How We Buy

Section 1: Introduction

Humberside Fire & Rescue Service (HFRS) is issuing this guidance to help businesses interested in supplying us for the first time or expanding existing business with us. We buy a wide range of goods and services each year and are keen to ensure value for money and that we work in effective partnerships with our suppliers.

This guide:

  • Gives a brief description of the procurement organisation within HFRS;
  • Explains the role of the Procurement Department;
  • Lists some of the range of goods and services we purchase;
  • Advises you on what you can expect from us and what we shall expect from you in return;
  • Outlines our stance on sustainable procurement, equality and diversity.

Section 2: Our Organisation

HFRS has 30 fire stations and a headquarters in Hull, We respond to emergency incidents across the four unitary council areas that span the Humber Estuary of East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.

We also provide community safety advice, which helps us to reduce risks and to improve:-

  • Community and public safety
  • Business safety and safety at work

What do we do?

We respond to all emergency calls from the public for assistance. Not just fires, but to incidents where members of the community are trapped in vehicles following road traffic collisions, trapped in machinery, or trapped in less life threatening circumstances as well as being called to chemical spillages and toxic emissions. We proactively manage, enforce, and prosecute in areas such as community risk (domestic and commercial premises) and road safety. We also deal with many domestic situations such flooding, storm damage, people unable to gain access to premises, and animals in distress.

 How our procurement is organised?

The procurement hub based at our Service Headquarters is responsible for the procurement and supply of goods and services for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service. Supplier selection is based on overall value for money. Whilst price is important we will always consider other factors such as quality reliability, safety, timely delivery, maintenance and after sales support before arriving at a decision which is the most economically advantageous.

Financial Limits

It is HF&RS policy to adhere to the following rules when obtaining quotes.

  • Under 10,000 (3 quotes where practicable)
  • £10,000 – £50,000 (3 written quotes)
  • £50,000 – Current National Threshold (FTS)
  • Over published National Threshold – FTS compliant process

Section 3: What do we purchase?

HFRS purchases a wide range of products and services. These include:

  • IT supplies & services
  • Uniform
  • PPE
  • Equipment
  • Vehicles & spares
  • Cleaning materials
  • Planned and reactive maintenance
  • Training and development
  • Estate services
  • Stationery and consumables
  • Furniture and furnishings

Section 4: How do we select  suppliers?

HFRS procurement principles look to making the selection of contractors and subsequent award of contract in the most economic and efficient way ensuring that compliance with public procurement regulations are adhered to.

In some instances HFRS will use existing frameworks that are available to the. Fire sector to identify a preferred contractor. HFRS will usually run a mini competition exercise under the terms of the framework between the suppliers who have been listed on the framework.

There may be some instances where the requirement is either very low value or is for a very specific commodity when we will short list suppliers based on reputation, suppliers’ catalogues, trade information or trade exhibitions.

For all other procurement exercises, our preferred route to market is through our e-tendering platform; Forthcoming opportunities will be advertised through this portal and link in with contracts finder

Depending on the anticipated value of the requirement, we may invite a quotation, a tender or a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ). A PQQ is designed to assess a company’s capacity to undertake the work advertised by obtaining financial and technical information from potential suppliers. If a company is successful at PQQ stage, they will be invited to complete a full tender exercise.


In order to preserve the integrity of the competitive process, evaluations of proposal are undertaken objectively, consistently and without bias to particular suppliers. All tender evaluations are undertaken by an evaluation panel to ensure a fair and objective decision is reached.

Due to the nature of our contracts it is unlikely that an award will be made on the basis of price alone.

HFRS will make an award of contract to a supplier based on what it considers the most economically advantageous tender. The award criteria will depend of the type of contract that is to be let. Examples of award criteria are experience, ability to confirm to specification, quality assurance, warranty and cost. This list is not exhaustive and the evaluation criteria will differ from purchase to purchase.


Once an evaluation has been completed bidders will be informed whether successful or not and HFRS will look to finalise contract arrangements subject to any standstill period that may apply.

In accordance with public procurement regulations bidders will be provided with details of their evaluation in relation to the successful bidder and feedback will be provided where requested.

The procurement portal should be utilised during all correspondence with suppliers.

Within the boundaries of commercial confidentially we will provide, on request, feedback to successful and unsuccessful tenderers.

Terms and Conditions:

HFRS conducts business on our own terms and conditions of contract. There are several sets of terms in use, covering various categories of goods and services. The relevant set of terms is always included in the Invitation to Tender package. In more complex tenders bespoke terms and conditions will be applied.

Post contract performance measurement:

We monitor on going performance of our suppliers against agreed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Specific measures will vary from contract to contract, but the broad themes for all suppliers to perform against are:

  • Quality and environmental
  • Commercial
  • Delivery
  • Partnership

Section 5: Who should I approach?

We strongly recommend that all potential suppliers to Humberside Fire and Rescue Services register on our e-tendering platform; (insert link)

Section 6: Sustainable procurement

HFRS is committed to promoting the conservation and improvement of the environment.

Our policy on Sustainable Procurement is:

  • To comply with environmental legislation and regulatory requirements;
  • To promote environmental awareness amongst suppliers and contractors;
  • To buy less environmentally damaging products and services;
  • To consider environmental factors when making procurement decisions; and
  • To develop awareness of environmental issues within the Authority.

HF&RS will:

  • Research and follow guidance relating to the environment;
  • Include environmental conditions or criteria in specification and tender documents where relevant;
  • Evaluate specifications and tenders with appropriate weight given to environmental points; and
  • Encourage suppliers and contractors to support our initiative by taking their own action. Where environmental conditions are specified, evaluation will normally take into account:
  • Regulatory compliance;
  • Environmental effects and performance measures;
  • Existing environmental management procedures; and
  • Commitment to management and process improvement.

Section 7: Equality and Diversity

HFRS values everybody’s contribution and believes that HF&RS success and its future depends on the quality of service that we provide and on gaining the trust of the community we serve. We value the support from our suppliers of goods and services, and see their commitment to this objective playing an important part in helping us to achieve our goal. If everyone is to feel valued and we are to help individuals give their best. Our goal must be to create and sustain a working environment that is fair to all and free from discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying.

Through commitment, action and review, we want to ensure that we have the opportunity to benefit from employment, training and development appropriate to our abilities and regardless of our sex, colour, race, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, age, marital status, working pattern, political persuasion, sexual orientation or gender reassignment. In our approach to contracting with suppliers for the provision of goods and services we look to build business relationships with those suppliers who support and apply similar principles within their own businesses. We expect to see suppliers actively promoting the principles of equality and diversity in their businesses evidenced through their policies and day to day working practises.

A HFRS which is diverse and representative of the local community, and where people value each other, will help us to improve the service we provide to all those who come into contact with us.