Agenda item

How do we reach the decision to Tender

An introduction to the Commercial activities of Dorset Council. The presentation will describe the tendering process, including how we reach the decision to tender, and the subsequent evaluation and award process.


The Chairman explained that he had asked for this item to be on the agenda in order to explore whether there was scope for the Committee to scrutinise the procurement process or any part of it to ensure it was the best it could be. Any areas identified for future scrutiny could be added to the work programme.


The Committee then received a presentation from the Head of Procurement (Interim) which set out the tendering process, including how the decision to tender was reached, and the subsequent evaluation and award process. 


During the presentation members noted that:-


·      as part of Local Government Reorganisation work had identified ongoing contracts and spend from within the County, District and Borough Councils and checks were still being carried out to ensure that none had been missed;

·      many of the contracts were with Dorset vendors thus supporting local spend;

·      the process took into account the Social Value Act and the desire to grow the Dorset pound, local business and local supply chains;

·      the Procurement Team was centralised and were experts in managing the process;

·      the team carried out contract management and compliance and provided advice on the appropriate procurement process, risk and challenge;

·      the team had a close working relationship with commissioners, who were Directorate based, in order to obtain value for money for the Council and to ensure the right supply route was taken;

·      templates on the commissioning cycle were available to help officers;

·      forward planning was key to ensuring value for money, to identify what would be needed and how this could best be obtained in order to make savings;

·      the contracts database identified contracts for review two years before they were due to renewal;

·      a model was used to identify the criteria for price and quality to be used in the tendering process in order to get the best outcome. This was discussed with business areas and signed off according to the scheme of delegations;

·      the Executive Director - Corporate Development (S151) and the Corporate Director - Legal and Democratic Services ensured any Cabinet reports on procurement would include a business case in order to inform any decision;

·      the Constitution provided exceptions to procedure contract rules;

·      the tender evaluation process needed to demonstrate value for money; and

·      further presentations or workshops could be provided for members in order to increase their knowledge.


The need for the Council to be able to develop the market supply in areas like adult social care was highlighted and identified as a possible item for future scrutiny.  It was explained that joint work between the Council, the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS partners and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council was ongoing to address this.


Attention was also drawn to the importance of transformation for the new Council as part of its strive for savings and that this needed to be reflected in commissioning.


Items identified for possible future scrutiny were: member involvement in the procurement process; the weighting and assumptions used for tendering; and member involvement on lesser spend in local communities.


Members thanked officers for the informative presentation.  A workshop on the Committee's forward plan would be held later that day and the information provided used when topics for future scrutiny were identified.