Cirrus logo
News Archive

20th January 2015 – Job vacancy at Cirrus for business analyst/consultancy support

Following the promotion of Mike Barnett and Claire Gamble to new procurement consultancy roles within Cirrus Purchasing, we have a vacancy for a new member to join the Cirrus team in the role of business analyst/consultancy support.

15th January 2015 – New Cirrus Consortium Repairs and Maintenance Framework Coming Soon

The Cirrus Consortium is to establish another new framework in April 2015. The Repairs and Maintenance Services Framework will be available for use by existing and new Consortium Members in England, Scotland and Wales.

The framework will cover a wide range of services including; day to day responsive repairs and maintenance, minor works, voids repairs and maintenance, adaptations and out of hours repairs services. Our aim is to be accessible to small and medium sized regional contractors in addition to national contractors, for this reason the framework is split into 11 geographical lots.

Contractors: If you would like to submit a bid to participate in this framework the tender is now available to be viewed and completed online. Please visit the CirrusTenders online tender portal.

The deadline for tender submissions is 12 noon on Monday 23rd February 2015.

Contracting authorities: If you would like further information on how to join the consortium or any of the Cirrus Consortium frameworks please contact:

Claire Gamble Tel: 07828 143935 or email: cgamble@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or

Mike Barnett Tel: 07572 108320 or email: mbarnett@cirruspurchasing.co.uk

For more information about the existing materials framework please visit the Frameworks page of our website.

5th January 2015 – Our consultancy team expands

We are pleased to announce that as part of their continuous professional development Mike Barnett and Claire Gamble have been promoted into new roles as Procurement Consultants with Cirrus Purchasing. Mike and Claire have both worked for Cirrus for a number of years and have successfully delivered millions of pounds of tenders on behalf of Cirrus clients, developing the skills and specialist procurement knowledge necessary to positively support our clients. Along with senior consultant Simon Reed they will be delivering a range of projects for Cirrus clients including:

To find out more about the range of services delivered by the Cirrus Consultancy team visit the Services page of our website.

Contact details for Mike and Claire:

Mike Barnett Tel: 07572 108320 or email: mbarnett@cirruspurchasing.co.uk

Claire Gamble Tel: 07828 143935 or email: cgamble@cirruspurchasing.co.uk

Back to top

23rd December 2014 – New Cirrus Consortium Frameworks

Following the continued success of the materials framework, the Cirrus Consortium is expanding the range of EU compliant frameworks available to its members.

After consultation with the members to identify which frameworks would be most useful for them, we are currently running a tender to establish an agency labour and recruitment services framework. We are expecting this framework to be available for use by existing and new Cirrus Consortium members from April 2015.

The framework will be available for use by all contracting authorities within England, Scotland and Wales, and will cover the following lots:

Organisations interested in bidding on this tender should visit the CirrusTenders online tender portal. The deadline for submissions is noon on 29th January 2015.

A new repairs and maintenance contractors framework is also currently in design and the tender is expected to go live in January 2015. Once the tender process is complete and the framework is operational, this will also be available to new and existing Cirrus Consortium members. More information regarding this framework will be available in January.

If you would like further information on how to join the consortium or any of the Cirrus Consortium frameworks please contact:

Mike Barnett Tel: 07572 108320 or email: mbarnett@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or

Claire Gamble Tel: 07828 143935 or email: cgamble@cirruspurchasing.co.uk

For more information about the existing materials framework please visit the Frameworks page of our website.

Cirrus Purchasing moves head office

Cirrus Purchasing are relocating to a new address on the 10th November, 2014.
Our new office and postal address is:

12 Hilbre Court
South Parade
West Kirby
Wirral
CH48 3JU

All other contact details, including phone and email, remain the same (see the Contact Us page).

17th June 2014 - M&Y improve efficiency following Cirrus review

Link to Housing Excellence Awards Shortlist 2012

M&Y, the repairs and maintenance arm of the Regenda Group, have achieved significant reductions in operative downtime and back office costs following a review of materials supply and internal stores arrangements by Cirrus Purchasing. After a period of rapid growth, M&Y commissioned the Cirrus team ...[more]

14th May 2014 – Cirrus Purchasing carbon negative for 2014

Having conducted the annual assessment of our combined carbon production across the business we have chosen to offset beyond our calculated carbon emissions making Cirrus a carbon negative company since 2011.

Offsetting Certificate 2014.


We have chosen to continue to support a tree planting scheme in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, where planted trees not only help offset carbon dioxide, but also help alleviate poverty through providing employment opportunities as well as providing habitats to support the local ecosystem. More information about the scheme can be found at http://www.carbonfootprint.com/plantingtreesinkenya.html

In addition to offsetting the carbon we produce we continue to minimise the amount of carbon we use. For example, our target for 2014/15 is to use public transport for 75% of all business travel.

