Procurement at Home Office

Details of Home Office purchasing arrangements and information for those looking to become a supplier or contractor.

The Home Office conducts its business in a fair, open and transparent manner. It deals with a multitude of local, national or global organisations - from those with just a few employees to those with many thousands.

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

Where required, contracts in the relevant categories are advertised on the Official Journal of the European Union’s TED (tenders electronic daily) website in line with our obligation under the EU procurement directives. In some cases we also issue prior information notices that describe contracts that will be formally advertised in the near future.

How to become a supplier

Opportunities to become a regular supplier can be found by:

  • visiting the Contracts Finder website
  • looking for opportunities to tender on TED, where all government opportunities to tender that are over limits set by EU directives are listed

The Home Office contracts with its suppliers on its standard terms and conditions, which apply to all purchase orders unless alternative terms and conditions are specified.

Transparency in procurement

Details of our tender and contract documents over £10,000 can be found on the Contracts Finder website.

Improving opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises

The government recognises the important role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in delivering UK economic growth and prosperity. The government set a new target to award 33% of spend with third-party suppliers to SMEs by the end of 2020.

In the Home Office, we encourage SMEs to bid for departmental business and we monitor the level of business SMEs receive from us directly (by winning contracts) or indirectly (by winning contracts with prime contractors or further down supply chains).

Examples of the types of goods and services we buy to support the aims of the Home Office are listed below:

  • storage and disposal of seized goods from the Borders
  • passport printing and delivery
  • accommodation and support services for asylum seekers
  • digital Services at the Borders
  • biometric identification services to the Police and Immigration services

Where appropriate, we have carried out an extensive programme to restructure our largest contracts, particularly in the IT and Digital sector in order to create direct and indirect opportunities for SMEs.

Many of those opportunities are advertised through existing framework agreements. You would need to be on the framework already in order hear about them. You can read details of these agreements, including when they expire and new frameworks.

New opportunities which do not lend themselves to a framework will be advertised on the Contracts Finder website.

In addition, the Home Office has set up the Joint Security and Resilience Centre (JSaRC) to be a flexible capability where government and the security sector can work in partnership to respond to both urgent and longer term threats to UK national security. JSaRC also has an objective to support the growth of the security sector wherever possible. JSaRC will act as the front door for the security sector, particularly for SMEs, to access the complex security machinery of government. It will be government’s primary means of coordinating sector support, refining requirements, understanding the sector offer and sharing strategic priorities.

If you feel that you have a security offering which may be of interest to JSaRC please contact us:

The Home Office also works with the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI). SBRI can support us where we have an unclear requirement but need support from industry to develop this further. SBRI can fund the research and development required to reach a solution. You can read further information about SBRI, including live competitions from across government.

Read the Home Office SME Action Plan (PDF, 407KB, 7 pages)

To find out if you qualify as an SME, you can read the definition on the European Commission website.

You can read further information for SMEs and the prompt pay policy page.

If you have any further questions regarding the Home Office approach to the SME agenda they can be directed to us through our dedicated SME enquiries mailbox

SME case studies

We value the expertise and innovations which SMEs can bring to the Home Office supply chain. Read some examples of contracts awarded to SMEs.

Crown Representative for SMEs

Information about Crown Representatives and the strategic suppliers they work with.

Doing business with government: guide for SMEs provides support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) on bidding for government contracts.

Sustainable procurement

The Home Office practises sustainable procurement to increase value for money while minimising environmental damage and waste.

We use our procurement and contract management activities to encourage sustainable behaviour. More information is available on our energy use page.

Since July 2012 we have been promoting government buying standards (GBS) among buyers and commercial managers and have inserted a corporate social responsibility (CSR) clause within our standard long-form terms and conditions. Suppliers must comply with current GBS for the provision of commodity goods and services and must conduct an annual self-assessment of their CSR policy.

We also follow the Public Services (Social Value) Act which requires commissioners who procure services to consider social, economic and environmental benefits.

The Home Office measures sustainability performance through an online self assessment questionnaire called “CAESER”, which suppliers complete with details of their approach to the main themes of CSR:

  • environmental
  • socio-economic
  • equality and diversity

On completion, suppliers receive recommendations on further improvements and the Home Office receives ratings against compliance, and highlights areas of risk and opportunity.

Information assurance

The Home Office places information security as one of its highest priorities. We report annually to Cabinet Office on the department’s information maturity and this includes information shared with third party suppliers.

