Procurement and tender opportunities

How coronavirus is affecting procurement

Supplier relief during the COVID-19 outbreak

We are committed to paying our suppliers to ensure service continuity both during and after the outbreak. We are trying to make outstanding payments as quickly as possible, regardless of the payment terms in contracts. Our general approach will therefore be to pay your approved invoices immediately, on receipt, wherever possible.

Please invoice us on a more regular basis to help cash flow e.g. every week, rather than monthly. This does mean we may need to reconcile the amounts we pay you later, and we reserve the right to recover any amounts paid wrongfully or in error.

To discuss any outstanding payments, please email payments@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

If you are at risk of not being able to continue to provide services, or resume normal contract delivery once the outbreak is over, there are several things we can consider doing for you and we will take a pragmatic approach. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • putting in place the most appropriate payment measures to support cash flow; this might include a range of approaches such as forward ordering, payment in advance/prepayment, interim payments and payment on order (not receipt)
  • if the contract involves payment by results, payment could reflect previous invoices, e.g. the average monthly payment over the previous three months
  • paying on a continuity and retention basis
  • making payments in advance of need, where we are satisfied that a value-for-money case is made by virtue of securing continuity of supply of critical services in the medium and long term; consent is capped at 25% of the value of the contract and applies until the end of June 2020
  • providing relief against current contractual terms to maintain business and service continuity, such as relief on performance indicators and liquidated damages (service credits)
  • an extension of time for contract performance e.g. revised milestone dates or delivery dates, etc.
  • wherever possible, we will seek to re-deploy the capacity of those suppliers to other areas of need; this can be implemented via a time-bound variation to the original contract

Each claim for relief has to be considered on a case-by-case basis, due to the diversity of suppliers and the goods, services and works being supplied. If you're one of our suppliers at risk and are not already discussing this with us, please email: procurement@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

Transparency and integrity in our dealings is paramount and we must work closely together on that. If you're in receipt of public funds that are not strictly in accordance with the usual terms of your contract, during this period, you must agree to operate on an “open book” basis.

This means you must make available to us any data, including:

  • ledgers
  • cash-flow forecasts
  • balance sheets
  • profit and loss accounts

You must provide these, as required and requested, to demonstrate that payments you've received have been used in the manner intended. This might include evidence that staff have been paid the right amount and on time, and that cash continues to flow through the supply chain as quickly as possible.

Central government is also offering support to businesses and employers, so it may be more appropriate to draw on this support instead.