Glossary

A

Aggregation

A type of procurement where a group of buyers who want the same product or service can combine their orders to get a better price from a supplier. Most commonly used for services like water, gas and electricity, or products like technology products. For more information go to the aggregation page on our website.

Agreement

See commercial agreement.

Assisted service procurement

Buyers can access help to complete their procurement. This is usually through the customer service centre or procurement operations. Buyers are given templates to use, guidance and help with processes.

Awarded

When suppliers are awarded a place on an agreement. This does not guarantee them work, but it does mean they have passed the relevant checks needed to provide products and services on the agreement.

Award notice

An award notice is an announcement of the outcome of a public procurement. A notification is sent to all suppliers informing them that the successful bidder has been selected.

Award selection

The mechanism the buyer will use to choose a supplier.

B

Below threshold

Procurements that are below the public procurement thresholds set out in Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

Bid

A bid is a supplier’s response to a Request for Proposal (RfP). A bid includes the supplier’s full submission including price and responses to quality questions. It may include other information such as, availability, delivery schedule, detailed product/service specification, capability and examples of previous experience that help the supplier to meet the requirements outlined in the RfP. Can also be referred to as a tender or an offer.

Bid pack

These documents are sent from buyers to suppliers to outline their procurement needs. Suppliers fill in the bid pack which is then evaluated by the buyer to decide who can provide the best goods/services.
These documents may include:

  • background information about the procurement
  • specification (see below)
  • supplier instructions
  • deliverables/requirements
  • standards and processes, for instance regulatory/compliance
  • key performance indicators
  • order forms/call-off schedule (see below)

Bidder

A potential supplier who makes an offer (a bid is an offer or tender). Tenderer is also used.

Bid evaluation

The process of checking a potential supplier’s responses to pre-defined criteria to see if they meet the buyer’s requirements.

Buyer

Another term used for user, customer or contracting authority.

Note: ‘buyer’ does not need a capital ‘b’ unless at the beginning of a sentence.

C

Call-off contract

A contract between a buyer and a supplier for the provision of goods or services. Call-off contracts can be awarded to a supplier directly, or after a further competition (see definition of ‘further competition’ below).

Call-off schedule

A schedule that states what amounts of products are to be delivered and on what dates.

Capability assessment

A series of questions that helps the buyer identify the most suitable supplier for their needs.

Clarification period

The formal exchange of required information between buyers, suppliers and CCS throughout the procurement process, used to create a comprehensive audit trail.

Commercial Agreement Manager (CAM)

The person who manages the commercial agreement.

Commercial agreement

A commercial agreement is a compliant way to buy products or services from suppliers who have applied to be on the agreement, and have been vetted to show they can supply the products and services listed.

Commercial agreements are sorted into 4 pillars:

  • Corporate Solutions
  • Buildings
  • People
  • Technology

In each pillar are categories that contain more specific groups. In each category there are a number of commercial agreements.

A standard commercial agreement contains lots that further split the agreement into specific parts for buyers to choose from. They can choose to buy from multiple lots or an individual lot. There are different ways to buy from a commercial agreement (see direct award and further competition).

Commercial agreements can also be set up as Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) (see DPS for more information), or G-Cloud and Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) agreements, which are run slightly differently to ‘regular’ agreements.

Each commercial agreement has its own set of terms and conditions, schedules and order forms. It may also contain further information where an agreement offers more complex goods and services.

Competitive dialogue

A discussion between the buyer and potential supplier about the agreement, for instance the service requirements.

See also ‘competitive procedure with negotiation’.

Competitive procedure with negotiation

A discussion between the buyer and potential supplier with the aim of improving the tender.

Concession

A type of negotiated contract that gives the supplier the right to do business in a specific way. For instance a concession might allow a company outside of the UK to do business with the UK public sector.

Competition

A competitive bidding process where the buyer receives and evaluates bids from companies before choosing them to be a supplier.

Catalogue

A document that provides information on products and services offered by a supplier.

Contract

A legally enforceable agreement between 2 or more competent parties (usually supplier and buyer). It will define the goods and services that will be provided.

Contract award

The point where the successful potential supplier is officially awarded the contract to supply goods and/or services.

Contract notice

A notification to let the market know about a new procurement opportunity. Part of ‘Contracts Finder’ see below.

Contracts Finder

Contracts Finder is an online catalogue where suppliers can search for information about contracts with the UK government and its agencies worth over £10,000.

Contracting process

All the planning, tendering information, awards, contracts and contract implementation information related to a tender, a direct contract award, or a call to award a concession.

D

Direct call-off

The act of placing an order under an agreement without running a further competition.

Down select supplier list

A process used to narrow down a list of suppliers so that they can be included in the shortlist before further steps are taken in the buying journey. This is not a standard feature of all commercial agreements.

Direct award

Where there is only one supplier on the framework, or if there is an option for direct award in the framework guidance notes, you can place an order directly with the supplier. Check the framework and its guidance notes to see if direct award is possible and, if so, how to proceed.

