Small business concordat

This statement of principle is produced to encourage effective trade between the District Council and small and medium-sized businesses.

The Procurement Strategy and its supporting Management Arrangement documents include a commitment to: -

  • The role procurement plays in delivering the Council's objectives and its contribution to the community strategy, workforce issues, diversity and equality and sustainability.
  • How we will encourage a diverse and competitive supply market, including small firms, social enterprises, ethnic minority businesses and voluntary and community sector suppliers.
  • A commitment to ensure that our approach to individual contracts, including large contracts and framework agreements etc, is supported by a sound business case and options appraisal.
  • A commitment that where we decide that the best value option is to aggregate supply or let a longer term contract or framework agreement we will invite bidders to demonstrate their tract record in achieving value for money through effective use of their supply chain.
  • A commitment to consider the role of SME specialist suppliers in delivering elements of larger contracts and framework agreements.

Access to contract opportunities

  • We will publish on our own website, guidance for suppliers on how to do business with the council and details of forthcoming bidding opportunities.
  • We will publish on the website Contracts Finder details of forthcoming bidding opportunities.

Details of our key suppliers

  • We will advertise contracts. We will use a range of publications and other means in order to encourage greater diversity and competition.
  • We will give potential suppliers an opportunity to discuss the procurement in order to understand our requirements and assess their own suitability. Nothing will be done, however, which would give a particular business or provider an unfair advantage in competing for a specific contract.
  • We will work with contractors – both at tender stage and during the life of a contract – to establish the contribution that small firms, ethnic minority businesses, social enterprises and voluntary and community sector suppliers can play in the supply chain.

Fair tender processes

  • We will apply our own rules and policies fairly.
  • At pre-tender stage and during the tender process we will ensure that all tenderers have equal access to relevant information.
  • We will keep the tender process as simple as possible in order to help minimise the costs to suppliers.
  • If a pre-qualification stage is used we will use a Council-wide pre-qualification questionnaire containing common core questions with limited bespoke additions for each contract.
  • We will assess potential suppliers against published pre-qualification and tender evaluation criteria. These criteria will be proportionate to the risks of the individual contract process. In particular the criteria relating to financial standing will not to be set to unreasonably exclude newer businesses.


We will offer meaningful feedback to suppliers following the procurement process in order that suppliers can improve for future tenders.

  • We will seek feedback from suppliers, and their respective trade associations, on our tender processes and address where we can – any problems that are brought to our attention.

Contract management

We will treat suppliers openly and fairly. Suppliers will:

  • Be paid on time. No more than 30 days from receipt of an undisputed invoice.
  • Receive honest and constructive feedback on the supplier's performance of the contract.
  • Be given notice of any performance problems and an opportunity, if appropriate, to put matters right.
  • All contracts will request our suppliers to pay their sub-contractors, throughout the supply chain, within 30 days from receipt of an undisputed invoice.

Supplier commitments

As customers we will make clear to our suppliers, and those wising to do business with us, what is expected of them.

Declaration of support for the Small Business Friendly Concordat

Whilst this concordat is a voluntary non-statutory document the District Council wish to pledge to actively engage with small business and demonstrate our commitment to good procurement practice.

Small and Medium Enterprises Concordat [PDF 48KB]

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