Back to top

15th January 2014 – European Parliament approves new EU procurement rules

The European Parliament has approved the draft new public procurement legislation. The UK will now have up to two years to fully implement the new rules, although the UK government has indicated that it intends to adopt the new legislation early.

The new rules are designed to reduce “red tape”, reduce barriers for SME bidders and support common societal goals such as environment, employment and social inclusion.

For more details please visit our Resources page.

1st January 2014 - New EU threshold values

The new EU threshold values for public sector procurement from 1st January 2014 to 31st December 2015 are as follows:

Works: 5,186,000 Euros = £4,322,012
Supplies: 207,000 Euros = £172,514
Services: 207,000 Euros = £172,514

While this represents an increase in the Euro threshold values of approximately 3.5%, due to exchange rate changes the Pound sterling thresholds have moved by less than 1% compared to previous thresholds, so the operational impact for contracting authorities is minimal.

Contracting authorities will need to ensure both staff and policy documentation are updated with the new values.

15th October 2013 – Changes to TUPE legislation

There has been a significant change in the planned update of TUPE legislation in the UK. The current legislation, Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, is due to be updated to bring it more in line with the European Acquired Rights Directive.

One of the most significant planned changes was the proposal to remove service provision changes from the scope of TUPE. This would impact on situations where a change of service provider/contractor occurs, for example following a tender. Under the current legislation, staff engaged by the existing contractor/provider may have rights under TUPE to transfer to the new provider/contractor, which is seen as a ‘gold plating’ of the European Directive. The update to TUPE was intended to repeal this situation, so simply changing from one contractor to another would not necessarily create any TUPE liability.

Following an extensive consultation by the government, this planned change has been abandoned following a significant response from interest groups advising the service provision change should not occur.

A number of other changes to TUPE will still take place under the new update, however without the service provision change the impact on buyers will be relatively minor.

The changes to be implemented are expected to be introduced in January 2014.

For more details please visit our Resources page.

30th June 2013 – launch of the new Cirrus Consortium Materials Framework

Following the continued success of our previous building materials supply frameworks, we are proud to announce the launch of the new Cirrus Consortium Materials Framework. The tender for the new framework (the 3rd Edition) was completed in June 2013 and the framework will last for 4 years until June 2017.

The Materials Framework is fully compliant with EU public procurement legislation and is available for use to all contracting authorities particularly Registered Providers, Local Authorities and ALMOs in England, Wales and Scotland.

19 leading suppliers are available to use through the framework across 4 lots:

For more details please visit our Frameworks page, or to download our PDF information sheet click here.

27th June 2013 – Cirrus environmental impact reduced, and carbon negative for 2013

Our annual assessment of our combined carbon production across the business through Carbonfootprint.com has identified that the overall environmental impact of Cirrus Purchasing has fallen by 17%. Cirrus has not just offset this impact to a carbon neutral position, but instead we have offset beyond our calculated carbon emissions. We are therefore proud to confirm that we are a carbon negative company for the third consecutive year.

Offsetting Certificate 2013.


Our chosen verified carbon programme is a tree planting scheme in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, where planted trees not only help offset carbon dioxide, but also help alleviate poverty through providing employment opportunities as well as providing habitats to support the local ecosystem. More information about the scheme can be found at http://www.carbonfootprint.com/plantingtreesinkenya.html

In addition to offsetting the carbon we produce we also strive to minimise the amount of carbon we use through: Teleworking to reduce commuting mileage, targeting for 75% of all business travel to be by public transport and extensive use of mobile and cloud technologies to ensure low carbon communications and processes.

As a result of our environmental approach to business Cirrus Purchasing is also as close to a paperless office as is possible. Across the whole company, Cirrus staff have collectively used less than 1,000 sheets of A4 paper (2 reams) in the last 12 months, equating to less than 1 sheet of paper per employee per day. By comparison, the government backed Envirowise have stated “experience shows that in a best practice small office, employees will use as little as 15 sheets of paper a day compared to a less resourceful office where each person can squander a staggering 100 sheets of paper per day”.

Back to top

30th May 2013 - Value tendered through CirrusTenders exceeds £2 billion

The CirrusTenders online tender system has reached yet another significant milestone, with over £2 billion worth of tenders having now been successfully delivered through the system. The number of companies registered to use CirrusTenders also continues to rise and there are now more than 6,600 bidders registered to use the system.

For more information or to see current tenders visit the CirrusTenders website.

2nd April 2013 - Cirrus Consortium Materials Framework continues to grow

The Cirrus Consortium Materials Framework, an EU compliant framework covering a number of sector leading building materials suppliers, continues to be a popular choice for social housing and local authority buyers.

