Procurement at FCO

Details of FCO purchasing and information for those looking to become a supplier to the FCO.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) can offer contract opportunities to supply goods, services and works to our globally based offices. What we buy can range from construction of new embassies to temporary staff and specialist contractors and interims, and we use competition to maximize our potential to deliver value for money, as this enables us to source a variety of potentially innovative proposals from the marketplace. We procure from the Crown Commercial Services Frameworks when suitable.

Supply to the FCO

We are legally obliged to advertise certain requirements so you are advised to look for opportunities to supply to the FCO in Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) and the FCO eSourcing Portal - BRAVO. Visit Contracts Finder for lower valued contract opportunities (over £10,000).

We mandate use of the government procurement card for purchases valued under £1.5k and for over that value, the type of competition ranges from a straightforward comparison of quotes to a formal sealed tender process, dependant on the commercial, operational and legal risk involved. We use contract conditions to manage these risks, and among these we have Conditions of Contract for Services: value under £5,000 (Purchase Order Contract Conditions) that accompany our Purchase Orders.

Payment of invoices

All valid goods, services and works invoices received are paid as soon as they have been authorised by the FCO officials responsible for the contract. We rely on suppliers to ensure their invoices provide the details needed to match them quickly to the original order or contract. We will not be changing our existing contractual terms and conditions which remain at 30 days. Where a supplier lets a sub-contract in connection with an FCO contract we expect them to include similar prompt payment terms to those above in respect of payments to their sub-contractors.

Supporting government policy

We support the government’s SME target of awarding33% of spend with third-party suppliers to SMEs by 2020 through:

  • regularly reviewing our procurement plans to ensure that they do not prohibit SME involvement
  • researching the market and developing appropriate market engagement strategies to encourage competition and attract a diverse range of innovative suppliers
  • tracking the amount of expenditure awarded to SMEs
  • advertising our contracts in a transparent way

We support the Government Transparency in Procurement initiative by publishing details of our tender and contract documents over £10,000 on Contracts Finder.

We practice sustainable procurement to achieve value for money while minimising environmental damage and waste.

Guidance on bribery

FCO staff engaged in procurement have a duty to act in a professional and impartial manner and to be mindful of the Bribery Act 2010. We expect our suppliers to act in accordance with the Act.

The Ministry of Justice has published extensive guidance on the Bribery Act. Transparency International has also published guidance for business on how to resist demands for bribes.

Prompt payment policy

We aim to pay 80% of all valid invoices within 5 working days from receipt, to meet the government’s prompt payment initiative. Read the FCO’s latest prompt payment data.