Guidance

Become a Highways England supplier

Contract opportunities, prequalification processes and supplier expectations.

Contract opportunities

Search for opportunities with Highways England on Contracts Finder

For larger contracts Highways England also publishes a contract notice in Tenders Electronic Daily.

Highways England use their own framework or the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) framework agreements.

Highways England does not charge a tender fee for any contract opportunities. Most Highways England procurement comes through framework contracts, or indirectly through major schemes and maintenance arrangements. Highways England does not use an approved supplier list.

Terms and conditions

Model contract documents are provided to suppliers as a guide only. Specific contract documentation can differ from model contract documents and is issued by the procurement officer at the tender stage.

View Highways England model contract documents.

Pre-qualification process

If you are a potential supplier, you will need to go through a pre-qualification process before being invited to tender for Highways England contracts. This applies to those who wish to contract directly with Highways England - either individually or as part of a joint venture or partnership.

Pre-qualification criteria are specific to each contract. High­ways England has three pre-qualification routes:

  • full pre-qualification questionnaire for works con­tracts high in value and high risk; aligned to the revised PAS91 — 2013
  • mini pre-qualification questionnaire for works con­tracts for works con­tracts lower in value and classed as lower risk; aligned to the revised PAS91 — 2013
  • core pre-qualification questionniare for goods and ser­vices con­tracts; based on the Cab­i­net Office core questionnaire man­dated for use as stated in Pro­cure­ment pol­icy note 01/12: use of pre-qualification questionnaires.

All pre-qualification questionnaires test the fol­low­ing cri­te­ria if rel­e­vant to the con­tract and in a way that is pro­por­tion­ate to the contract requirements:

  • cri­te­ria for the rejec­tion of eco­nomic operators
  • eco­nomic and finan­cial standing
  • tech­ni­cal or pro­fes­sional ability

The con­tract notice will give details of who to con­tact for the con­tract spe­cific pre-qualification pack and fur­ther details about any spe­cific require­ments being used in the pack

View Highways England’s procurement pre-qualification pack on the National Archive.

Strategic Alignment Review Tool (StART)

Highways England uses StART in the pre-qualification process for certain high-value contracts. These tend to be larger value, major projects such as Managing Agents Contracts or Technology Maintenance Contracts. The StART assessment helps both Highways England and service supply companies by:

  • identifying business strengths and areas for development that are essential to perform a wide range of work
  • ensuring companies know what is required to complete Highways England contracts

Contract notices state when the StART process will be applied and how to apply for a contract without an existing assessment and StART score. Many suppliers for larger contracts have already been through the process and received a StART score. The StART process is regularly reviewed and suppliers will be reassessed periodically.

The StART Assessment Guide

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email info@highwaysengland.co.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

StART Frequently Asked Questions

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email info@highwaysengland.co.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

StART Best Practice Report

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email info@highwaysengland.co.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

National Highways Sector Scheme accreditation and health and safety certification

Highways England requires all suppliers to employ fully qualified and registered operatives, with relevant National Highway Sector Schemes (NHSS) registration/skills cards. Highways England usually also require contractors and sub-contractors to attend NHSS. See skills card and registration requirements for suppliers of the Highways England.

Health and safety assessments

When you apply for a Highways England contract, Highways England will assess health and safety information as part of their pre-qualification process.

If your business will tender for contracts frequently, it’s sensible to have a valid Highways England Health and Safety Assessment Certificate. Otherwise you’ll have to provide evidence of your policies and records and complete the health and safety questionnaire every time you tender. Sometimes you will need to hold this certificate before you can be invited to tender for a contract. Even if the certificate is not a mandatory requirement, having one will satisfy the health and safety requirements for any contract.

Before you can receive a certificate, Highways England will assess the effectiveness of the integration of your safety management system into your organisation. The assessment is carried out annually using the Highways England Health and Safety Assessment model (PDF, 99.5KB, 35 pages) .

Expectations for suppliers

In order to become a supplier of goods and services to the Highways England, you must compete against other businesses for the contract, except when competition is unnecessary - eg in a monopoly supply situation

Highways England selects suppliers who:

  • represent value for money
  • can deliver on time and to cost
  • work hard to maintain Highways England’s reputation and standards

Highways England will expect all their suppliers to:

  • be as transparent as possible
  • avoid all links to fraud or conflict of interest in their business and supply chain
  • support Highways England goals and values and focus on achieving customer satisfaction in terms of safe roads, reliable journeys and informed travellers
  • be able to deliver the level of quality needed
  • provide a fair and equal workplace and fight bullying and discrimination
  • deliver year-on-year efficiency
  • manage and deliver their own performance to all aspects of the contract, addressing issues before Highways England measurement and intervention
  • adhere to all appropriate legislation, including data protection obligations

Highways England uses procurement to support government sustainability priorities and to monitor supplier response. Highways England and their suppliers must consider:

  • sustainable consumption and production
  • climate change
  • natural resources
  • sustainable communities

Working with Highways England can benefit your business. They will work with you and other organisations, such as local authorities:

  • to develop innovative and lean ways of working, making use of technology and improving performance
  • to follow fair and prompt payment initiatives

Highways England will promote the benefits of a diverse and competitive supply chain and engage with suppliers over opportunities for improving capability, capacity and expertise.

This will include:

  • gathering market intelligence and encouraging competition
  • engaging and developing supplier relationships through regular communications and meetings
  • exploring new market opportunities
  • consulting with industry on new initiatives, managing standards and offering opportunities to a diverse supply base and new suppliers
  • maintaining regular face-to-face dialogue with strategic partners

Corporate identity

Highways England works with a variety of suppliers, contractors and consultants, yet needs to maintain a clear and consistent corporate identity. If you work on behalf of Highways England you will need to write in the Highways England style and comply with its visual identity guidelines to stay consistent with the corporate brand.

Highways England will provide you with information on logos, colours and sizes, co-branding, vehicle branding and general rules for publications.

Highways England's visual identity specifications

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email info@highwaysengland.co.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Highways England tone of voice and style guide

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email info@highwaysengland.co.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Performance measurement

Highways England monitors and manages supplier performance through a performance management framework. This framework provides Highways England with a standard approach to capturing performance data in order to achieve:

  • visibility of service provider performance
  • consistency in the data captured on service provider performance
  • benchmarking of service provider performance results

A full catalogue of guidance documents and manuals are available on our Supply Chain Portal. You can request access by contacting supply chain communications.

How a supplier is selected for award of a contract

Highways England assessment of tenders is carried out in three stages:

  • a panel will judge the content of the quality tender submission
  • we verify the quality submission and financial information
  • we validate the prices and availability of key people

The exact requirements of each contract are set out in the tender documents provided by Highways England, and you will be given the opportunity for debriefing at the end of the tender selection process.