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Find out what we buy, how we work with suppliers and what happens during the tendering process.

Tendering for new contracts with us

Our policy is to acquire goods or services via competition where appropriate. This will of course depend on the value of the requirement and whether a suitable contract is already in place which can be utilised.

All new requirements estimated to be in excess of £173,934 (subject to periodic adjustment), which are not already covered by an existing contract, are procured in accordance with EU Procurement Directives. In most cases this necessitates the publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union requesting registrations of interest for a new contract. Copies of these notices can also be found on our procurement portal.

Understand how we work with suppliers and work towards sustainable procurement in our procurement policy statement.

Government transparency agenda

Government has set out the need for greater transparency across its operations to enable the public to hold public bodies and politicians to account. This includes commitments relating to public expenditure, intended to help achieve better value for money.

As such, alongside other disclosures, we now publish our spending each month and purchase orders to a value greater than £10 000 in CSV files that you can open in desktop spreadsheet applications such as Microsoft Excel.

The factors we consider

We consider a number of areas when assessing offers from suppliers. Best value for money over the life of the requirement is used to ensure that we do not procure on price alone.

A number of factors are considered and, depending on the requirement, might include some or all of the following:

  • Total cost of acquisition, and ownership
  • Quality and fit-for-purpose issues
  • Product or service lead time and delivery schedule
  • Supplier financial and corporate status
  • Product or service support
  • Environmental and sustainability issues
  • Support and maintenance considerations
  • End of life disposal

About us

A centralised procurement function, based at our head office in Southampton, we are responsible for an annual spend of circa £50m with third party suppliers and procuring a wide and diverse range of commodities and services.

Each member of the team has responsibility for different business groups within OS, working collaboratively with the business to ensure that value for money is secured when purchasing. Full details of all procurement team members, with their contact details, can be found on our procurement portal.

Professional training is considered to be a necessity for the entire team and fundamental to ensuring that we all adhere to best practice procurement principles for all procurement projects. As such, all members of the team are expected to study for and achieve membership of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. This professional qualification is recognised throughout industry and the procurement profession.

What we buy

Circa 80% of our expenditure with suppliers is service related. The list below illustrates a sample of the types of goods and services we procure.

Contracts are in place for all of these expenditure categories. However, if you are interested in being considered for any of these areas of expenditure, please contact the Procurement team to ascertain when we will be looking to go back out to the marketplace to agree new contracts for:

  • Computer hardware
  • Software
  • Software development services
  • IT consumables
  • Hosting services
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Surveying equipment
  • GPS equipment
  • Data collection
  • Professional services
  • Marketing services
  • Print floor consumables
  • Print equipment
  • Packaging materials
  • Point of Sale material
  • Temporary staff resources
  • Training services
  • Corporate travel and event management
  • Facilities management
  • Fleet management
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