Tail Spend Solution

Provides public sector organisations with products classified as tail spend. These are products that are often low volume and low value which organisations usually buy to meet a specific, short term need and are unlikely to buy again or in the near future. 


03/11/2023: We have made amendments to this agreement’s performance indicators (PI’s) to offer you greater value based on lessons we have learnt. You can find a link to a the new PI’s in the documents section at the bottom of this page.

02/11/2023: Use our new benefits calculator to find out how much your organisation could save through our Tail Spend Solutions.

10/10/2023: We have extended this agreement by 3 months. The new end date is 25 January 2026.

03/04/2023: We have worked with Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to put in place a new category area within the Tail Spend Solution digital platforms. Vaping Solutions will help you to buy suitable products to support stop smoking initiatives.

You can activate the category as part of your account setup. For more information you can contact the platform providers directly or our customer service centre.

26/01/23: We’ve made a change to our agreement. The call-off contract now includes a clustering schedule.

17/01/23: Watch our animation to help you manage tail spend

04/11/22: Watch our introduction to Tail Spend webinar


Tail spend (sometimes referred to as ‘tailspend’) purchases are often not visible until it appears in an organisation’s end of year accounts and can cause significant budget pressures if not controlled. These purchases are usually made by members of staff outside of an organisation’s more formal procurement practices. An organisations ‘tail’ is also known as the 20% of spend that typically goes unmanaged within an organisation.

Examples of tail spend can include:

  • schools buying stationery for a specific, short term need
  • a local authority buying camera equipment and accessories that they are unlikely to buy again or in the near future

This agreement will give your organisation the ability to control your tail spend by providing you with an end-to-end management service. This includes:

  • the digital buying platform (which allows you to filter by social value criteria such as vendor SME status and provides the ability to include permissions into the customers approval process)
  • managing the supply chain of tail spend products from procurement to payment
  • logistics: such as storing and distributing products
  • buyer registrations for your organisation
  • support and management information to help you report on spend

There are two suppliers on this agreement, Unite (Mercateo UK limited) and OT Group limited. Each supplier has their own buying platform which will provide you with a digital solution for controlling your tail spend. 

Both platforms provide:

  • a simple user experience that is compliant with government buying standards
  • an extensive range of products
  • a dynamic and pre-qualified supply base which will change with market demands

As part of the buying platform, you can decide what level of approval a buyer in your organisation has. You have the option to set permissions and organise your user accounts by category or product and through personalised approval levels. You can change the features of your user accounts based on criteria such as:

  • availability of product categories
  • availability of specific products
  • approval levels
  • spend limits
  • area of business
  • multiple delivery points
  • job title or grade of staff members
  • social value initiatives, for example: SME vendors, Carbon Net Zero and buying local

All public sector organisations can use this agreement and it has a maximum contract length of 4 years, plus the period of your implementation where appropriate. 

For more information about this process, you should read the customer guide.

Pay for these services using your procurement card and increase rebate earning potential for your organisation.  If you do not have a procurement card, you can set one up using RM6248 Payment Solutions 2.


  • free: there is no charge to buyers for using this agreement
  • fast and convenient: the buying platforms provide a streamlined route for buyers to access a broad range of products through direct award
    • if a product is unavailable, your selected supplier will source the items for you within 30 days
    • if the desired product is not in the scope of the tail spend solution, we will direct you to another live CCS agreement to source the products 
  • social value focus: filter your product searches based on social value criteria such as vendor locations and sustainable products
  • social value reporting: suppliers will ensure that self-serve reports are available to CCS and buyers
    • the reports will detail the value of transactions made through the tail spend solution providing social value elements
    • the reports will show the transaction value in pound sterling (GBP £)
  • competitive and dynamic pricing: access flexible product prices based on current market demands
    • we test our prices through basket testing to provide you with value for money and commercial benefits
    • basket testing refers to the process where we test the prices of a basket of items (taken from our digital buying platforms) against the market, to make sure the prices quoted are beneficial to you
  • efficiency savings: this solution pulls product searches together in one place reducing the time your organisation spends shopping for multiple quotes, leaving you with more time to focus on other priorities
  • provides a ‘marketplace’ style solution through our digital buying platforms that will allow you to alter your demands to support the needs of your organisation
  • customer support: suppliers will be able to answer any questions you may have through a single point of contact
  • compliant with Government Buying Standards: this is a contract requirement and vendors will be credit checked using HMRC data services
    • these data services will conform to the government vendor code of conduct and will help to make sure there is equal and transparent opportunity for all vendors
  • provides for the specific needs of a wide range of buyers across the wider public sector
  • consolidation and transparency of data: you will have the ability to see what your organisation is spending in their ‘tail’ and analyse and understand it, allowing you to make more effective decisions and achieve better savings
  • financial reporting of public spend

Carbon Reduction

All suppliers for this agreement have committed to comply with the Procurement Policy Note 06/21: 'Taking account of Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major government contracts' as required. If a supplier is required to publish a carbon reduction plan, you can find it on their individual supplier details page.