Further information

Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS)

A Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) is an electronic tool that is used to purchase goods and services that are commonly used by the buyer and easy to find on the market. It’s similar to a framework but has the functionality to add new suppliers at any time and is 100% electronic.

E

Evaluation

The evaluation of a potential supplier’s pricing to identify the one that has made the best value offer.

Evaluation criteria

The criteria used to evaluate the supplier’s response and provide a score.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

It provides buyers the capability of seeking an indication of interest from potential suppliers who are capable of providing the required goods or services, based on a set of high level requirements outlined by the buyer.

An Expression of Interest (EOI) allows a buyer to find out if suppliers are interested in bidding for their project, and can offer the products or services needed. If a supplier does not respond to an EoI sent from the buyer, they cannot bid for the opportunity later.

EOI supplier shortlisting

Allows buyers to reduce the number of suppliers they send their EOI to, suppliers should only be excluded if they cannot meet the buyer’s needs in terms of location and service type.

EOI Offline Documents

Provides buyers with the capability of uploading documents that state their basic requirements or additional information that would allow suppliers to decide if this is a procurement they are interested in sourcing.

eSourcing

The electronic procurement of products or services using Internet-enabled applications and decision support tools. These tools facilitate interactions between buyers and suppliers through the use of online negotiations, online auctions, reverse auctions, and so on.

Note: always spelt eSourcing

F

Further competition

Once you have selected the CCS framework that meets your requirements you can ask the suppliers listed to bid, a process called a ‘further competition’. This may be run under any CCS framework which has multiple suppliers. Generally in public procurement further competition is the preferred route to market because it offers a fair and open competition.

One stage further competition:You will need to invite all suppliers to bid for your opportunity and assess all bids that are submitted.

Two stage further competition: You can shortlist the suppliers to find the ones most suitable for your procurement using a capability assessment tool.

Only the suppliers on the shortlist will be invited to bid for your opportunity.

Framework agreement

See commercial agreement.

Framework schedules

Framework schedules are a set of contractual documents, which a supplier agrees to, before they are added to an agreement to supply products and services.

G

GCF

Government Commercial Function.

GCO

Government Commercial Organisation.

I

Invitation to tender

Document inviting potential suppliers to quote for business. Also known as a bid pack.

Issue contract

Distribute the finalised agreement to the supplier.

L

Lot

Commercial agreements can be divided into lots by product or service type. Which lot you use could depend on what you need, who are you buying for or your budget. For example, some lots maybe better for educational institutions with a budget of under £1 million. Sometimes the lot you use will also determine the way you buy.

Low value purchase system

The Low Value Purchase System enables buyers to purchase low cost, low value goods and services from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) suppliers.

M

Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT)

The Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) is a method of assessment that can be used as the selection procedure, allowing the buyer to award the contract based on aspects of the tender other than just the price.

O

Open (or open procedure)

An open procedure is a one stage procurement process that covers exclusion grounds, selection criteria and award criteria. An open procedure means that any potential supplier can respond to the contract notice, request or download the procurement documents and submit a tender. All tenders must be evaluated in line with the methodology and criteria set out in the procurement documents.

P

Pre-market engagement

A customer can ask suppliers questions about their procurement project so they can get a better understanding of what the market offers and current trends/innovations without entering into a contract. This helps customers to refine the procurement project and they can also find out if suppliers would be interested in their project.

There are 2 methods of pre-market engagement:

  • Request for Information (RfI)
  • Expression of Interest (EoI)

See ‘Expression of Interest’ and ‘Request for Information’ for more details about the specific types of pre-market engagement.

Procurement specification

A document that presents potential suppliers with a clear, accurate and full description of the organisation’s needs and enables them to propose a solution to meet those needs. This is usually part of a bid pack

Product

A product is an item you can buy, such as a laptop. It’s a one-off purchase and involves no ongoing contract.

Product and a service

Buy a product and a service. Some contracts may involve hiring a product as part of that service.

Post award

Provides customers the ability to access their previously awarded contracts extensions and terminations.

Post award would also include customers publishing the awarded contract to contract finder.

Pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ)

A document sent to potential suppliers asking for information necessary to support their qualification as an approved supplier.

When a buyer is looking to procure a supplier for a certain contract, they need to evaluate the potential companies on particular criteria. The initial stage in this process is known as the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), which typically comes before an Invitation to Tender. It acts as a sieving or pre-selection process to remove from the whole tendering process any companies that are not suitable to go forward.

Source

R

Record award decision

Documentation of the result of the procurement activity including any resulting buying outcome.

Refine supplier/service list

The review of applicable suppliers/services within Frameworks to determine those to include in the procurement activity. However, this is not a standard feature within all commercial agreements.

Request for Information (RfI)

A Request for Information can be used when a buyer/customer is looking for input into developing their user requirements and are seeking input from the marketplace.

