Useful links

Below are links to external organisations that we think will be of interest and which will help you as a supplier to the public sector, together with links to other resources that provide relevant information.

BIP Guide to Winning Government Contracts

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The Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts is a website that has been created to help UK businesses of all sizes understand the public sector procurement market and ultimately win public sector contracts. The Guide includes an overview of the public sector marketplace; public procurement procedures and timescales. Guidance on finding contracts; writing bids and on winning contracts. As well as useful legislation updates; how to meet buyers; tips on after-bid procedure; common mistakes explained and jargon busters.

Business Growth Hub

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The Business Growth Hub is part of the Manchester Growth Company. It was set up in 2011 and since then has helped thousands of businesses across Greater Manchester to grow, develop and reach their full potential. They work with ambitious businesses that want to grow their bottom line, boost their profile, and create new business growth. Their aim is to help people to think differently about their business and explore different ways of developing their company.

Chambers of Commerce

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Across the STAR Council boroughs are a number of Chambers of Commerce whose aims are to support local businesses. More information on action and support in individual boroughs can be found on the GM Chamber of Commerce website. In addition, for Trafford, the Altrincham & Sale chamber has its own dedicated portal.

The Chest

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The Chest is the Procurement Portal for contracting authorities in the public sector across England’s north-west region, linking public sector buyers with suppliers. Registration on The Chest is free and support is available including our Guide to Registration and The Chest help desk. You can search for opportunities across one, more or all of the participating authorities. The Chest is where our councils advertise their open tender opportunities.

Contract Procedure Rules

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Four of the STAR Councils have agreed a common set of Contract Procedure Rules (CPRs), which are the rules by which the councils tender their contract opportunities. These rules form part of each council’s constitution and you can read them on the websites of Rochdale Council, Stockport Council, Tameside Council and Trafford Council (starting at page 104).

Our Newest Partners, St Helens and Knowsley, currently follow seperate sets of CPRs until they can fully integrate the common practices and procedures amongst all STAR Partners.

Contracts Finder

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Contracts Finder has been set up by the UK Government to provide a free resource to suppliers who are seeking tender opportunities in the public sector.

Contracts Registers for STAR Councils

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Each STAR Council publishes details of its contracts with suppliers. This information is made available as part of the Councils' requirements to comply with the Local Government Transparency Code. You can use the information that the Councils publish to understand whether they require the supplies and services that your company offers. Links to the STAR Councils' contracts registers are:

Rochdale Council's Contracts Register
Stockport Council's Contracts Register
Tameside Council's Contracts Register
Trafford Council's Contracts Register

To help you understand the information contained in these registers, we have created a guidance document that interprets each of the column headings in the contracts registers.

Crown Commercial Services

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The Crown Commercial Service is the UK Government’s Cabinet Office vehicle for delivering procurement policy, advice and commercial buying activities across central and local government.

Federation of Small Businesses (Manchester & North Cheshire)

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The Federation of Small Businesses is the UK's largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and small business owners.

Find a Tender Service (FTS)

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FTS is the gateway for Suppliers who wish to search for new business opportunities throughout the UK. This is used to advertise UK wide opportunities that are in excess of the Word Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) thresholds. Until 31st December 2020, the UK used OJEU to advertise such opportunities.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority Social Value Framework

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View more detail on the GMCA Social Value Framework including links to the framework documentation.

Greater Manchester Social Value Network (GMSVN)

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The GMSVN has been set up on a voluntary basis to encourage organisations in every sector to seek relevant social, environmental and economic value from everything they do - including service delivery, commissioning and procurement. Social value considers more than just the financial transaction; it also includes happiness, wellbeing, health, inclusion, empowerment, poverty and environmental considerations.

HM Revenue & Customs - Simple Accounting Procedures

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HMRC provide information to help small businesses with record keeping, including a list of simple record keeping software applications some of which meet cash basis and simplified expenses specifications following consultation with HM Revenue and Customs itself. Many of these applications are free.

Information Commissioner’s Office – Data Protection & Freedom of Information Guidance

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The Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. Guidance can be obtained from the ICO on both Data Protection and Freedom of Information.

Interacting with STAR Council Finance Teams

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The finance teams within each STAR Council have produced a one-page fact sheet explaining how best to interact with the finance teams when sending invoices for payment. This will hopefully ensure a speedier payment process for suppliers who are unsure about protocol for submitting invoices. Download the fact sheet for RochdaleStockport, Tameside or Trafford Council as appropriate for your organisation. 

Local Development Agencies

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Each of the councils supported by STAR Procurement has its own local development agency. These are the Rochdale Development Agency, Investing in Stockport, Doing Business in Tameside and Invest in Trafford. These agencies are not-for-profit organisations taking a leading role in driving regeneration and development within their respective boroughs.

Modern Slavery Act

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The Modern Slavery Act was created in 2015 to help eradicate slavery abuses in the UK (and globally). We have created some guidance to assist.

National Procurement Strategy

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The National Procurement Strategy website combines together guidance documents, case study examples of good practice and a host of other resources to enable local government to share with and learn from each other, as well as check their progress against the National Procurement Strategy.

North West Construction Hub

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The NW Construction Hub manages a range of small, medium and large value construction frameworks across England’s north-west region. These frameworks are accessible to public sector clients in the region and the appointed contractors will be interested in understanding the local sub-contractor market place, with opportunities to provide sub-contract services on a myriad of construction projects on the go in the region.

Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU)

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OJEU is the gateway for Suppliers who wish to search for new business opportunities throughout the European Union. Until 31 December 2020, this was used to advertise UK wide opportunities that are in excess of the Word Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) thresholds. From 1 January 2020, the UK uses Find a Tender Service (FTS).


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Local Authorities and linked public sector organisations across Greater Manchester and the wider north west advertise their job opportunities on Greater Jobs. In addition, the Government has a national portal - Find an Apprentice - which showcases all apprenticeship opportunities in Greater Manchester and beyond. If you are offering an apprenticeship within your organisation, this would be a ideal platform to seek candidates for the role.

Small Business Commissioner

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The Small Business Commissioner (SBC) is an independent public body set up by Government under the Enterprise Act 2016 to tackle late payment and unfavourable payment practices in the private sector. The SBC covers the whole of the UK - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The office of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) was launched in December 2017 to ensure fair payment practices for Britain's 5.7 million small businesses, and support them in resolving their payment disputes with larger businesses and bring about culture change. There are a wealth of resources available on the SBC website.

STAR Procurement Joint Committee

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STAR Procurement is overseen by a Joint Committee of elected members representing the STAR Councils, established in 2014 by a Delegation and Joint Committee Agreement. Our governance is open to scrutiny and our committee papers are published online.

Transparency Code Data

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Local Authorities are required to publish a range of information each year. The obligations are contained within the Local Government Transparency Code (2015). You can find the Transparency Code data published by each of the STAR Councils by following the links provided:

Rochdale Transparency Data
Stockport Transparency Data
Tameside Transparency Data
Trafford Transparency Data

The key data relating to procurement is contained in each Council's Contracts Register. Links to these contracts registers is provided under the heading 'Contracts Registers for STAR Councils' above.

YPO Framework Tendering & Subcontracting Opportunities

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Public sector purchasing organisation, YPO, manages close to 100 regional and national frameworks which STAR Councils can access when procuring goods and services. There may be opportunities for you to offer your services as a sub-contractor to suppliers appointed to those frameworks.

Equally, there may be opportunities to become a supplier to YPO, which in turn may lead to opportunities with Stockport, Trafford and Rochdale Councils when they buy through future YPO frameworks. The YPO has included information on its website to guide suppliers through its registration and electronic tendering processes.