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Procurement and Selling to the Council

Cornwall Council spent £498 million during the 2013/14 financial year on a diverse range of goods, works and services from 6,842 external suppliers.

The Council purchases everything from pencils to social care to waste management and the approach taken to this spending has a significant impact on the community and our own resources.


Naturally many organisations will want to sell goods, works and services to Cornwall Council. To help suppliers tender for this work we have launched the Cornwall Supplier Development Programme (CSDP). The CSDP aims to support businesses in becoming ‘tender ready’ and in reaching the standards required to engage in the public sector procurement process, consequently increasing their competitiveness.

The CSDP consists of a number of resources including a 'Selling to the Council Guide' and sample tender documents as well as details of upcoming events and procurement opportunities.

Q. How do I become a ‘preferred supplier/approved supplier’ to Cornwall Council?

A. Cornwall Council does not hold lists of ‘preferred’ or ‘approved’ suppliers. Please see the next question regarding supplying goods/works/services to Cornwall Council.

Q. I’d like to sell goods/works/services to Cornwall Council. Who should I contact?

A. Potential suppliers should check local and national newspapers and trade journals for advertisements of contracts and standing lists/term tenders on a regular basis.

Details of forthcoming contracts appear on the Tenders in Cornwall website. Further information and guidance on using the Tenders in Cornwall website is available from Cornwall Enterprise on 0800 052 3942. If you are interested in potential supply opportunities with Cornwall Council please register with Tenders in Cornwall. There is no charge for registering and suppliers are automatically emailed when an appropriate tender is posted

In addition you can register with the Contracts Finder website and contracts over the EU thresholds are advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Potential contractors/suppliers should review the official EU website regularly to obtain details of forthcoming opportunities at the Tenders Electronic Daily website.

Q. I’d like to know what contracts the Council holds for the provision of XX, and the values/expiry dates of these contracts.

A. An Excel spreadsheet of current contracts over £10,000 held by the Council can be downloaded.  

Q. I’d like to learn more about selling to the Council.

A. We have produced a simple guide for suppliers which explains the key information that potential suppliers need to know in order to prepare them to supply the Council. This 'Selling to the Council Guide' is the best starting point to help understand Cornwall Council’s procurement procedures. We also have a ‘PQQ Guide for Suppliers’ and ‘ITT Guide for Suppliers’ plus additional information available. Please also consider using the Cornwall Supplier Development Programme (CSDP) pages to further your knowledge and understanding of supplying to the Council.

Q. We would like to send a representative to meet with your team to show you what we can offer.

A. As a general rule we would not look to meet supplier representatives from “cold call” approaches. Therefore, except in very exceptional circumstances, we regret that we cannot meet with company representatives.  Again we would look to suppliers to register on the Tenders in Cornwall/Contract Finder websites.

For information on the Council’s responsible procurement practices including our guidance for suppliers under the following strands:

  • Environmental sustainability and carbon management
  • Equality and diversity
  • Safeguarding
  • Ethical sourcing
  • SME engagement
  • Health and safety

Please visit our responsible procurement page.

Cornwall Council is offering small and medium enterprise suppliers preferred payment terms. Please see the 'Preferred Payment Application Form' for more details. 

If you are a Small Medium Enterprise (SME) you have the opportunity to register with the National Programme for SMEs, which is intended to help you have more opportunities to grow and win more business.  More information can be found on https://www.supplycontracts.co.uk/.

Also, there are a series of roadshows you may be interested in either attending or exhibiting at – more information can be found on www.procurementroadshow.co.uk/.

All invoices require a purchase order (PO) before payment. You should not accept orders (written or verbal) from Cornwall Council employees unless a PO is provided. The PO from us will contain a unique PO number. When creating your invoice, it is important that you quote the correct PO number. This number should also be quoted on any receipt, or correspondence you have with us regarding that particular order. Regrettably if we do not receive the correct purchase order details, payment cannot be made and suppliers will be asked to re-submit the invoice with a valid PO number.

The Council uses 'Standard Terms and Conditions for Purchase Orders' under £10,000; these are attached to purchase orders.

In May, Cornwall Council published the first draft of its new Commissioning, Procurement and Commercial Strategy 2014/15 for consultation. 

Thank you to everyone who has shown an interest and particularly those individuals and organisations that have provided comments on the draft.  We have now reviewed the comments received and aim to make amendments prior to the launch of the strategy later this year.

A summary of some of the key points raised is shown below:

  • Over 70 individuals/organisations provided comments on the document
  • Over 50% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed the document was “clear and easy to understand”
  • Over 50% agreed or strongly agreed that they considered the content, vision and approach as being right for the Council
  • There is a need to know more on the “how”, for example “how/what will the Council do in delivering the strategy".  It is proposed that this is addressed by enhancing the improvement plan to support what would be done, when and how it would be resourced.
  • Whilst it was felt the strategy dealt with procurement aspects, it was perhaps missing the link to “commissioning”.  Terminology within the document could do with being made clearer and a glossary of technical terms is proposed.
  • More consideration needs to be given to the inclusion of the voluntary sector and the diverse nature of the local economy within Cornwall, for example small and micro businesses.  We would propose to provide clearer intelligence on the economic setting which the strategy aims to support.
  • Links to the wider objectives of the Council need to be improved, emphasising how the strategy will support the delivery of those objectives.

Further details on the responses are available below:

Mystery Shopper is an informal, anonymous service run by Cabinet Office allowing businesses to raise concerns and highlight the barriers they encounter when bidding for, or working on, public sector contracts.  Issues can include:

  • Late payment                                                     
  • Unfair or overly bureaucratic procurement practice
  • Procurement that does not comply with government policy or EU rules        

The Mystery Shopper team will then work with the Council to resolve concerns.

Before reporting an issue or concern to the Mystery Shopper Service please contact the Council’s Procurement Team directly on procurement@cornwall.gov.uk so that we have an opportunity to resolve the issue.

Corporate Procurement Team

2nd Floor, West Wing,
New County Hall,

01872 323779
Fax 01872 323507