This may be due to:

  • how detailed the specification for the lot is – on some agreements it is likely that a RFI would be required as the specification is very high level, while on others it may never be required
  • the customer if they are unsure of the appropriate delivery model and seek input from the marketplace.

Restricted (or restricted procedure)

The restricted procedure is a two-stage process:

Stage 1 (selection) – suppliers are alerted to express an interest in a contract opportunity by obtaining and submitting a selection questionnaire; this will be used to establish their capability, experience and suitability and so on. The purpose of the questionnaire is to select a shortlist of 5 (or more) suppliers which are likely to meet the tender requirements.

Stage 2 (award) – shortlisted suppliers which meet the selection criteria are then invited to tender. All tenders are evaluated in line with the methodology and award criteria set out in the tender documentation.

Review supplier/service offer

The review of suppliers’ proposal to identify the supplier that best meets the buying requirement.

RFx

Generic term for an event put out to the market. There are several types:

  • EOI : Expression of Interest
  • RFI: Request for Information
  • RFP: Request for Proposal

Not all three need to be run but a buyer can choose to run any number of RFx events within a Procurement Case to elicit the information and cost surrounding a bid. This must however be done compliantly which means a user cannot keep running until their preferred supplier is the only remaining.

Request for information

A Request for Information can be made when a buyer/customer is looking for input into developing their user requirements and are seeking input from the marketplace.

Example: If the customer is unsure of the appropriate delivery model and seeks input from the marketplace.

Request for proposal (RFP)

It provides buyers the capability to invite potential suppliers to submit a business proposal, through a bidding process, for the supply of a commodity, service, or asset. This is sometimes also known as either an Invitation to Tender (ITT), a Request for Quotation (RFQ) or a Request for Tender (RFT).

RFP supplier shortlisting

It provides buyers the capability of shortlisting (reducing) the number of potential suppliers to submit a business proposal, through a bidding process, for the supply of a commodity, service, or asset. Suppliers should only be excluded if they cannot meet the buyer’s needs in terms of location and service type.

RFP - direct award

Where there is only one supplier on the framework, or if there is an option for the direct award in the commercial agreement guidance notes, you can place an order directly with the supplier. RFP direct award allows buyers to select a single supplier in which they would like to engage with to receive their proposal before progressing to the contract award.

If there are multiple suppliers who can meet the buyer’s needs, direct award can only be awarded if cost is the only factor.

RFP - further competition

It provides buyers the capability to invite potential suppliers to submit a business proposal, through a bidding process, for the supply of a commodity, service, or asset. RFP Further competition is where customers want to engage with multiple suppliers so they can see each supplier’s proposal and pricing before making a decision on who to award the contract too.

RFP offline documents

It provides buyers the capability of uploading offline documents that state their detailed requirements or additional information which would then allow and help suppliers to publish their proposal for the customer’s review.

Route to market

All commercial agreements and lots must define their route to market.

S

Schedule of rates

An itemised list of component parts within a lump-sum contract, or a list of individual products, giving a price for each unit.

Selection questionnaire

Supplier selection is a key stage in public procurement where you gather information on and make assessments of the prospective bidders’ credentials, before considering tenders.

The standard selection questionnaire (SQ) asks potential suppliers to initially just self-declare their status against the exclusion grounds and selection questions.Usually you will only check the status of the winning supplier. The standard SQ is structured in 3 separate parts:

  1. covers the basic information about the supplier, such as the contact details, trade memberships, details of parent companies, group bidding and so on.
  2. covers a self-declaration regarding whether or not any of the exclusion grounds apply.
  3. covers a self-declaration regarding whether or not any of the exclusion grounds apply.

The standard SQ has been developed to simplify the supplier selection process for businesses, in particular smaller firms, across the public sector.

Source

Service

A service is a contract for something to happen, either once or on a regular basis.

Service assurance

This relates specifically to G-Cloud 13. This is to assure the platform that the performance is assured to accommodate the suppliers application process, the 38k+ agreements, prevent rogue services added by suppliers in live and so on.

Sign contract

Buyer and supplier approval of the finalised contractual agreement.

SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises (business of less than 250 employees).

Supplier

Organisation that supplies the goods and/or services that a customer wants.

Suppliers can be large organisations or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs).

Note: can be referred to as a bidder or tenderer. Supplier is the only term that should be used.

Supplier due diligence

The process of researching a prospective supplier before agreeing a transaction or contract.

Supplier ranking

A priority order of suppliers that can be used for sourcing.

T

Tender

A request from a buying organisation to invite suppliers to formally quote for the provision of goods/services outlined in a procurement requirement.

V

VCSE

Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise.

These are organisations, whose purpose is built around the creation of social value, or whose profits are used to provide benefits to local communities.

View choose details

Review the results of the search against high-level needs including commercial agreement/lot and procurement route.

View relevant documentation/schedules

Review of any associated commercial agreement, lot and/or associated supplier information to inform the procurement activity.

W

Wider Public Sector (WPS)

Wider public sector, including local government, health and education, and third sector (charities).