For this purpose, the Home Office uses an online self assessment questionnaire called ‘HADRIAN’, which suppliers complete about the maturity of policies, systems and controls when handling sensitive Home Office data.

Sensitive data is personal or protectively marked data.

On completion, suppliers receive recommendations on further improvements and the Home Office receives ratings against compliance.

it is also mandatory for suppliers to demonstrate that they meet the technical requirements prescribed by Cyber Essentials for those contracts featuring personal information of citizens; where suppliers handle payroll, travel booking or expenses information or where IT systems and services store OFFICIAL government data.

Evidence of holding a Cyber Essentials certificate (whether basic level or Plus) is desirable before contract award, but essential at the point when data is to be passed to the supplier.

You can read more information on the Cyber Essential Scheme overview page.


The Home Office uses the Crown Commercial Service eSourcing Portal, which provides a suite of web-based tools that enable our procurement professionals and suppliers to conduct the strategic activities of the procurement lifecycle over the internet.

It provides an efficient, simple, security accredited, EU compliant means for managing tendering activities, reducing the time and effort required for both buyers and suppliers.

The eSourcing portal enables users to:

  • register and express an interest in a procurement opportunity
  • participate in tendering activities, downloading, completing and submitting proposals

If you want to know more details about eSourcing, please visit the Crown Commercial Service ‘Respond To A Tender’ webpage.

Prompt payment

We consistently meet the government’s target to pay 90% of invoices within 5 days. In addition, we follow the government prompt payment policy. We pay all compliant goods and services invoices as soon as they have been authorised by the Home Office officials responsible for the contract and we also require prime contractors to pay their sub-contractors within 30 days, through the inclusion of a contractual condition in the prime contract.

No Purchase Order, No Payment: how to ensure your invoice is not disputed

The Home Office and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) requires all suppliers to only accept a request for goods or services when in receipt of a valid purchase order. A Metis generated Home Office purchase order is issued electronically to a supplier by the Home Office personnel requisitioning the goods or services.

A valid purchase order states the following:

  • Order No, the purchase order number. A valid purchase order is nine characters long and begins with HME for Home Office orders and DBS for DBS orders, for example HME654321 or DBS123456
  • To, the name and address of the supplier
  • Deliver To, the name and address the goods or services should be delivered to
  • Buyer Contact, the name and address of the person that raised the purchase order
  • Invoice To, the name and address of our Shared Service Centre, where all invoices must be sent

Invoices, quoting the relevant purchase order number, should be issued as soon as possible after the goods have been dispatched or the services provided. The invoice must be sent to the “Invoice To” address shown on the purchase order. Invoices submitted without quoting a valid purchase order number will be disputed causing payment to be delayed.

The Home Office and DBS’ preference is to receive all invoices and credit notes by email.

  • invoices/credit notes should be submitted via email in pdf, tiff, jpeg or png format but Excel is not supported
  • a multipage invoice should be submitted as one attachment to your email, however multiple invoices should be split across different attachments. There should be 1 attachment per invoice.
  • multiple invoices can be attached to one email up to a maximum size of 5Mb
  • zip files or any files that are password protected/encrypted will not be processed
  • be aware that any text in the body of your email, or any attachments submitted in file formats other than those listed above, will not be read

Invoices can be submitted in hard copy by post, however invoices submitted by email will be processed and paid more quickly.

Other things which may cause payment to be delayed include:

  • using price, quantities or descriptions that differ from the purchase order
  • sending invoices to the business requisitioner instead of our Shared Service Centre
  • submitting invoices which in total exceed the total of the purchase order

In summary:

  1. Obtain a valid purchase order – first acquire a valid purchase order from the Home Office requisitioner requiring the goods or services before goods or services are provided
  2. Quote the purchase order number on your invoice – all invoices submitted for payment must include a valid purchase order number.
  3. Submit the invoice to our Shared Service Centre for payment.

Invoicing the Home Office

Home Office invoices should be sent to:

Or by post to:

Home Office Shared Services
PO Box 5015
Phoenix House
NP10 8FZ

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) invoices should be sent to:

Disclosure & Barring Service Shared Services
DBS Box 5112
Phoenix House
Spooner Close
NP10 8FZ

Any suppliers asked to supply to the Home Office or DBS will be given a formal purchase order. Suppliers should not provide goods or services unless a valid purchase order has been received.

All payment queries should be emailed to or call 0345 010 0125.

Contact us

If you have any further questions regarding SMEs please refer to our guidance on bidding for government contracts or you can contact us directly through our dedicated