Products and suppliers

There are 2 suppliers on this agreement

Lot 1: Tail Spend Solution
The Tail Spend Solution will complement our existing CCS agreements instead of replacing them. Through this agreement you can buy products including, but not limited to:

  • electrical items such as mini-solar panels, electric paper shredders and plug socket extensions

  • kitchen appliances (white goods) such as microwaves and fridges

  • kitchen cupboards and shelving units

  • catering supplies such as coffee, tea, napkins, serving trays, utensils and disposable cutlery

  • cleaning equipment such as wet wipes, hand wash dispensers and refills, and sweeping brushes

  • computer accessories such as keyboards, extension leads, USB phone chargers, bluetooth headphones, adjustable laptop stands and HDMI cables

  • shipping and packaging equipment such as bubble wrap, storage boxes, packaging tape and packaging tape dispensers

  • workwear and non-clinical PPE such as knee pads, waders, high-vis clothing, aprons and identification armbands 

  • sports and outdoor equipment such as poolside volleyballs, tennis balls, ping pong balls, small football goals, bicycle pumps and brake and chain cleaner

  • professional tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, sockets and power tools

  • a broad and evolving range of other non-safety critical products such as winter driving kits, compressed gas, two ply tissue refill and travel pillows


2 suppliers

How to buy

Before you can access a buying platform, you will need to decide which supplier solution is the best option for your organisation and award a contract to that supplier.

Test both buying platforms

Having trouble deciding which solution to use? We have 2 test accounts available so you can try both buying platforms before choosing a solution. Use the information below to sign into the test accounts.

OT Group

OT Groups demonstration website: otsmartpad.co.uk

Username: ccsdemo@ccs.uk

Password: ccSDemo987


Unites demonstration website: www.mercateo.co.uk

Username: ccsuk_demo

Password: Start123!

Once you have chosen your supplier and awarded them a call-off contract, you can then register to fully access their buying platform and use it to buy the products you need, when you need them.

Before buying from this agreement, we recommend you read our customer journey decision tree.

Direct award

Direct award should only be used when you are certain that one solution meets your needs more than the other. Check your organisation’s policy to make sure that direct award is a compliant route.

Before placing a direct award you must read our direct award guide. This document includes important information which will help you to:

  • decide if direct award is the best option for you
  • complete your call off contract

To place a direct award you will need to:

  1. identify your needs and award criteria before reviewing the supplier solutions
  2. review both solutions
    1. to help you make your decision, you can ask the suppliers questions or invite them to provide a demonstration 
  3. evaluate the solutions by taking into consideration the importance of all your needs
    1. for transparency, you should follow your internal processes and document your evaluation
  4. award to your chosen supplier
    1. you will need to complete the direct award template and send to the supplier
    2. you should only do this after you have undertaken any internal processes to authorise the award
    3. you will then work with your awarded supplier to complete the call-off contract to formalise the agreement

Further competition

Further competition should be used when your needs are more complex, or you need more information (for example, integration needs or requirements for niche product types), or your organisation doesn’t allow for direct award.

Before running a further competition you must read our further competition guide. This document includes important information which will help you to:

  • decide if further competition is the best option for you
  • complete your call off contract

To run a further competition you should:

  1. identify your needs and award criteria by creating a detailed specification
  2. set your evaluation criteria: the agreement terms allow submissions to be scored on quality and price
  3. issue further competition and complete your further competition documents
  4. evaluate responses once the deadline has passed
    1. you should follow the evaluation criteria specified within the Invitation to Tender
  5. award to the successful supplier once you have identified the solution which best fits your evaluation criteria
    1. you must inform both suppliers of the outcome with your reasoning by email or letter
    2. when the award is confirmed you will need to work with the supplier to complete a call off contract
    3. you should also agree on an implementation plan and begin the buying portal on-boarding process

For further information or support, email the team.

Pay for these services using your procurement card and increase rebate earning potential for your organisation.  If you do not have a procurement card, you can set one up using RM6248 Payment Solutions 2.