Over the last 12 months uptake of the framework by contracting authorities has increased significantly, with a 50% increase in expenditure on materials and 37% more organisations choosing to use the framework. With a wide range of merchants to choose from and millions of pounds of purchases every month, the framework has a proven track record of delivering value for money and efficiency for consortium members.

For more information about the framework and how it could benefit your organisation please visit the Frameworks page of our website.

4th February 2013 - Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 came into force from the 31st January 2013.

The Act requires affected purchasing bodies to consider the economic, social and environmental benefits and impacts when tendering for services over the current EU public procurement services threshold (£173,934). The Act does not apply to the procurement of goods and works contracts, below threshold service contracts, or to call off contracts from a framework agreement.

For more information on the Act and how to integrate its requirements into your procurement activity and policy documentation please contact the Cirrus team.

Back to top

1st October 2012 - New eProcurement targets planned

Another characteristic of the proposed new EU procurement rules is the proposal to enforce the switch to 100% electronic communication within 2 years. The UK government has stated that the timescale may be problematic and is lobbying for a longer lead in to full eProcurement, but has stated that it “will encourage the rapid take-up of eProcurement in the UK, to achieve undoubted benefits”.

Cirrus sees this direction of travel as positive, as eProcurement has tangible environmental and efficiency benefits. The Cirrus team supports eProcurement having achieved 100% electronic tenders since June 2008 via our own eTender system, CirrusTenders. If you wish to implement eProcurement ahead of this target, CirrusTenders is available to use on a subscription basis. To subscribe to CirrusTenders or for more information please click here to contact a member of the Cirrus team.

To visit the CirrusTenders website and for online information click here.

30th June 2012 – CirrusTenders exceeds 6000 bidders

CirrusTenders online tendering system continues to go from strength to strength and now has over 6000 companies registered as bidders to use the system.

For more information or to see current tenders visit the CirrusTenders website.

22nd May 2012 – Cirrus carbon negative for 2012

Following our annual assessment of our combined carbon production across the business through Carbonfootprint.com Cirrus has not just offset to a carbon neutral position, but instead we have offset beyond our calculated carbon emissions. We are therefore proud to confirm that we are a carbon negative company for the second consecutive year.

Offsetting Certificate 2012.


Our chosen verified carbon programme is a tree planting scheme in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, where planted trees not only help offset carbon dioxide, but also help alleviate poverty through providing employment opportunities as well as providing habitats to support the local ecosystem. More information about the scheme can be found at http://www.carbonfootprint.com/plantingtreesinkenya.html

In addition to offsetting the carbon we produce we also strive to minimise the amount of carbon we use through: Teleworking to reduce commuting mileage, targeting for 90% of all business travel to be by public transport and extensive use of mobile and cloud technologies to ensure low carbon communications and processes.

As a result of our environmental approach to business Cirrus Purchasing is also as close to a paperless office as is possible. As a company we have collectively used less than 2,500 sheets of A4 paper (5 reams) in the last 2 years, equating to less than 1 sheet of paper per employee per day. As a comparison, the government backed Envirowise have stated “experience shows that in a best practice small office, employees will use as little as 15 sheets of paper a day compared to a less resourceful office where each person can squander a staggering 100 sheets of paper per day”.

Back to top

30th April 2012 – Cirrus working with Liverpool University Careers & Employability Service

When recruiting staff Cirrus has worked closely with Liverpool University Careers & Employability Service to find high quality graduates to join the team. Claire Gamble is the fourth and most recent graduate to be recruited by Cirrus.

Cirrus Purchasing was featured in the April edition of the Graduate to Merseyside Business Bulletin:

“A savvy local firm has embraced the technological revolution by setting up a remote working arrangement with its recent intake of graduates who were recruited through Graduate to Merseyside. Wirral based Cirrus Purchasing recognised that the virtual office was the best way to reduce costs and empower staff, and with £1.2 billion of tenders managed in the last three years by its web-based electronic tendering service, it was also a sure way to deliver results. The most recent graduate was Claire Gamble from Leeds University who joined Liverpool University graduate Nathan Whittaker in 2012 as a Business Analyst. So how is Cirrus taking some of the risk out of recruiting?”

To read the full article click here.

10th April 2012 - Housing Excellence Awards Finalists for fourth consecutive year

Link to Housing Excellence Awards Shortlist 2012

We are proud to announce that Cirrus Purchasing are finalists in the Housing Excellence Awards 2012.

Cirrus Purchasing has been shortlisted as finalists for the fourth consecutive year in the category of Consultant of the Year.

The Awards will be held on 9th May 2012 at Lancashire County Cricket Ground.

Back to top

2nd March 2012 - Cirrus wins new Outsourced Procurement contracts

A growth area for Cirrus in the last year has been Outsourced Procurement. We have won major new contracts to become the Outsourced Procurement team for 3 Housing Association clients.

