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Doing Business with the Council

The standard terms and conditions for doing business with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council are available to download from the right-hand menu.

The rules and regulations governing our procurement activities are outlined below.

European Union (EU) directives

Advertising rules

If a contract to be tendered exceeds a fixed amount laid down by the EU (eg £181,302.00 for products and services or £4,551,413.00 for works subject to change, £615,278.00 for light touch services and £4,551,413.00 for concessions), it must be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

There are two parts to the advertisement:

  1. Contract notice - a contract notice is effectively the European equivalent of the advertisement that would be placed in the UK press seeking tenders or applicants to a select list of tenderers. It is based on a standard format laid down in the EU procurement directives.
  2. Award notice - within 48 days of an award of a contract (which had a contract notice published in the OJEU), an award notice must be put in the OJEU declaring the name of the successful tenderer.

Full details of our current EU notices and awards are published on the Information system for European public procurement (SIMAP)

Publication of a Prior Indicative Notice [PIN]

As well as the contract notices and awards, each year we put a public notice containing details of contracts that we may be tendering at EU level during that financial year (April to March) in the OJEU. The information is provided as an advance guide to our potential procurement activity. It must be stressed that not all contracts listed will become the subject of an individual formal public notice.

Standards

Suppliers bidding for our work will find that conditions of contract and specifications will incorporate European standards and regulations. British Standards and regulations will only apply where no other international standards and regulations exist.

Internal procedures

Contract Procedure Rules (currently under review)

These rules can be accessed on the Council's website. The key issues included are:

  • Compliance
  • Tendering procedure
  • Exceptions
  • Nominated sub contractors and suppliers
  • Receipt, opening and acceptance of tenders
  • Form and authorisation of contracts
  • Bonds and guarantees
  • Corrupt gifts

Health and Safety Rules for Suppliers and Contractors

We need all suppliers and contractors to have a comprehensive health and safety policy suitable for the needs of the work being undertaken. For some, this will include providing risk assessments and method statements for all work that is to be carried out.

Codes of Conduct

All Council employees must abide by a Code of Conduct. Employees must declare their interests in existing or potential suppliers, and say if the connection is a private, social, domestic or professional one. This also applies to Members (local Councillors) who are also governed by a strict Code of Conduct. The following information is a summary of the common elements in the way we conduct business with suppliers:

Relationships

Councillors and employees must make known in writing all relationships of a business or private nature with existing suppliers or potential suppliers. Orders and contracts must be awarded on merit and no special favour will be shown to businesses in which employees have a financial interest or which are run by, for example, friends, partners or relatives. If they have such an interest they must not be involved in any way in awarding any work or orders.

Personal/business interests

Councillors and employees must declare in writing any financial or non-financial interests that they consider could bring about conflict with their employer's interests. An employee must tell their immediate supervisor in writing if they become aware that their employer is entering a contract in which they have a direct financial interest. This does not apply if they hold a comparatively small number/value of shares in a national company.

Employees must exercise fairness and impartiality when dealing with all customers, suppliers, other contractors and sub-contractors.

Employees becoming privy to confidential information on tenders or costs for either internal or external contractors must not pass it to any unauthorised party or organisation.

Employees must make sure that no special favour is shown to current or recent former employers, employees or their partners, close relatives or associates in awarding contracts to businesses run by them or employing them in a senior or relevant managerial capacity.

Gifts

Councillors and employees must make sure that they (or any other member of their family) do not become involved in any conflict of interest in carrying out their duties. They must not, either directly or indirectly, accept any gift, reward or benefit from any member of the public or any organisation with whom they are brought into contact by reason of their duties other than:

  1. Modest gifts or gifts of a promotional nature, eg calendars, diaries and other similar articles.
  2. Gifts at the end of any courtesy visit to a factory or firm of a sort normally given by that firm.

Any other gifts offered or delivered will be returned with a polite explanation.

Hospitality

Councillors and employees will exercise discretion in offering and accepting modest hospitality. The criteria which determine whether hospitality from suppliers can be accepted include:

  • whether the invitation comes from a supplier likely to benefit from the goodwill of the organisation or from a charity or other organisation that does not have the same interest in the outcome
  • whether the firm is seeking a contract, or one has already been awarded
  • whether the visit is genuinely instructive or constitutes more of a social function
  • the scale and location of hospitality, and whether it falls within working hours
  • the frequency of the hospitality

It is always a matter of judgement and common sense. Suppliers should always think carefully before offering hospitality.

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