5 Standard Procurement Procedures Explained

27th June 2022

Everything you need to know about standard procurement procedures in the UK

Are you curious about the standard procurement procedures in the UK? Are you completely new to procurement and want to learn more? Perhaps you have procurement experience but need help choosing a procedure for your organisation. No matter your level of experience, Hudson Procure are here to help!

In this blog, we’ll go through five standard procurement procedures in the UK. Keep reading to find out what they are and how they could work for your organisation!

What are standard procurement procedures in the UK?  

  • Open tendering procedure
  • Restricted procedure
  • Competitive dialogue
  • Negotiated procedure with prior publication
  • Negotiation procedure without prior publication.

Here’s an in-depth look at the standard procurement procedures in the UK:  

  • Open tendering procedure

First in our list of standard procurement procedures is open tendering. This is generally used when there are many suppliers who could meet the needs of the contract.

With an open tendering procedure, there is no separate selection stage (explained in more detail below). All interested bidders will have access to the invitation to tender (ITT). In this document, buyers will include questions for the prospective suppliers to answer. With this procedure, all suppliers are eligible to submit a tender response, outlining their suitability for the contract.

While this procurement procedure is standard in the UK, it can also be inefficient for buyers. This is because the buyer is likely to receive a large number of tenders and evaluating these can be time-consuming.

  • Restricted procedure

One of the most common standard procurement procedures is the restricted procedure. This procedure should be used in cases where many suppliers could fulfil the needs of the contract.

Typically, a restricted procedure would be executed in two stages. Initially, the buyer would shortlist interested suppliers with a selection process. This could take the form of a selection questionnaire (SQ) or pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ). With these documents, buyers can find out more about the supplier, including their qualifications, experience and capabilities.

Once this process is complete, the buyer can issue an ITT to eligible businesses. Then, suppliers can respond to the ITT with detailed quality responses, outlining their suitability for the project.

At the end of this process, the buyer will award the contract to the supplier offering the most value. 

  • Competitive dialogue 

Another of the UK’s standard procurement procedures is competitive dialogue. This process gives potential suppliers the flexibility to negotiate solutions with the buyer. Typically, this procurement process will be used when:

  • Projects are highly complex and greater flexibility is needed
  • Buyers are procuring for innovative projects
  • Buyers are unable to specify their exact requirements
  • Other procedures won’t deliver the expected outcomes.

When buyers use competitive dialogue, they’re required to justify their chosen standard procurement procedures.

  • Competitive procedure with negotiation 

With this procedure, buyers can clarify details of each bid with the supplier after the submission deadline has passed. This procedure should be used when the buyer is unable to explain or specify their needs.

For example, this procedure is commonly used when:

  • The goods or services require adaptation or design inputs
  • The goods or services are complex, including sophisticated products, intellectual services, or major information and communication technology tools.

This procurement procedure shouldn’t be used for contracts where many suppliers can deliver the services or products. Instead, it is better suited for contracts that require solutions or further input from suppliers. 

  • Negotiated procedure without prior publication

Finally, to end our list of standard procurement procedures, let’s look at the negotiated procedure without prior publication.

It’s important to note that this procedure should only be used in exceptional circumstances. These include:

  • The buyer receives no bids during the initial procurement activity
  • None of the bids are relevant to the contract
  • The contract requires specialist services
  • Reasons of extreme urgency.

Similar to competitive dialogue, buyers need to justify using this procurement procedure. For example, to use this procedure, you would need to explain why there are no reasonable alternatives.

In summary

There are many different procurement procedures that buyers can use, depending on the circumstances around the contract. However, standard procurement procedures in the UK include:

  • Open tendering procedure
  • Restricted procedure
  • Competitive dialogue
  • Competitive procedure with negotiation
  • Negotiated procedure without prior publication.

Before you continue with any procurement activity, you need to figure out which procurement procedure is right for your organisation. But what if you need help with choosing the right procedure for your needs? 

How can Hudson Procure help? 

Procure Consult  

With Procure Consult, we offer support with tender management and ad-hoc procurement consultancy. Our expert team will manage the end-to-end procurement process or offer assistance with any stage, as and when required.

Procure Health Check 

With Procure Health Check, we’ll conduct a full review of the strategic and operational procurement processes within your organisation. We’ll identify the areas that need improvement and help you drive greater value from the procurement process.

Procure Analyse 

The purpose of Procure Analyse is to conduct a high-level analysis of your spending activity. We’ll help you understand your current strategic purchasing behaviour and highlight areas that can deliver greater value. Procure Analyse is also offered as part of Procure Health Check or as a standalone service. 

Procure Outsourcing  

With Procure Outsourcing, we deliver a range of procurement solutions on an outsourced basis, completely bespoke to you. This can range from delivering multiple tender projects as a package to delivering the full procurement function of your organisation. 

Procure Post 

Are you trying to find a supplier for your project? Post your tendering opportunity onto any of our 11 sector-specific portals for FREE with Procure Post!

Housed by our sister company, Hudson Discover, our portals host thousands of tendering opportunities for organisations of all sizesFor an additional cost, we’ll even help you identify your requirements and find the most suitable suppliers for your business.

Get in touch for a consultation and find out how we can help your business drive better value from procurement.

Check out our other blogs for further Procurement Insights:

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