What is Commissioning? What is Procurement? What is TUPE?

On 31st October 2017, Shropshire Council began a procurement process to choose an organisation to run the library in Church Stretton.

Ref https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/politics/2017/11/02/bidding-open-for-library-contract/

We are still waiting news on this and will let you know as soon as we hear anything. Some of our supporters have told us they do not understand what a procurement process involves. We have written the following explanation to assist with this.

Commissioning & the Procurement Process

Local Authorities used to employ people to provide most of their services. Now local authorities frequently pay another organisation to deliver a service e.g. Shropshire Council pay Veolia to collect refuse from household bins across Shropshire. If a local authority decides to pay another organisation to deliver a service they go through a ‘formal procurement process ‘which includes the following steps.

  1. Service Specification: Commissioners working for the local authority describe the service they want an organisation to provide. e.g. for bin collection the service specification would say all householders should receive a black bin, green bin and recycle service once a fortnight.
  1. Invite organisations to tender: The local authority invites organisations to put in proposals saying how they would provide the service and how much money they want from the local authority to deliver it. There are strict rules of confidentiality put in place as if one organisation knew what their competitor was proposing it could provide an unfair commercial advantage.
  1. Award contract: As well as cost, the local authority should consider other factors such as an organisations’ financial stability and their track record in delivering a similar service when deciding who to award the contract to.

What happens when the contract comes to an end?

Contracts are awarded for a limited period of time, usually between 3 and 10 years. During that period the commissioner monitors the service to make sure it is meeting their requirements. When the contract is nearing its end, the local authority will repeat the whole process, so different organisations can compete for the next contract.

The Workforce and T.U.P.E

When a contract is awarded to a new organisation, there is a legal requirement to transfer the people currently delivering that service so they become employed by the new organisation e.g. the bin men who used to work for the local authority now work for Veolia. This is known as T.U.P.E (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006). People transferring retain their existing conditions of service so not only their salary scale stays the same, but they retain other benefits such as annual leave, sick pay, maternity leave and pensions.

NB This description has been kept simple for ease of understanding For a more detailed explanation of Commissioning and Procurement see:

https://knowhownonprofit.org/funding/commissioning/commissioning-1/what-is-commissioning

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