15 units which will apply. For more information, refer to the "Introduction to the EU Rules (PDF, 288KB) " in particular, section 9, page 5.
For the purposes of this guide, we have illustrated a procurement journey which assumes that the EU procurement rules apply, using the Restricted procedure. You will however need to determine whether or not the EU procurement rules apply for your own requirements, and if so, the correct choice of procedure, on a case by case basis, taking specialist advice where necessary, refer to the "Introduction to EU procurement rules" guidance for more information.