Procurement at UKAEA

Information for those looking to become a supplier or contractor for the UK Atomic Energy Authority.


Social Value

We implement procurement best practice by focusing on achieving value for money, transparency and seek to treat all contractors (including SMEs) fairly and equitably and recognise the important contribution that small businesses can make to the delivery of our organisational objectives and strategies. See UKAEA’s Supply Chain Charter for more information about our approach to procurement, and our Social Value Charter for how we aim to generate additional benefits from our procurements.

Social value is of great importance to UKAEA and we have been developing processes to ensure the importance is represented throughout UKAEA’s staff and culture. By reaching out to the supply chain, we have begun devising metrics that can successfully be met by the wider supply chain as part of our procurement procedures. As part of this project, we have published a Social Value Dashboard capturing the key findings of our data collection. You can view the anonymised results here: UKAEA Social Value Dashboard, February 2022 (PDF, 3.16 MB, 1 page)

The goal of fusion research is to provide a low carbon energy source for the second half of this century. Whilst on the path to sustainable fusion energy, we aim to make our progress as environmentally friendly as possible. UKAEA takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and ensures all statutory obligations relating to waste management and discharges to the environment are strictly complied with.

Early in 2021, the UKAEA Executive Committee reviewed and approved our first Sustainability Strategy document. UKAEA is committed to contributing to long-term environmental sustainability. It is this ambition that forms the focus of this strategy, together with the ways in which we are planning to achieve that. This document outlines the main sustainability aspects related to UKAEA’s operations as well as our plans for addressing these and the rationale behind the adopted approach. More information on our sustainability goals and performance can be found in our Annual Report and Accounts for 2021/22.

Our Modern Slavery Statement for the financial year 22/23 outlines our due diligence and how we are mitigating the risk of modern slavery. We encourage our suppliers to read our statement to understand UKAEA’s policies in relation to modern slavery and human trafficking.

Opportunities

Our external spend is in excess of £100 million per year and covers a wide range of opportunities for suppliers.

UKAEA manages and posts opportunities through EU Supply to the platforms Contracts Finder and Find a Tender. Contracts Finder is a one-stop-shop for suppliers to identify contract opportunities. For opportunities above EU Procurement thresholds, we advertise on Find a Tender.

Expressions of interest, requests to participate or enquiries, where applicable, should be submitted directly to the Procurement representative named in the advertisement who is responsible for that package of work.

Selection questionnaires (SQs) will be clearly stated within the procurement advertisements and will require submission of information about competencies, qualifications, organisation and relevant experience for the particular project advertised.

UKAEA is an executive non-departmental public body and operates in accordance with UK Government Policy. It is essential that a valid purchase order is in place before commencement of any works, supplies or services for, or on behalf of UKAEA. Failure to operate in accordance with this requirement will restrict enablement of payment. In effect no order no payment. Please see managing public money for more information.

Due to the actions of the Russian government, with immediate effect, UKAEA will not be conducting any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian entity. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source, even if not necessarily the Main Contractor. When conducting business with UKAEA, the supply chain should confirm they are wholly aligned with this policy.

The UK stands with Ukraine; Russia’s assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated attack against a sovereign democratic state. The UK and our international partners stand united in condemning the Russian government’s reprehensible actions, which are an egregious violation of international law and the UN Charter.

Procurement Pipeline

UKAEA’s Procurement Pipeline is reviewed and published every quarter and outlines probable, upcoming procurement opportunities with relevant details such as the responsible procurement officer who can be contacted for more information.

Note that information may be subject to change.

Routes to market

We use a number of methods to purchase goods and services. The approach taken will depend on the contract value, type of product/service, the complexity of the requirement and the duration of the agreement

  • Low value off the shelf purchases (current threshold <£20,000) – a simple purchase order with terms and conditions is issued for low value purchases. See UKAEA standard purchase order conditions (PDF, 319 KB, 8 pages) for more information

  • Opportunities – Contracts are set up following a competitive tender exercise or single supply contracts are set up in exceptional circumstances. Tender exercises are published as opportunities on the Cabinet Office Contracts Finder or Find a Tender portals

  • Collaborative supply agreements – we use the government negotiated collaborative agreements wherever possible, and place contracts through the Government Procurement Service portal

  • Framework agreements – a framework agreement is an arrangement where terms, conditions and often pricing are agreed with a supplier(s) for a set period, which then allows orders to be placed quickly without a full tender being completed. A tender exercise is undertaken to set the Framework up in the first instance

Procurement during COVID-19

Towards the end of 2021, UKAEA adopted a hybrid approach to working where possible. At both our Culham and Rotherham sites, the majority of our office based employees are working under the hybrid model whilst operational teams have remained full time to support delivery of our key operational programmes. This approach has been effective with continuing in-person collaboration and teamworking. UKAEA has continued to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain. Summaries from previous data collection can be found below.

UKAEA supply chain - COVID-19 summary update, August 2020 (PDF, 3.46 MB, 1 page)

UKAEA supply chain - COVID-19 summary update, February 2021 (PDF, 2.39 MB, 1 page)

UKAEA is actively supporting the supply chain but if you have any questions, please email our procurement team at procurement@ukaea.uk.

Supplier events

UKAEA have a suite of events held throughout the calendar year to continue engaging with the supply chain and providing regular updates. These are held at three levels: UKAEA-wide, programme-specific and tender-specific.

For general UKAEA updates, we have developed an annual structure of Suppliers Events that we will host focusing on various aspects of UKAEA activities.

  • Spring: Executive Overview
  • Summer: Programme & Project Overview
  • Winter: Procurement Overview

We have been looking into regular programme specific events to update suppliers who are keen to get involved with particular projects and activities. In September 2021, we began our STEP Partnering Forum series and will continue these as well as considering other UKAEA programmes offering tailored events.

Lastly, UKAEA host regular pre-market engagement activities and industry days linked with specific ITTs and projects. The primary aim is to ensure potential suppliers fully understand the requirements of tenders or to retrieve feedback from the relevant experts and develop innovative solutions. To ensure the supply chain is kept up to date with our supplier events and industry days, there is an option to join our supplier mailing list. To find potential collaborators, consider registering to our Industry Directory and LinkedIn Supplier’s Network Group. Suppliers can also check our procurement portals for information on market engagement activities.

Supply Chain Newsletter

UKAEA’s Supply Chain Newsletter is published quarterly to provide updates on the organisation and its supply chain activities.

See our most recent publishing here: Supply Chain Newsletter, November 2023.

Information and links for all previous editions can all be found in our Supply Chain Newsletter Archive.

Contact the procurement team

Contact us at: procurement@ukaea.uk.

For supplier enquiries, contact us at: supplychain@ukaea.uk.