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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mod-contracting-purchasing-and-finance-e-procurement-system/cpf-guidance-for-suppliers
The Cabinet Office has issued the directive that all trade should be electronically conducted by 2017 therefore, all suppliers should comply to continue or to start doing business with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) via electronic means.
Suppliers will continue to use Exostar (or direct connections where agreed) to trade electronically with the MOD.
The MOD will be communicating via its GOV.UK webpages. See below for links. Our pages will be updated with any new information as the Contracting, Purchasing & Finance (CP&F) system is developed. We will work with suppliers to ensure that any disruption to business operations is kept to an absolute minimum.
MOD commercial officers and/or contract owners will also play a part in communicating with suppliers.
Once a contract has been awarded the MOD contract manager will activate the on-boarding process. This process will then be managed by Defence Business Services (DBS) who will progress the initial supplier connection via Exostar. For potential costs, please visit the Exostar website.
Note: Exostar is suitable for the vast majority of businesses working with the MOD. However, if this connectivity is deemed unsuitable by the supplier, please contact your MOD contract manager for more details on how to proceed.
The process will be as follows:
- all new suppliers must have a relevant contract and commercial sponsor within the MOD to be processed for connection onto CP&F
- the MOD contract manager will raise and complete the relevant supplier nomination form on CP&F and forward to Defence Business Services (DBS)
- the form will contain details such as organisation name, address, DUNS number and contact details
- the form will be processed by DBS and an email confirming the start of the process will be sent to the supplier; this will include details on how to access the Exostar website
- Exostar will determine the suppliers account status:
- if an account already exists, Exostar will progress the application accordingly, communicating with the supplier directly and advise DBS
- if an account does not exist, Exostar will set up an account and communicate directly with the supplier
- the supplier will then be enabled to trade directly with the MOD’s CP&F system, with purchase orders and invoices being processed electronically
CP&F utilises a tax engine based on a set of pre-defined rules linked to product and service categorisation, the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC). The tax engine rules use attributes such as categorisation, place of supply; supplier location; and whether the purchase is for goods or services in order to determine the most appropriate VAT from the following tax rates:
- standard: standard rated supply at 20%
- zero: zero rated supply
- reduced: reduced rate supply at 5%
- exempt: supply is exempt from UK VAT
- out of scope: supply is outside the scope of UK VAT
- COSVAT: contracted out service eligible for VAT recovery
- R: purchase is linked to an onward business supply made by MOD
The tax engine then applies a series of rules based on four data elements to arrive at the final VAT code. The VAT code is calculated from:
- Category code (UNSPSC) + product category + delivery address + supplier location = VAT code
Invoices submitted by the supplier in Exostar should have tax applied that matches the tax treatment in CP&F. If tax on the invoice does not match the tax treatment in CP&F then the Invoice will be placed on hold, investigated and the supplier advised.
In order to avoid delays in payments suppliers must ensure that default user preferences on EXOSTAR, such as GAX core and TAX category code, are entered correctly as these will be applied to the invoice during the add taxes process.
Please note: failure to enter the correct GAX code on an invoice will result in the invoice being rejected by CP&F.
Tax can be added to the invoice by expanding the middle section of the invoice page at the line called ‘Tax applied to all checked line items’.
In order to improve the experience of dealing with the MOD and in support of on-boarding new suppliers, the MOD requires all suppliers to provide their DUNS number. This is to ensure a consistent and standardised database of suppliers that are being transacted with is maintained. This requirement also retains the MOD’s commitment to the government digital agenda.
DUNS numbers are a globally recognised means of identifying suppliers and is mandated by the UK government Cabinet Office to uniquely identify each supplier who is transacting with a government department.
If you do not already have a DUNS number, click on the link provided DUNS number and follow the instructions. The process should take no more than 5-10 minutes.
The e-Catalogue service allows MOD and Crown Commercial Service ‘Managed Service’ category suppliers with suitable contracts to have their goods and/or services hosted as a catalogue in an electronic format and hosted on or via the CP&F system. This enables MOD employees to view and purchase these items online.
