Procurement at EA

Details of our purchasing arrangements and information for those looking to become a supplier or contractor to the Environment Agency.

Our procurement commitment

Our procurement mission statement is to achieve:

  • best value
  • best practice
  • the most sustainable outcome

Tendering for contracts

We use 3 systems to advertise and to manage our contracts.

Contract Finder

Contracts Finder is a free service for businesses, government buyers and the public. This service allows you to search for:

  • live contract opportunities across the public sector
  • closed tender documentation
  • contract awards and contract documents

You can also subscribe to email alerts to receive updates on existing or new items.

Tenders Electronic Daily (TED)

On Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) you can find adverts and notices for tenders and contracts.

eSourcing Portal

Bravo is the online tool we use to contract all of our major purchases over £50,000. A large part of the Defra Group use the portal and as such, registered suppliers will receive information on upcoming opportunities across the Defra Group as well as the Environment Agency.

We require all prospective suppliers for these major purchases to register and use Bravo. This is free of charge and it takes only a few minutes to register. Once registered as a supplier, you can receive details of opportunities in the categories you have registered. Please note, when you select a category, if it is preceded with ‘##’, this indicates that the category is not one of our approved categories, but it may still be used in some circumstances.

Procurement contacts

We have regional teams of procurement professionals who are responsible for procurement in their region and for a specific commodity portfolio at a national level. For more information, please contact the procurement team that has responsibility for the commodity or service that you provide.

Procurement categories and contact details

Supporting small businesses

The government has set a target for 33% of central government buying to go to small businesses by 2020. We are committed to supporting this target and look to ensure a fair and equal opportunity for all to bid for our contracts. We also encourage our larger suppliers to consider small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in their sub-contracting opportunities.

Sustainability considerations within procurement

In line with the greening government commitments, we’re committed to reducing the negative impacts of our work and creating a greener and more sustainable business world. Our commitment to procuring sustainably is embedded within our vision statement and corporate strategy, which outline our sustainable development commitments.

Procurement forms part of our environmental management system which is accredited to the International Organisation for Standardisation ISO14001 and the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) standards.

Procurement strategy

We have outlined our approach to embedding sustainability in our procurement activity and plan. This is underpinned by a risk based approach. We prioritise our efforts on our top ten high-risk categories, which we have mapped using Procuring the Future’s prioritisation method. We were a major contributor to this method and the development of the flexible framework.

We are fully committed to meeting the greening government commitments and also support a range of diversity and equality initiatives such as Race for Opportunity and Stonewall. Our procurement staff support the delivery of our strategy and we have professional procurement staff leading on category strategies for our high risk/high value purchases. Our approach is comprised of the following 6 main elements.

Risk assessment and action

Risk assessment is at the heart of our approach to addressing sustainability in procurement. We encourage early consideration of the risks and opportunities, This approach helps our people to understand the life cycle impacts of purchases, identify the main risks and opportunities, and focus effort. We translate these into actions that we manage throughout the procurement approach to maximise positive results.

Integration into the procurement process

We fully integrate sustainability into all stages of our procurement cycle, from identifying needs through to contract management. We make our suppliers aware of our commitments early on and we encourage them to present sustainable solutions. We improve our knowledge by sharing information and mandate the use of existing product standards such as government buying standards. We develop category specific strategies for our high risk purchases.

Supplier management and development

We rely on our suppliers to help us achieve sustainable outcomes by requiring them to be informed and active in their approach to sustainability issues, both when carrying out our contracts and managing their own businesses and supply chains. Our supplier development sustainability programme focuses on the environmental and social performance of our main suppliers. We offer advice and encourage our suppliers to adopt sustainable practices for themselves and their supply chains. This provides commercial benefits to them and the wider business community.

We are committed to working with our suppliers to understand and mitigate our negative sustainability impacts and to enhance the positives. We look for our suppliers to lead the way in environmental solutions and social practices.

Sustainable procurement marketing

We promote our commitments and successes internally and externally. This is essential to maintain buy-in from our customers and suppliers, and encourages innovative ways of working. We work closely with organisations such as Defra, the Cabinet Office and the Welsh government to promote sustainable procurement across the public and private sector.

