Department for Transport procurement policy

Information about the DfT's procurement policy, EU public procurement law and procurement ethics.

This publication was withdrawn on

This policy is no longer current. For the latest information please see the ‘DfT procurement process’.




Our aim is to achieve value for money, by seeking the optimum combination of quality and whole life cost to meet our needs.

The department buys services, goods and works by competition whenever possible, in line with UK government policy and the relevant legal requirements.

The department aims to specify its requirements in outputs (ie deliverables rather than methodology), and welcomes innovative proposals from tenderers.

For low value procurements we invite written quotations from a number of suppliers. For larger procurements, we invite formal tenders. Single tender action is rarely considered.

The following table shows the number of tenders we invite in the central department (DfTc) - please note that DfT Agency rules may vary:

Estimated contract value Tender action required
Up to £2,000 Normally a single oral quote
£2,001 to £5,000 Normally a minimum of three oral quotes
£5,001 to £25,000 Normally a minimum of three written quotes based on a clear written specification of requirements and the department’s general conditions of contract
£25,001 up to EU threshold Normally a minimum of five formal competitive tenders based on a written specification and the Department’s General Conditions of Contract
EU threshold and above Normally a minimum of five formal competitive tenders, depending on the EU procedure adopted, based on a written specification and the Department’s General Conditions of Contract

In line with government procurement policy, DfT has adopted Centralised Category Procurement (CCP). It collaborates with other government departments as widely as possible and makes use of centrally awarded Framework Agreements for common goods and services.

A framework agreement is an agreement to provide specified goods and services - no commitment is made and no contract exists until an order is placed. DfT uses central framework agreements for all the goods and services covered by the CCP initiative.

EU public procurement law

The European Union (EU) Procurement Directives, and the regulations that implement them in the UK, set out the law on public procurement. Their purpose is to open up the public procurement market and to ensure the free movement of goods and services within the EU.

The Regulations apply to purchases by public bodies and certain utilities, the value of which exceed specific monetary thresholds. They cover all EU Member States and, because of international agreements, some rules may extend to other countries worldwide.

Where the regulations apply, contracts must be advertised in the Official Journal of the EU and there are other detailed rules that must be followed. The regulations are enforced through the courts of Member States, and the European Court of Justice.

The current minimum value of contracts that must be advertised are:

Supplies Services Works
£113,057 £113,057 £4,348,350

However contracts below these values may be advertised where it is felt to be advantageous to do so.

Procurement ethics

Public servants follow a strict code of procurement ethics. They and members of their families may not accept gifts or offers of hospitality from individuals or organisations with whom DfT has, or could possibly have at some time in the future, a contractual relationship. Any personal or financial interest in suppliers bidding for work must also be declared.

Published 21 February 2012