The following replaces the previous ‘TP Hub’ process for uploading catalogues.
A catalogue load template with pre-defined fields will be sent to suppliers to complete with both inventory and non-inventory catalogues being uploaded by the commercial officer / contract manager:
- the template is in a pre-defined .txt file format
- the received template should be completed with the catalogue details in readiness for loading onto CP&F
- the completed template should be saved from ‘Excel 97-2003 Workbook to ‘Text (tab delimited).XLS’ format
Once completed, the template should be sent to the MOD contract manager for uploading onto CP&F. For support and guidance on technical issues when completing this template, please contact Defence Business Services (DBS) at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where catalogue images are required, these should be submitted by the supplier in an email to the MOD Contracts Manager who will arrange for them to be uploaded onto CP&F by DBS, further guidance on the naming convention can be obtained from your MOD Contracts Manager.
For the creation of ‘Price Breaks’ further guidance is available from your MOD contract manager.
Inventory number changes
Please note: for inventory contracts, with the introduction of CP&F there has been a change in the purchase order (PO) document type. Orders raised previously on peer to peer lending (P2P) will have been managed as blanket releases; these will migrate to CP&F as standard purchase orders (SPOs). The PO number will be retained and will reflect the historic blanket purchase agreement (BPA) number hyphenated with the blanket release number, for example ‘1465625-6’.
New purchase orders created in CP&F as SPOs will have a sequence-generated number assigned as the PO number. The PO description will be prefixed by the MOD contract number and a sequential number to indicate how many call-offs have been made against the agreement.
Latest update to suppliers
Release 3 does not change the Purchase to Pay processes.
The sourcing process will remain as is in CP&F R3 with tools such as Defence Contracts Online, AWARD and Reverse Auctions continuing. Sourcing will change with the introduction of a new tool at Release 4, which will come later.
Release 3 will however provide the functionality to streamline demand capture and contract management:
- ITT/RFQs will be created online with the most recent terms and conditions and contract templates (e.g. standardised contracting) being applied automatically
- a Collaboration team will be created by the buyer/commercial officer to allow different people to contribute to the ITT on CP&F
- a contract drafting environment will ensure standardisation across different MOD organisations, including the way in which contracts are managed
Release 3 will be implemented across the MOD in different phases rather than all at once:
- user adoption will be phased between May and Dec 2018
- there will be a pilot phase to ensure confidence in the system
- there will only be one period of downtime during an evening or weekend at the beginning of the rollout, and this will not have an impact on you
What will change:
The added functionality at Release 3 will supersede other tools (e.g. Aspect) and will consolidate the procurement and subsequent contractual activity into one access route. It is an auditable, online end-to-end procurement tool that supports the project team with the procurement process.
If you’re not already registered as a supplier and you bid for a tender opportunity then you’ll be ‘light touch’ onboarded with a skeleton record. The MOD commercial officer will likely get all the information they need for this from your bid, and you won’t be required to do anything differently.
All of the familiar forms and letters you are familiar with may change slightly, these include:
- electronic DEFFORM 47: appearance / format change
- contract management: new approach should result in earlier orders and receipting
- contract award letter: appearance / format change
- contract numbering: move to system generated numbering
Contact us (enquiries only)
The Defence Business Services (DBS) enquiry centre will deal with all CP&F technical issues. On making an enquiry:
- you will need to provide as much information as you possibly can to allow the enquiry centre agent to record your query
- you will be allocated an “Issue ID” which will be your query reference number and must be quoted in subsequent follow up enquires
- the team will either answer the query direct or refer it to another part of the MOD where further specialist information and knowledge can be obtained
The DBS enquiry centre details are:
telephone: +44 (0)151 242 2000
The DBS enquiry centre is open 0800 to 1700 Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
Contract specific queries & queries on the above guidance should be dealt with by your MOD Contract Manager in the first instance.
For further information on the CP&F Programme, processes and/or policy please contact the CP&F Business Transformation Team via email at DefComrclCPF-BTT@mod.gov.uk.