Staff training and awareness

All of our procurement staff have been fully trained in our approach to sustainable procurement, have sustainable procurement objectives and use practical application of our risk assessments. Our procurement teams also raise awareness with their local management teams, primary project managers and suppliers.

Maintaining excellence

We continually strive to maintain excellence in our approach to sustainable procurement. We believe that periodic benchmarking of our performance helps to maintain that we are a leader in this field and we have held our EMAS and ISO14001 accreditation for a number of years.

Our commitment to maintaining excellence has been recognised externally. In 2008 we won a prestigious Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply award for our approach to timber procurement. In 2009 we submitted an entry to the European EMAS Awards and were successful in winning both the UK Public Administration category and the Public Administration Category for Europe. Internally we have introduced our own sustainability procurement awards and also host awards with our construction suppliers.

Procurement of important materials

We use a range of materials and have a corporate commitment to reduce the risks associated with our purchases and we carry out sustainability risk assessments on these. These consider the life cycle impacts and opportunities associated with a purchase from raw material to end of life. It does not presume a preference for any material over another. One of the main tools we use to assess the carbon impacts associated with materials used in construction is our carbon calculator.

Environment Agency carbon calculator tool

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The government’s timber procurement policy requires that all timber and wood-derived products that will be used on the government estate must be from only independently verifiable legal and sustainable sources which can include from a licensed Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade partner. The policy also outlines specific details on recycled timber.

Our specific requirements apply to all timber we buy, regardless of the value, quantity or whether we buy it directly or by a contractor working on our behalf. Compliance with the government’s timber procurement policy and our own specific requirements is mandatory and we have strict control measures and corporate targets in place to monitor this. Timber is currently the only material with a specific government procurement policy.

Environment Agency timber procurement policy (PDF, 27.7KB, 1 page)

For more details email Sustainable Procurement Advisor

Research into lesser known species of tropical hardwood

We build and maintain coastal and freshwater structures throughout England, many of which incorporate timber. Timber is a renewable resource and an environmentally acceptable choice of construction material if obtained from a recycled source or well managed forests. We have strict controls in place for the use of tropical hardwood and only use it where its unique properties are identified as an important requirement for a project.

A research project we commissioned on lesser-known species of hardwood timber has generated technical data which will allow engineers to use a wider range of timbers for marine and freshwater marine construction, thereby supporting more sustainable forestry on a global scale. All of the timbers identified can be sourced from legal and sustainable sources with full chain of custody.

Large procurement projects

Water and environment management framework

Over the next 10 years, we will invest more than £2.5 billion to reduce the risk from river and coastal flooding and to secure social and environmental improvements. Our professional relationships with suppliers will be crucial to delivering these risk reductions and improvements.

Thames Estuary phase I programme

The tidal defences through London, Kent and Essex protect 1.25 million people and £200 billion worth of property value. The Thames Estuary 2100 plan covers the maintenance and improvement of tidal flood risk management structures and assets up to the end of the century.

Conditions of contract

Unless we have previously agreed in writing, all orders are subject to our standard conditions of contract, either for goods, services or research and development. If you are unsure which set of conditions apply, please contact us.

Paying our suppliers

In Autumn 2015 we are changing the system we use to issue purchase orders and pay suppliers. Our new daily pay runs will mean approved invoices are paid faster than before.

What you need to do

You can help us efficiently process your payments by ensuring your invoice details are correct and contain as much information as possible:

  • quote a valid Environment Agency purchase order number on your invoice
  • indicate the purchase order line number if you’re invoicing an item from a multiple line order
  • provide a quantity, unit rate and meaningful description for each unit we’re buying
  • send your invoice to the billing point stated on our purchase order

How we process your personal data

We are changing the way we process your personal data relating to financial transactions when we interact with you. Our services provider Shared Services Connected Limited (SSCL) may process some of this data offshore. For more information see Personal data processing: fair processing notice

More information

For more information please contact the procurement team that has responsibility for the category or service area you provide.

Procurement categories and contact details