Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

View our contract opportunities

Providing our business partners and other interested parties with information and advice on Portsmouth City Council procurement and tendering process.

Follow the link for current tender opportunities and access to InTend, or for information on council policies relating to contracting & insurance, health & safety, equality and environmental issues.

If you have any comments or queries, email

Portsmouth City Council generally does not use approved lists. Any used are detailed on In-Tend, our e-sourcing system. Select lists created as result of this process become null and void at the tender award stage.

In most cases, requirements in excess of £100,000 are competitively tendered.

We start the tendering process with an advert on In-Tend, our e-sourcing system. In many cases we also advertise these opportunities in the leading trade journal for the service or product concerned.

Contractors and suppliers submit an expression of interest in response to tenders advertised. We can only accept expressions of interest received electronically, via InTend, as instructed, and including all information requested in the advert. We only accept expressions of interest in paper format in exceptional cases, and do not accept verbal expressions of interest.

We often require companies interested in a tender opportunity to be short-listed to receive tender documents. This means completing a pre-qualification questionnaire. An example of a pre-questionnaire document and guidance notes is available to download in the documents section below.

All tenders are managed via In-Tend and are accepted and returned in line with the guidelines available to download.

If paper copies are required, all bidders will receive full instructions in advance of the submission date.

Reception staff at the council civic offices have been instructed not to accept tenders handed to them, and the tender box on the ground floor is now sealed.

The council recognises as best practice the standstill period - at least ten calendar days between informing all interested suppliers that a tender has been awarded, and the signing of contracts. We adopt this approach for all tender awards above £100,000.

When Portsmouth City Council enters into a formal contract, the terms and conditions are either written in the tender documents or negotiated with the successful tenderer.

These terms of payment will, in general, be based on our standard terms for purchase orders, which includes that payment will be despatched 30 days from receipt of an acceptable invoice for goods or services performed. 

Our standard terms for purchase orders can be found in the document below. These will apply, and will prevail over any terms presented by tenderers or contractors unless the council expressly agrees otherwise.

Suppliers who currently receive council cheques could receive faster electronic payments if they give us bank details. Email your company name, address, bank name, account name, sort code and account number to

Suppliers able to receive payment by credit card (without passing on charges) may request this payment method at the time an order is placed with them.

Generally insurance requirements are included in the tender or contract documents. However, as a minimum most contracts will require the contractor to be covered by an Public & Employers Liabilities insurance to the value of £5m.

Portsmouth City Council is committed to an Equalities and Diversity Policy covering colour, ethnic origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, gender and gender reassignment. An important part of this commitment is encouraging companies bidding for council services to practise equalities and diversity in their employment and service delivery.

Responsible procurement

The council provides a wide range of services to residents, visitors and businesses. In some cases services are provided directly by council employees, but often services are provide by our business partners. 

The people to whom these services are delivered come from all sections of society - men and women, young and old, people with disabilities, gay men and lesbians, and people from all ethnic groups, faiths and religions. As such, the services provided to them should be geared to their diverse needs, no matter who actually delivers them.

This is known as responsible procurement.

Discrimination law

It is law not to discriminate on the grounds of race, sex and disability in the provision of goods, facilities and services. The council expects its business partners to comply with all the relevant legislation, incorporating these as a requirement in all its contracts. Here are the laws in question:

  • Race Relations Act 1976 and Amendments 2000 - outlaws discrimination in all council functions, including procurement
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and Amendments 2005 - requires anyone who provides goods or services to comply with its provisions no matter how many people they employ
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Amendments 1986 - outlaws discrimination on grounds of gender, although not currently a statutory duty on local authorities, it is consistent with the council’s Equalities and Diversity Policy.

Read the directive to all local authorities in the documents section below.

Procurement approach to equality and diversity

As part of the tender evaluation and contracting processes, the council will take into account a potential contractor’s approach to equalities in terms of its employment practices and service delivery, which will also be monitored and managed during the life of each contract.

The council monitors a contractor’s compliance with equality and diversity issues in two ways:

  • before awarding a contract - by asking equalities questions either prior to or during the tender process.  If responses do not satisfy the council’s criteria, the firm may not be shortlist or awarded a contract
  • after awarding a contract - by including contract conditions on equality in all council contracts, and by monitoring a contractor’s performance and compliance with those conditions.

For more information about equal opportunities in employment contact the Equalities and Human Rights Commission or the Low Pay Commission.

Portsmouth City Council is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our residents, visitors, employees and everyone that uses our facilities and services. On our corporate policies and strategies pages, you can read the council's Health & Safety: the procurement of contractors, suppliers and partner organisations policy.

As part of this on going commitment, we continually assess and monitor the way in which contractors and suppliers provide their services in Portsmouth, while also reviewing the way in which we carry out such assessments.

Any provider who wants to enter into a contract with us must comply with one of the two health and safety assessment schemes below. Compliance does not just apply to construction companies, but all organisations providing council services that may have an effect on our staff, residents, clients and customers.

Preferred safety scheme in procurement

Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) is a not-for-profit umbrella organisation, backed by the Health and Safety Executive, bringing together health and safety pre-qualification schemes to avoid duplication.

We acknowledge that it is not feasible to require all our contractors to be SSIP compliant before their contract with us starts, because of the limited number of company assessors available. So we ask companies tendering for council work to either already be SSIP compliant, or be working towards compliance and to achieve it within the term of the contract.

If a company is not compliant by the end of the contract, we will take this into consideration with any further applications for work.

Alternative pre-qualification scheme

In circumstances where a provider is not registered directly with SSIP, our preferred SSIP scheme member is a founder member of SSIP, the Contractors Health & Safety Assessment Scheme, (CHAS). CHAS is a renowned and reliable pre-qualification scheme, used by many UK local authorities, including Portsmouth.

For more information about health and safety, email