Procurement at DWP

How we use external suppliers for goods and services.

Details of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) purchasing arrangements and information for those looking to become a supplier.

Doing business with DWP

DWP uses external suppliers for goods and services.

DWP Provider Guidance

Provider Guidance gives you information about your role as an organisation contracted to deliver provision for the DWP.

The Provider Referrals and Payments system (PRaP) enables secure, automated exchanges of information about customers referred to providers, and payments from DWP to Prime Providers. All Welfare to Work contracted provision is supported by PRaP.

How to become a supplier

All of our contracts are awarded by competition between potential suppliers, unless there are compelling reasons why competition cannot be used.

Contract opportunities

DWP contract opportunities, including the tender timetable and tender documents, can be found on Contracts Finder. Contracts Finder is the main source of government contracting opportunities worth more than £10,000.

When required, DWP contracts in the relevant categories are also advertised in the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) , the supplement to the Official Journal of the European Community (OJEU) in line with the department’s obligation under the EU Procurement Directives.


Some of our current opportunities can be found on our web-based eTendering service, which we use to advertise tender opportunities and information on procurement projects. The service allows you to:

  • access tender documentation online
  • download and complete your tender
  • submit the tender electronically

The eProcurement service provides a simple, secure and efficient means for managing tendering and quotation activities.

Low Value Provision

Low Value Provision (LVP) is intended to provide opportunities for occupationally relevant training that will help job-ready or close to job ready customers into work, where no other suitable DWP contracted or non-contracted training is available.

How to bid for LVP opportunities

To bid for and supply LVP opportunities you need to complete an on-line application form.

Once you have lodged an application, it will remain current for 12 months or until your circumstances change, whichever is the earliest.

Your application information will enable us to send requests for quote directly to you and for you then to respond electronically to us.

As part of your application you will need to tell us the counties that you wish to deliver training in and the types of training that you can provide.

Important - before attempting to complete the online application form, it is important that you give due consideration to your responses as failure to meet the requirements will prevent you from delivering training.

On completing the application form, you will also be asked to state whether or not you agree to DWP Terms and Conditions of contract to deliver LVP.

Please take time to read the supporting documents below before submitting your application form:

LVP Supplier Guidance on using Procserve

LVP Example Application Questionnaire

LVP DWP Terms and Conditions

If you require further guidance please email - or call 01253 332970.

Providers need to be aware that as of November 2013 due to the restructuring of DWP, Shared Services Connected Limited (SSCL) has authority to carry out commercial activity on behalf of DWP. Find out more about this shared service strategy.

Improving opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

Central government spent an unprecedented £11.4 billion with SMEs in 2013 to 2014.

We are changing how we do business to make sure that small companies, charities and voluntary organisations are no longer shut out by excessive bureaucracy and poor procurement practices. For example, we must not rule out SMEs who are financially sound simply because their turnover is low.

The new data shows that central government spent 10.3% directly with SMEs and 15.8% indirectly. This meets our aspiration, set in 2010, that 25% of government procurement spend would be with SMEs by the end of this parliament. Read the data on central government spend with SMEs 2013 to 2014.

DWP is committed to supporting the achievement of this government target and is developing processes to promote greater engagement with SMEs. We are working to increase the level of business they get from DWP, either:

  • directly, by winning contracts with us
  • indirectly, by winning contracts with prime contractors or further down supply chains

We actively consider SMEs during pre-procurement activities and try and reach out to the small firms sector to alert them to upcoming commercial opportunities. This section details the steps that DWP, the largest civil government department, is taking to actively engage and advise small firms of the best sources of information.

We continue to maintain the SME Action Plan which sets out the actions we are taking towards helping meet the government target.

We have implemented new reforms – in part 4 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 – which will make public contracts more accessible to businesses, and in particular to SMEs.

The reforms include:

  • removing a pre-qualification stage for procurements below the EU thresholds
  • a requirement for contracting authorities to include provisions to ensure prompt payment through the supply chain
  • a requirement to advertise public sector opportunities in one place (on Contracts Finder)

Contracts opportunities for smaller organisations

Details of current opportunities are published on Contracts Finder. Contracts Finder is the main source of government contracting opportunities worth more than £10,000.

