Tender process and documentation

Where necessary, the Council would normally advertise on the basis of the open or restricted procedure.

  • Open process
    Under an open tender procedure all suppliers who respond to an advertisement are supplied with tender documentation which must be returned by no later than the deadline stated. This approach may be used if the market for the particular goods/works/service is very limited.
  • Restricted process
    The restricted procedure is a two stage approach in which the Council invites suppliers to express an interest and is most commonly used to ensure that the tender field is limited because it would not be economic for all parties concerned, if too large a tender field was invited to bid for the work.


If you require more information or help with a tender process please contact the Procurement Team: procurement.team@harlow.gov.uk

Pre-Qualification Questionnaire

The Council normally requires all suppliers to complete a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) detailing information about their financial and economic standing, insurance details and their technical capability. This usually covers information about when your company was formed, what experience you have in providing the goods/services/works being tendered for, details of where the Council may obtain references on your company, and sometimes specific questions relating to the project.

Short-listed suppliers are then invited to tender (normally between 4 and 6 depending on the value of project). To ensure your PQQ is considered, you must:

  • provide all the information requested
  • make sure that you answer all questions accurately
  • return the information by the closing date specified

Tender documents

The tender documents you will receive usually consist of the following as a minimum:

  • Covering letter
  • Instructions and advice to tenderers - this document details important administrative procedures relating to the tender e.g. dates and times, method of tender return, evaluation criteria to be used in the selection of the successful supplier, details of where tender queries should be directed.
  • Specification - this details the Council's requirements and must be read carefully and complied with.
  • Terms and conditions - This document gives details of the terms under which the Council wishes to do business.

Equal opportunities

The Council is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all people irrespective of age, race or ethnic origin, disability, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, religion or belief. The Council is keen to ensure that its suppliers abide by the law and are working to best practice in this area. All suppliers, as part of the pre-qualification or tender process, will be required to provide evidence that they have equal opportunities policies in place and are committed to them.

Environmental policies

The Council is committed to using the resources entrusted to it to ensure best value for money at the least possible cost to the environment. As part of this commitment to the environment, the Council’s procurement policy will, wherever practicable, focus on.

  • Specifying less environmentally damaging products.
  • Promoting greater use of renewable sources.
  • Encouraging suppliers to use environmentally friendly practices throughout the production process.

When applying for certain Council contracts, you may be requested to supply evidence of your practices and procedures as they relate to the environment.

Health and safety

The Council is committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of its employees and that of all others affected by its undertakings. Contracts to supply goods, works or services will only be awarded to suppliers who can satisfy the Council requirements in terms of resources required and their health and safety competence.

Suppliers appointed by the Council are expected to demonstrate compliance with current health and safety legislation including:

  • A commitment to the health and safety of its employees, clients and others
  • Up to date health and safety policies and procedures
  • Adequate risk assessment procedures
  • An adequate system of monitoring and reporting accidents, incidents and ill-health
  • Access to competent health and safety advice
  • Contracts are monitored to ensure compliance with contract standards and health and safety requirements


Electronic commerce is high on Harlow Council’s agenda as we believe it will lead towards better commercial relationships and greater efficiency in the purchase to pay process. E-procurement can be defined in a number of ways and does not necessarily require new or high levels of technology. Suppliers to Harlow will not be required to implement new or expensive systems to continue supplying us.

Procurement Portal

Harlow Council administers a high percentage of its tendering activity via the MyTenders procurement portal. This streamlines the process, ensures a fully auditable record of each procurement exercise and saves costs in paper, postage and staff time.


The e-procurement system Harlow Council has adopted is known as Marketplace. Marketplace enables the full purchasing process to be carried out online, from order creation and authorisation to goods receipting and invoice matching. Marketplace is also able to support electronic catalogues, purchase cards, requests for quotes and spot pricing.