Supply Chain

Tender Process

Tender Process


Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL) has multiple approaches to the procurement of goods and services and endeavours to deal with suppliers at a level which is commensurate with the value and importance to the business as a whole. The major spend areas are managed by our category managers directly with our contracted suppliers while our smaller ad hoc requirements are managed on a local basis directly by the appropriate local personnel.

NWL will always endeavour to undertake an open and transparent process ensuring non discriminatory treatment of suppliers. As a water utility we are also bound by the EU Procurement Directives. We also have internal rules which our staff must comply with which cover not only the financial and legal guidelines but also the way in which we conduct business. The thresholds at which these apply are included below.

NWL Financial Rules

<£5k Budget holder will procure with a minimum of 1 quote sought.
£5k - £10k Budget holder will procure with a minimum of 3 quotes sought.
£10k - £50k Budget holder will procure with a minimum of 3 quotes sought and
procurement departmental advice.
£50k> A tender process will be undertaken by the procurement department.

EU Procurement Directives Thresholds (as at 1st January 2018)

£363,424 £363,424 £4,551,413

Where appropriate the following approach(es) will be applied:

Advertising Opportunities – where appropriate, NWL use the Achilles Vendor Database to identify suppliers, however, there are occasions when NWL will issue an advert in the Official Journal of the European Journal (OJEU).

Pre-qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) – a pre-qualification questionnaire may be issued to shortlist companies prior to tenders being issued. Typically the questionnaire will ask for information on your company to assess your capability and relevant experience.

Invitation to Tender (ITT) or Request for Proposal (RFP) – these are common terms for the full tender document which includes specifications and a request for prices and will assess the quality aspect of the proposed solution. An explanation of how tenders are to be scored will be provided. Our preferred method of issuing and receiving tenders is via the e-tendering system ‘Ariba’. Suppliers should ensure they submit their tenders by the stipulated deadline(s).

Evaluation of Tenders – tenders received by NWL are evaluated and scored according to a set of pre-determined rules, generally a panel of key users and business representatives. The suppliers may be asked for further clarification at this stage, tender interviews may also be required.

Award of Contract – Our award criteria will be specified within the tender documents. Tenderers will be notified of the award of contract, and for any tenders over the EU threshold a 10 day standstill period will apply prior to signing of contract(s).


Where appropriate, e-auctions may be used as part of the tender process. E-auctions are carried out online in real-time and require that suppliers bid against each other. Award following an e-auction is based on either the lowest price or the most economically advantageous tender.

Collaborative Procurement

Where appropriate, NWL will undertake collaborative procurement as a participating consortium member of Selectusonline Ltd. Selectusonline Ltd includes Scottish Water, United Utilities, Scottish and Southern Energy, Electricity North West and Northern Power Grid.

Additionally, NWL may also undertake collaborative procurement as part of the Cheung Kong Infrastructure Group (CKI), CKI’s other UK Utility investments include UK Power Networks Holdings, Northern Gas Networks Ltd, Wales & West Utilities, Seabank Power Ltd and Southern Water.

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