How the Met Office operates — procuring goods, services and works
The Met Office buys a wide range of products and services. These include observational equipment, IT hardware and software, industrial gases, workshop facilities and training services.
Met Office eTendering Portal
Visit our eTendering portal for all Met Office tender activities; please use the appropriate link below.
The Met Office will be using the portal for all its tenders, the system allows suppliers to search for opportunities, make expressions of interest and download tender documents instantaneously.
Recently awarded contracts
A list of recently awarded contracts is available via the above eTendering Portal.
Headquarters building, Exeter
All facilities management services for our HQ building in Exeter are provided by G4S.
Building and plant and grounds maintenance
Conference and events management
Mail handling and stationery
Sports and leisure
For more information, please contact G4S by email: email@example.com
There are a number of methods used by the Met Office to purchase products or services. The method used depends on the contract value, type of product/service, complexity and duration.
Low-value purchases (current threshold <£20,000)
A simple purchase order form with terms and conditions printed on the reverse. Suppliers are usually approached for a quotation (without commitment) prior to order placement. Different conditions apply for services, goods and works.
Government Procurement Card
The Procurement team and selected key purchasers throughout the organisation hold Government Procurement Visa Cards. The cards are primarily used for e-commerce but can be used for other types of purchase, e.g. booking training courses. A VAT invoice is required unless the supplier is VAT-enabled.
A framework agreement is an arrangement where terms and conditions and often pricing are agreed with a supplier for a set period, which then allows orders to be placed quickly without a full tender being completed. A tender exercise is undertaken to set the Framework up in the first instance.
Contracts are set up following either desktop competition (a number of quotations obtained via fax or email); single tender (only in exceptional circumstances) or a full competitive tender exercise. All contracts between £20,000 and £90,000 (budgetary estimate) are awarded using one of these routes.
EU Procurement Directives
The Met Office must observe the requirements laid down under the European Union Procurement Directives for all potential contracts over £90,000 (budgetary estimate). This involves placing an advert in the European Journal inviting Expressions of Interest. All requirements placed in the European Journal are also published on the Met Office eTendering portal. More information is available at the OJEC website .
It is widely acknowledged in the public sector that the best way to obtain 'value for money' is via competition. There is a common misconception that 'value-for-money' equates to 'the cheapest'. The Met Office looks for quality of products and services, as well as competitive prices.
Ideally four or more companies are invited to tender for work. The tender document usually comprises of:
terms of reference for public sector tendering and how tenders must be submitted;
a specification/statement of requirement;
a pricing document/matrix;
conditions of contract;
key contacts and addresses.
The Met Office does not retain a list of preferred suppliers. Specialists throughout the Met Office suggest suppliers using:
Recommendations from other public sector/international organisations
Direct approaches and introductions
The Met Office holds ISO 9001–2000 accreditation and, wherever practical, requires that its suppliers also hold such accreditation.
The Met Office also holds ISO 14001–2004 and will increasingly look for environmentally aware suppliers.
The Met Office's procurement team works with staff to:
provide expert advice on purchasing strategy;
review legal issues surrounding contracts;
ensure compliance with all EU and English legislation;
implement best practice as required by the Office of Government Commerce;
ensure the fair and equitable treatment of suppliers;
prepare all necessary tender and contract documentation;
ensure that value for money is obtained;
highlight 'whole life' and environmental issues and areas of risk.
Note: 'whole life' can be defined as the total cost of owning a product — from its purchase, running costs and maintenance to ultimate disposal.
Prompt payment of suppliers
The Met Office aims to reduce invoice payment times to 10 working days. All valid goods and services invoices received are passed for payment as soon as they have been authorised by Met Office officials responsible for the contract. We are applying this policy to all UK-based suppliers of goods and services but will not be changing our existing contractual terms and conditions.
The Met Office has also signed up to the UK Government's Prompt Payment Code and in embracing the concept of collaborative working, as part of our agreement with them, suppliers are strongly encouraged to adhere to the principles of the code and pass on the faster-payment terms to their own suppliers.
How to submit an invoice
To help the Met Office meet its aim to reduce invoice payment times to 10 working days please follow this simple guide to submitting a valid invoice.
Please ensure your invoices always:
include clear reference to a Met Office Purchase Order number;
clearly describe the goods or services provided;
comply with UK VAT rules, where appropriate, (see HMRC guidance ).
have the correct address.
We recommend that all invoices are emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org, this will enable more efficient, and quicker, processing of your payment.
Measuring prompt payment
Note that we measure payment within 10 working days starting from the day on which our Purchase Ledger team receives a valid invoice. The time to pay ends when the money, paid by either BACS or CHAPS, is received in the supplier's bank account. The Met Office no longer pays suppliers by cheque.
If you have any complaints regarding our handling of supplier invoices please submit them in writing, with a copy of the invoice(s) concerned, to:
For invoice-specific queries email email@example.com
For general procurement queries email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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