Procurement at DfE
Bidding for Department for Education (DfE) contracts.
UK procurement law
We must follow UK laws that govern how we may buy goods, services and works over a specified value or ‘threshold’.
Where we expect the estimated value of a contract to be over the relevant threshold, we must advertise our requirements on the Find a Tender service (FTS).
The procurement thresholds are published by the Cabinet Office.
Transforming Public Procurement (TPP)
In December 2020, the Cabinet Office published the green paper ‘Transforming public procurement’ which set out significant reforms aimed at speeding up and simplifying public procurement. The development and implementation of these reforms is owned and managed by the Cabinet Office.
The Transforming Public Procurement programme aims to improve the way public procurement is regulated in order to:
- create a simpler and more flexible, commercial system that better meets our country’s needs while remaining compliant with our international obligations
- open up public procurement to new entrants such as small businesses and social enterprises so that they can compete for and win more public contracts
- embed transparency throughout the commercial lifecycle so that the spending of taxpayers’ money can be properly scrutinised
The Procurement Bill, which will reform the existing Procurement Rules, is now going through Parliament. You can view the Procurement Bill and supporting documents on the Parliamentary website.
Latest contracting opportunities
We, and our executive agencies, advertise new contracting opportunities in the following places, where appropriate:
- The UK e-notification service, Find a Tender (FTS)
- DfE’s research page
- Contracts Finder
- specialist publications, and trade, national and local press
We use a variety of means to notify suppliers of future opportunities, including:
- advertising prior information notices (PIN) on the FTS website
- publishing notices on Contracts Finder
- publishing opportunities to tender on Jaggaer
- Department for Education commercial pipeline data: 2020 to 2021
‘DUNS numbers’ provide us with valuable information about which suppliers are bidding for our contracts. We encourage interested suppliers to register with DUNS numbers.
Prompt payment policy
We follow government policy and pay all correctly submitted invoices within 10 days of receiving them at the physical or electronic address that we’ve specified.
Educational and Children’s Social Care Professionals Dynamic Purchasing System (ECSC DPS)
The Education and Children’s Social Care Dynamic Purchasing System (ECSC DPS) has moved to the Jaggaer commercial platform.
We use the ECSC DPS to buy professional, educational and children’s social care services to support government policy in schools and local authorities.
If you would like to apply to join the ECSC DPS, you can do so by logging in or registering on the Jaggaer portal.
As a potential supplier you should register with Jaggaer and apply to join the ECSC DPS so that you can:
- apply to become a member of the ECSC DPS
- view ECSC DPS opportunities to tender
- submit ECSC DPS tender responses
Prior to 22 December 2020, the DfE used Redimo2 to host the ECSC DPS. All ECSC DPS members who gained approval prior to the 22 December 2020 will be migrated to Jaggaer with their membership status retained.
Further information on how this will be managed and any action required has been issued directly to existing members.
For any queries, please email the commercial contact point team.
Commercial contact point team
Terms and conditions for using the ECSC DPS
If you wish to join the ECSC DPS and be eligible for contracts, you must:
- register your interest on Jaggaer
- have knowledge of, and experience in, early years, schools or children’s services
- be able to show that you have one or more of the ECSC skill sets, which we describe in the ECSC handbook
- read and accept the membership of ECSC framework terms and conditions
- read and accept the supply of services by ECSC professionals terms and conditions
- confirm none of the criteria for mandatory exclusion apply
- confirm you are compliant with IR35 tax legislation
Go to the ECSC Contracts Finder notice where you will find the following documents with additional information:
- invitation to participate
- applying for ECSC membership
- ECSC handbook (including daily rates and skill set descriptions)
- terms and conditions for call-off
- DPS agreement
- mandatory exclusion criteria
Jaggaer: the DfE etendering portal
Jaggaer is an etendering system used by DfE and its executive agencies. It is a password-protected online service.
As a potential supplier you should register with Jaggaer so that you can:
- view opportunities to tender
- submit tender responses
For help with registration please use the support links on the Jaggaer portal.
Standard terms and conditions for DfE contracts
If you would like to know which terms and conditions apply when bidding for a particular DfE contract, contact the person named in the advertisement and tender documentation.
Generally, we use the Cabinet Office short form, mid-tier and model services contract terms and conditions which are regularly updated. We may augment these terms with a small number of DfE specific terms and conditions.
Where buying from a framework we use the corresponding Crown Commercial service Framework terms and conditions. Again, we may augment these terms with a small number of DfE specific terms and conditions.
Our purchase orders (documents that ask a company to supply goods and give details of price, method and date of payment) are subject to our.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) for government’s most important contracts
You can now view a list of central government’s most important contracts, showing up to 4 relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) for those contracts, and the performance of the vendor against those KPIs.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
Our aim is to maximise opportunities for SMEs to participate in our procurement opportunities, by encouraging competition and reducing barriers to participation wherever possible.
We encourage SMEs to work with us directly or as part of the supply chain by:
- having a tender process that treats SMEs fairly and by trying to keep our tender documents simple
- supporting commercial relationships between the department and SMEs and SMEs and larger organisations
- monitoring our SME spend and reporting to Cabinet Office for publication
Opportunities for SMEs
We advertise new opportunities on contracts finder.
We also run innovation days where suppliers can meet each other and showcase what they offer. We advertise these on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Our SME action plan
Our SME action plan outlines how DfE is procuring and working with SMEs. The plan covers:
- how we procure and support SMEs
- the progress made so far
- how we will further improve SME engagement
For queries or feedback relating to the DfE SME action plan, please email Jennifer.Pallister@education.gov.uk
For queries relating to the work of the Cabinet Office Small Business Team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
SME self-assessment tool, can be used to determine whether your organisation qualifies as an SME
Small and Medium Business Hub, is centralised guidance for SMEs and departments on the government’s commitment to support start-ups and small businesses via government procurement and commit to paying them on time
How to bid for government contracts as an SME effectively, includes the steps SMEs can take when bidding for government contracts
How to bid for government contracts as a consortium, contains information on how organisations can bid for contracts as a consortium, including the relevant requirements set out in the invitation to tender (ITT)
read about the Small Business Crown Representative, Martin Traynor
Equality and diversity in procurement
There is an expectation that all suppliers to DfE endorse and demonstrate a commitment to the DfE’s equality objectives as set out in the single department plan, which promotes equality and diversity.
Public sector Equality Duty guidance for suppliers
DfE is subject to the public sector Equality Duty. The Equality Duty is relevant where services are contracted to be either:
- delivered on DfE premises
- carrying out a public function
- employee or public/school facing
Where organisations are delivering services under any of those categories they will be under the same Equality Duty as the department. Theexplains what might be required under the Equality Duty.
How we process your personal data
Our personal information charter contains the standards you can expect from DfE when we ask for, and hold, your personal information.