Achieving flexible, efficient procurement processes that encourage broad participation and are open and accessible to all.

Remember to adapt activities to your local context, and always take approaches that are proportionate to the value, risk, complexity and profile of your requirements. 


  1. 1 Clearly understand the needs of your users and other stakeholders.

    To ensure the right goods or services are procured, and a performance-enhancing and enabling contract is awarded to the right supplier(s), it’s vital to talk to your users and other stakeholders to understand their needs. Don’t make assumptions.

  2. 2 Your organisation may already have the answer to your requirement.

    Check whether your requirements can be met by reusing or recycling existing goods or services, or by using an existing contract or framework agreement, before proceeding with a new procurement.

  3. 3 Engage with the market.

    By working closely with potential suppliers, develop your requirements to ensure that they can be met by the target market. Test your requirements with suppliers to ensure they understand what you need and therefore improve the competition.

  4. 4 Business Wales can help you identify potential suppliers.

    This team in the Welsh Government supports public sector buyers and suppliers to come together. Talk to them to understand how they can help you to encourage more constructive engagement, and greater competition and innovation.

  5. 5 Competition and innovation can lead to better outcomes.

    Look beyond existing suppliers and actively engage new suppliers for each procurement. Competition encourages innovation and improves the likelihood of achieving well-being impact and social value for money objectives in line with the Future Generations goals , the  Wales procurement policy statement and Wales Procurement Policy Notices.

5 things to know

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Getting Started

As a minimum your brief or specification should include:

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Developing the business need Show Hide

When you are developing your business need you should consider the following:

  • What is your user need and the capacity and capability of the supply market?
  • What are your measurable, realistic and relevant success criteria based on the scale and intricacy of the procurement?
  • How complex is your requirement?
  • What are the risks and their impact with regards to this procurement?
  • Do you need to carry out a Delivery Model Assessment?
  • How to formulate relevant and proportional Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).


Useful Resources:

Cabinet Office Delivery Model Assessment

Assessing the market Show Hide

All outsourcing activities should build in market assessment early in the process. Commercial professionals should then re-assess the market throughout the contract life as early identification of weaknesses can help you prepare for the re-procurement.

When assessing the market, you should think about:

  • Who are the suppliers in the market that can meet your requirements?
  • Is there a monopoly/ oligopoly or market dominance?
  • Are suppliers local or national? If you are buying goods/ services that need to be delivered at location, consider where the goods/ contractors come from and can you minimise your carbon footprint by buying locally.
  • Is this requirement suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)/ voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs) and if so are there suppliers that are classified as such that can deliver your goods/ services?
  • Some services will need to be delivered in Welsh and English, can suppliers of your required service be able to meet this need?
  • If you have identified weaknesses, can you restructure your requirement to increase competition? For example, breaking down the requirement to make it more accessible to SMEs.
  • To get a detailed view of your market you can engage with Business Wales, Welsh Government Commercial and Delivery team and Crown Commercial Service (CCS).
  • If you have identified substantial competition issues, you can contact the Competition and Markets Authority for advice.


Useful Resources:

Business Wales

Directory of Welsh Businesses

Market consultation and engagement Show Hide

Market consultation and engagement is sometimes avoided by procurement and commercial professionals in the fear of affecting future competition. However, market engagement can be hugely beneficial to the buyers, as long as it is done in line with the Regulation 40 of the PCR 2015 and with the principles of fairness, transparency and proportionality in mind. The process of market engagement can help you develop a better understanding of the feasibility of your requirement, alternative options and market capacity and capability.

When you are carrying out market engagement you should consider the following:

  • Actively seek out suppliers that you think can not only deliver the service but improve it.
  • Ensure you engage with SMEs and VCSEs, as well as larger suppliers, to ensure you maximise your competition.
  • Share your approach to pricing, including how you will work inflation into your pricing.
  • Consider social value as part of your engagement. Speak to the market about how they can support you in meeting the Well-being of Future Generation Goals.
  • Test your procurement strategy with the market, including how you wish to evaluate bids, what a good response might look like. Early sight of evaluation will give suppliers more time to respond to tenders and increases the likelihood of better responses.

Useful resources:

WRAP Cymru Sustainable Procurement Early Market Engagement Guidance

CCS’s How to carry out early market engagement successfully – Procurement Essentials

Regulation 40, The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 – Preliminary Market Consultations

WPPN 01/20 Social value clauses/community benefits through public procurement

Development of the sourcing strategy Show Hide

Your sourcing strategy development should occur alongside market engagement. As you engage with suppliers you can tweak your strategy based on capacity of the market, the suppliers who can provide the service and the pricing model most suited to the service. Your sourcing strategy should include everything mentioned in “Developing the business need”, “Assessing the market” and “Market consultation and engagement”.


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CIPS Procurement and Supply Cycle

The ‘Procurement and Supply Cycle’ developed by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) includes 13 steps to guide you through the procurement process for goods and services. 

You will have already started on activities that are consistent with the following steps during the ‘Plan’ stage, and will now build on these more substantially: 

  1. Define business needs and develop specification; 
  2. Market analysis and make or buy decision; and
  3. Develop the strategy and plan.


The following steps from the CIPS ‘Procurement and Supply Cycle’ relate most closely to the ‘Define’ stage of the procurement journey. 

  1. Pre-procurement market testing;
  2. Develop documentation and detailed specification; and
  3. Supplier selection to participate in tender.
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Net Zero

Achieving net zero through public procurement involves a strategic approach throughout the commercial lifecycle

  • Build on research and analysis carried out during the ‘Plan’ stage of the procurement journey. Identify users’ needs and how these align with net zero objectives, and assess the market to understand the availability and sustainability of the required goods or services.
  • This stage also includes active engagement with the market and other stakeholders, crucial for understanding their capabilities in meeting net zero goals and for fostering collaborative relationships.
  • Defining a sourcing strategy is a key part of this stage, which should be built upon the early considerations from the planning phase.

Define your sourcing strategy to:

  • Improve social, cultural, environmental, and economic well-being impacts;
  • Align with departmental, organisational, and Welsh Government strategies, priorities, and policies; and
  • Ultimately, support the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Wales Procurement Policy Statement principles.

Your sourcing strategy should also focus on working with a responsive market, particularly encouraging and supporting businesses in Wales, to ensure a holistic approach towards sustainability and economic growth. This comprehensive approach integrates net zero objectives seamlessly into the procurement process.

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We’ve brought together a range of resources to support you at each stage of your procurement journey.

Visit the links below to view the resources relate to this stage.

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