DWP contracts in the relevant categories are also advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in line with the Department’s obligation under the EU Procurement Directives. You can access information on such upcoming contracts by accessing the OJEU website.

Free e-learning procurement course

A free online procurement course, winning the contract, run by learndirect is available to help SMEs learn about public procurement and how to bid for public-sector contracts.

SME Agenda: 2013 to 2014 results

Steady progress has been made in DWP on the SME agenda. DWP:

  • ensured the SME agenda is factored in future procurement strategies
  • identified specific areas of the business which are potential SME rich and are planning our pre-procurement market engagement according to best practice including an increase in market engagement activities (engagement days, boot camps etc) pre-procurement
  • continued development of the Welfare to Work future strategy with SMEs in mind
  • improved visibility on SME spends through our supplier chain accessing indirect spend information wholly from suppliers through the SID4GOV platform
  • simplified our processes and introduced lean procurement
  • published our likely commercial pipeline to provide greater visibility to the market
  • worked with projects team to identify potential Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) opportunities

As a result, DWP’s direct and indirect spend with SMEs for 2013 to 2014 resulted in an overall spend with SMEs of 15.6% of the total DWP spend with all suppliers.


The Cabinet Office actively promote initiatives to reduce the bureaucracy involved in bidding for Government business and to make government contracts more attractive and accessible for smaller organisations. The Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group provide details of measures announced to promote small business procurement.

Terms and conditions

The DWP standard model terms and conditions for DWP services contracts are applied to all services contracts where the anticipated contract value is over £10,000.

The DWP standard model terms and conditions for DWP goods contracts are applied to all goods contracts where the anticipated contract value is over £10,000.

The Model Services Contract and the Combined Schedules to the Model Services Contract are applied to IT Delivery and Business Process Outsourcing with a likely contract value of £10m or more. These have been developed by the Crown Commercial Service and Government Legal Services for use across all central Government Departments including their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies.

Please also note suppliers should always refer to the specific terms and conditions issued as part of a procurement tender exercise.

DWP general terms and conditions

Diversity and equality is a prominent theme running through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Departmental Strategic Objectives – the objectives that underpin our activities and define the nature of the Department.

Diversity and Equality Requirements Guidance for contractors

The DWP general terms and conditions are applied to low value and low risk requirements below £10k.

DWP general terms and conditions of contract for the supply of goods (PS1)

DWP general terms and conditions for the supply of services (including Hire, Rental, Lease and Facilities Management) (PS2)

Prompt payment to DWP suppliers

All central government departments are now required to pay 80% of undisputed invoices within 5 days. Suppliers need to be aware of the correct procedures involved to achieve this.

Suppliers must send invoices directly by post to:

SSCL Accounts Payable Team
Room 6124, Tomlinson House

Payment helpline

Telephone: 0845 602 8244 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm)

Find out about call charges

In October 2015, the figures for DWP payment of invoices to suppliers were:

  • 98% within 5 working days
  • 99.2% within 10 working days
  • 99.8% within 30 working days

Prompt Payment Quarterly statistics

Financial year 2015 to 2016 Percentage of invoices paid within 5 days Percentage of invoices paid within 30 days
1st Quarter 97.3% 99.8%
2nd Quarter 95.5% 99.7%

Prompt payment to sub-contractors

Where suppliers use sub-contractors for the performance of their contract with DWP, these suppliers are now required to pay the sub-contractor invoices within 30 days.

Sub-contractors who want to report non-compliance with this requirement should provide details, including the nature of their contract with the DWP supplier and, where possible, details of the suppliers’ contract with DWP, by email to the DWP Supplier Enquiry Team.

Read more DWP procurement policy documents.

Code of practice

DWP follows an ethical approach to purchasing the range of goods and services needed to meet the requirements of our customers.

