Selling to the BFI guidance

BFI procures goods, works and services totalling £25 million a year from the private, public and voluntary sectors to meet charitable objectives and to provide high-quality and cost-effective services.


The BFI is committed to working effectively with its suppliers and promoting opportunities for organisations from all sectors to work with the BFI. The information on this page is designed to help organisations understand how the BFI does business and the opportunities which are currently available.

The BFI, as a Charity and a non-departmental public body (NDPB), has to abide by various statutory regulations and internal requirements. To help suppliers, we have published various documents, guidelines and/or regulations.

This guide aims to help potential suppliers understand how we do business and what opportunities are available to work with us.

How the BFI buys

There are three main areas of procurement:

  • Goods.
  • Services (including Consultancy).
  • Works (including Property Maintenance & Construction).

Tender Process

In line with UK and European Union Public Procurement Regulations the BFI has to establish a set of procurement tendering and contracting regulations and procedures, which apply to all its contracts.

This table summarises the procedures we must follow for certain values of contracts/orders. All values are exclusive of VAT.

Value of Order Minimum No of Quotes
Up to £500 One written or verbal quote
£501 to £15,000 Two written quotes
£15,001 to £30,000 Three written quotes

=All orders over £30,000 must be tendered.

£30,001 to £100,000 Invite minimum of 3 companies
£100,001 to £250,000 Invite minimum of 4 companies
Over £250,000 Invite minimum of 5 companies

Total contract value is calculated on the total spend over the life of the contract. For example, a service bought in on a four-year contract at £40,000 a year has a total value of £160,000.

How are tenders advertised?

All tenders above European Union thresholds (over £173,000 currently) are advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), on the BFI e-tendering website, on the government contract notice site and in relevant trade journals where appropriate.

All tenders over £30,000 are advertised on the BFI e-tendering website, on the government contract notice site and in relevant trade journals where appropriate.

Tenders of £30,000 and below may be advertised in various places.

Applying for tender documents

Anyone can apply to be selected to tender for a contract. However, before you can do this you must register as a supplier. Please note registering does not automatically mean you are a supplier to the BFI. It means that you are registered to express an interest in any tender opportunities we have.

Please view the BFI e-tendering website for further details.

Are all tenders advertised?

Some tenders are advertised only to those suppliers who have already been through our supplier selection process and have joined an approved list or framework.

The next steps

We consider all applications that we receive on time using a supplier selection process known as pre qualification. This assesses the application against certain qualifying criteria, including financial suitability, experience and ability to meet the requirements of the contract. Shortlisted applicants are then sent tender documents and invited to submit tenders. Please read the conditions of submission of electronic documents.

Insurance requirements

Before being invited to tender, contractors and nominated sub-contractors must provide evidence of appropriate insurance. The normal minimum insurance cover acceptable to us for any one occurrence or series of occurrences arising out of one event is given below:

Type of Insurance (Where appropriate) Minimum Cover
Public Liability £5 Million
Product Liability £5 Million
Employers Liability £10 Million
Professional Indemnity (if applicable) £2 Million

Insurance requirements may be reduced for some contracts.

Completion of tender documents

We will send notes of guidance with all tender documents. You must complete and return the tender by the given date and time.

Tender opening

All tenders are opened under transparent, fair and strictly controlled conditions, usually by 2 members of staff (one from procurement and one from the tender panel).

Contract award

Contracts are awarded to tenders that represent best value for money by meeting the evaluation criteria, e.g. experience, fitting the specification, technical requirements and financial assessment.

Unsuccessful Tenders

We will notify all unsuccessful tender applicants in writing and offer a debrief.

Transparency Agenda

From 1 April 2011 the BFI became a non-departmental public body (NDPB). In line with its aims for greater transparency in public sector procurement and contracting, the Government has outlined its requirements across all its operations in order for the public to be able to hold public bodies and politicians to account. This includes commitments relating to public expenditure, intended to help achieve better value for money.

As part of the transparency agenda, suppliers and organisations looking to bid for contracts should be aware that if they are awarded a BFI contract we are legally required to publish the details of that contract. In some circumstances, limited redactions will be made to some contracts before they are published in order to comply with existing law.

Freedom of Information

The BFI is committed to open government and to meeting their legal responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Accordingly, all information submitted to a public authority may need to be disclosed by the public authority in response to a request under the Act. The BFI may also decide to include certain information in the publication scheme, which the BFI maintains under the Act.

If a Potential Provider considers that any of the information included in their PQQ is commercially sensitive, it should identify it and explain (in broad terms) what harm may result from disclosure if a request is received, and the time period applicable to that sensitivity.

Potential Providers should be aware that, even where they have indicated that information is commercially sensitive, the BFI might be required to disclose it under the Act if a request is received.

Potential Providers should also note that the receipt of any material marked ‘confidential’ or equivalent by the BFI should not be taken to mean that the BFI accepts any duty of confidence by virtue of that marking.

Further information

This is just an overview of the BFI’s purchasing procedures. More detailed information and any help or guidance on how to register or use ‘In-tend’ can be obtained by contacting:

Nahid Stansfield
Procurement Officer
BFI 21 Stephen Street, London W1T 1LN
Tel: +44 (0)207 957 4827

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