Contracts Finder is the Government’s one stop shop for suppliers to find new procurement opportunities across the public sector. The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 require most public sector bodies to use Contracts Finder when advertising their new opportunities and publish contract award information, so that all suppliers have better more direct access to public sector work.
Buyers can register on Contracts Finder by visiting the Contracts Finder Homepage and clicking on the ‘Sign In’ link.
Contracting authorities (excluding all maintained schools, academies, Sixth Form Colleges in England and all contracting authorities in Wales, Scotland Northern Ireland) are required to ensure that any procurement opportunities, above EU thresholds, are published on Contracts Finder (in addition to, or instead of, any other portal or publications route they may currently use). This does not apply where a contracting authority is making an opportunity known to a closed group of suppliers who have already been selected onto a Framework Agreement.
Once a contract has been awarded as a result of a procurement process, contracting authorities (excluding all maintained schools, academies, Sixth Form Colleges in England and all contracting authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) must also publish details of who has won the contract, the contract value and, for procurements between £25,000 and the EU thresholds, indicate whether the winning suppliers is a small business or voluntary sector organisation. This information should also be published in relation to contracts awarded as a result of a framework agreement (e.g. as a result of a mini competition) but only when using framework agreements that have been established after 26 February 2015.
In regard to contract opportunities above £25,000 to the relevant EU Threshold, the requirement to publish on Contracts Finder applies where a contracting authority advertises an opportunity. Where a contracting authority is satisfied it is lawful not to advertise an opportunity (see Advertising requirements for below threshold procurements for further information) and chooses not to advertise the opportunity at all, the requirement to advertise on Contracts Finder does not apply to that contract.
Note: The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 provide the following definition of ‘advertising’
- A contracting authority advertises an opportunity if it does anything to put the opportunity in the public domain or bring the opportunity to the attention of economic operators generally or to any class or description of economic operators which is potentially open-ended, with a view to receiving responses from economic operators who wish to be considered for the award of the contract; and
- Accordingly, a contracting authority does not advertise an opportunity where it makes the opportunity available only to a number of particular economic operators who have been selected for that purpose (whether ad hoc or by virtue of their membership of some closed category such as a framework agreement), regardless of how it draws the opportunity to the attention of those economic operators.
NOTE: The requirement to publish contract award notices on Contracts Finder for contracts above £25,000 applies whether or not the contract opportunity had been advertised.
For more information on Contracts Finder, the information that is required to be published on Contracts Finder and the timing of the publications see the Crown Commercial Service Guidance on the new transparency requirements for publishing on Contracts Finder.