We are committed to public sector best practice. In all commercial activity DWP pursues the highest standards of professionalism, ethical conduct and impartiality. Competitive processes are governed by EU law and UK legislation and conducted in accordance with the government procurement policy.

Data protection and information security

DWP takes data protection and information security very seriously and is required to give assurance that personal data is being appropriately protected throughout its supply chain.

We have one of the largest and diverse supply bases in government and our suppliers are responsible for millions of pieces of personal and sensitive information and data. Protecting that data has been a key legal requirement since 1998 under the Data Protection Act. It is important that suppliers have measures in place to meet this requirement throughout the life of a contract.

The DWP security policy for contractors sets out how the Framework applies to DWP suppliers.

What is required of DWP suppliers?

Suppliers to the department must, in the contracts they deliver, protect personal information. They should focus on the following areas, to specific levels and degrees depending on the type of contract:

  • personnel security
  • information handling, transfer and storage processes (communication management)
  • premises security
  • portable media policies
  • security incident handling
  • information systems security

Data protection and information security information

The letters attached below are provided as examples of communications that DWP have previously issued to contractors:

DWP security of data handling procedures - example letter of assurance

DWP protecting customer data - example letter of assurance

We have developed a data security training and awareness slide pack for suppliers and their employees delivering DWP contracts. Suppliers can use the slides as training material for their employees.

Suppliers should consider the content of this slide pack along with:

  • the specific provisions within any contract that they deliver to DWP
  • any existing data security training/awareness within their organisation

Other data protection and information security communications

Data protection and security of information in DWP - May 2012

Sustainable procurement

The DWP is highly regarded in government for its commitment to sustainable procurement. To support its aims the department seeks to minimise its own environmental impact.

The DWP sustainable procurement strategy ensures that we specify sustainable goods and services wherever possible, and encourage best sustainable practice throughout our supply chains.

The activities of any organisation, however large or small, can contribute to meeting our Greening Government Commitments and objectives.

We aim to incorporate sustainable development into our thinking and our actions. We are making progress towards achieving this.

Sustainable procurement risk assessment methodology

DWP uses the sustainable procurement risk assessment methodology (SPRAM), a tool developed in-house for ensuring the department’s sustainable procurement targets and objectives are factored in to contract programs. All suppliers can expect to be subject to a SPRAM assessment.

Government Buying Standards

The Government Buying Standards (GBS) are a set of sustainable specifications for a range of commonly purchased products.

DWP will publish data on how our suppliers are progressing against the GBS as it becomes available.

Read the Government Buying Standards: DWP position for year 2013 to 2014.

DWP commercial strategy

The DWP commercial strategy sets out our long-term strategy for the management of commercial arrangements across DWP.

Although the strategy is written mainly for an internal audience, it gives suppliers and contractors an insight into the context in which the department carries out its commercial activity.

Using DWP brands

If you need to use our logos or anything else that represents our brand, you need to register with our communication centre.

Commercial complaints process

If you are making a complaint regarding our competitive processes please provide as much detail as you can.

We are fully committed to maintaining confidentiality and will take appropriate measures to ensure it. If you are currently involved in tendering for work with DWP you can be assured that your comments will not be allowed to prejudice the fair treatment of your tender.

We will acknowledge all complaints in writing within five working days and we will aim to respond within ten working days.

How to complain

Make your complaint in writing to the procurement manager shown in the tender documentation.

If you wish your complaint to be dealt with independent of the procurement manager, ask them to forward your complaint to the DWP Commercial Assurance Team.

What happens when I make a complaint?

If we made a mistake we will apologise and take any corrective action we can. We monitor and report on the complaints we have received.

We try to learn from them to improve our competitive processes and intend also that our complaints handling process reflects best practice and opportunities for learning.

Contact us

Contact the DWP Supplier Enquiry team if you have any procurement-related questions or would like further information.

Contact the Supply Chain Information Assurance team with enquiries about how DWP manages data protection and information.

Contact the Sustainable Procurement team for further information or advice about how DWP manages sustainable procurement.