blue pipes stacked together
We're committed to an open and transparent process, and we follow the EU Procurement Directives.

Managing our procurement


We have two main types of spend:

  • major spend areas, which see our colleagues working directly with contracted suppliers, or
  • ad hoc requirements, which cost less, are managed at a local level
UK Procurement Regulations Thresholds

The Procurement Policy Note (10/21) sets out the thresholds for procurement across all contracting authorities, as defined by the Regulations which includes the water industry.


Thresholds from 1 January 2024 are:


£429,809 £429,809 £5,372,609

(inclusive of VAT)

Our approaches
Advertising opportunities

We use the Achilles Vendor Database to identify suppliers, however, we also post adverts in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

Pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQs)
PQQs are used to shortlist potential contractors, before a tender is issued.


They'll ask questions to determine if your organisation is suitable for the tender, with consideration given to experience and availability.

Invitation to tender (ITT) and requests for proposals (RFP)

Also known as the full tender document, ITTs or RFPs include specifications, requests for prices and assessment of the proposed solution. Scores for submitted tenders are also explained.


At NWL, we prefer to use the e-tendering system 'Ariba'.

Evaluation of tenders
We evaluate and score the tenders we receive.


A panel of key users and business representatives use a set of pre-determined rules to do this.


Tender interviews may be needed after this stage, or requests for further clarification on submitted proposals.

Award of contract
Tenderers will be told of the award of contract.


Our award criteria will be set out in the tender documents.


For any tenders over the EU thresholds, a ten day standstill period will apply before contracts are signed.

We sometimes use e-auctions, where appropriate.


E-auctions are carried out online, and suppliers bid against each other in real-time. 


The award goes to the lowest price or the most economically advantageous tender.

Collaborative procurement
NWL is a consortium member of Selectusonline Ltd.


Other members include United Utilities, Scottish Water and Northern Power Grid. Through this consortium, we may use collaborative procurement.


We may also use collaborative procurement as part of the Cheung Kong Infrastructure Group. Other members of CKI include Northern Gas Networks Ltd, Southern Water and UK Power Networks Holdings.