Through our outsourced procurement department service we manage core procurement team functions including advice and support and more hands on delivery of tender activities. The role of the service is to provide an effective alternative solution to a directly employed purchasing manager.

Our approach to effective delivery is to be practical, hands-on, and most importantly; team-based. Having a team-based approach allows us to apply the flexible capacity necessary to ensure delivery of objectives, as well as ensuring continuity of support throughout the year. Clients therefore have access to a team of procurement specialists able to deliver targets and outputs over and above the day to day advice and internal support expected of a purchasing manager role.

The service is tailored to meet individual client needs and delivered through scheduled onsite time to co-ordinate specific activities, telephone support, staff training and regular drop in surgery days.

For more information contact:

Simon Reed Tel: 07828 121270 or email: sreed@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or

Phil Williams Tel: 07828 143935 or email: pwilliams@cirruspurchasing.co.uk

7th February 2012 - New member of the Cirrus team

As a result of our continued success, Cirrus is expanding. We are pleased to welcome Claire Gamble to the team. Claire joins us in the role of Business Analyst/Consultancy Support.

Claire will provide project and research support and will be responsible, along with Mike Barnett and Nathan Whittaker, for administering our unique online on-demand e-tender solution CirrusTenders.

Claire can be contacted via cgamble@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07828 143935

17th November 2011 – KHT Successful Contractor Open Day

As an alternative to having a directly employed procurement function Knowsley Housing Trust have embarked on an innovative partnership with Cirrus Purchasing in which they have engaged Cirrus to be their outsourced buying team. Cirrus are currently responsible for all aspects of KHT’s procurement including large scale tenders, a supplier rationalisation programme and development of new procurement policies and procedures for the group. This highly successful partnership has now been in place since April 2011.

As part of this partnership Cirrus are currently undertaking a £10 million reprocurement of KHT’s subcontractors across multiple categories of repairs, voids and capital and planned works. In order to raise awareness of and accessibility to the subcontractors framework tenders which are currently in progress, an open day aimed at SMEs and local businesses was held on 14th November by KHT’s Corporate Social Responsibility team and Cirrus.

The successful contractor open day explained how the framework tender process works and provided information on the use of the etender platform CirrusTenders where the tenders are currently advertised. The closing date for the tenders is 30th November 2011.

“This is the first time we have held an open day for our smaller contractors and social enterprises and we were overwhelmed with the response. 48 people attended to find out more about the opportunity and it gave us some really good feedback about how we can work more effectively in the future. The event highlights our commitment to Social Responsibility and our commitment to listening to our partners and working with them to deliver the best possible services for our tenants” Louise Harris, KHT.

“It was good to see interest in the First Ark Group from so many local contractors and we are pleased with the positive feedback we’ve received. Where appropriate further supplier days for the First Ark Group will be held to engage with local business, and the feedback we have received will help us to deliver improved sessions that address as many concerns of local Knowsley business as we can” Phillip Williams, Cirrus Purchasing.

If you are a supplier wishing to trade with KHT then click here to visit the KHT website for further information.

1st October 2011 – OGC website has moved

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has always acted as a resource for procurement guidance for the public sector. With the reorganisation of government departments the OGC is now part of the Efficiency and Reform Group within the Cabinet Office.

From the 1st October 2011 any guidance and other procurement information will be published at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

Back to top

26th August 2011 – CirrusTenders exceeds 5000 bidders

CirrusTenders online tendering system now has over 5000 companies registered as bidders to use the system and a growing number of clients.

For more information or to see current tenders visit the CirrusTenders website.

1st July 2011 - Cirrus becomes a carbon negative company

As part of our commitment to environmental sustainability Cirrus Purchasing is proud to confirm that we are now a carbon negative company.

In addition to our extensive carbon reduction initiatives such as targeted 90% of all business travel by public transport, teleworking for staff to reduce commuting mileage, promotion of a paperless work environment and extensive use of mobile and cloud technologies to ensure low carbon communications and processes, we have now completed a carbon offsetting project with Carbonfootprint.com

Following an assessment of our combined carbon production across the business, Cirrus decided to not just offset to a carbon neutral position, but instead exceed our calculated carbon emissions by approximately 25%, meaning as a business we are carbon negative.

Offsetting Certificate.


Our chosen verified carbon programme is a tree planting scheme in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, where planted trees not only help offset carbon dioxide, but also help alleviate poverty through providing employment opportunities as well as providing habitats to support the local ecosystem. More information about the scheme can be found at http://www.carbonfootprint.com/plantingtreesinkenya.html

Back to top

21st June 2011 - CIPS Awards Finalists for second consecutive year

We are proud to announce that for the second consecutive year Cirrus Purchasing are finalists in the prestigious Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Supply Management Awards. These awards are national cross sector awards that celebrate excellence in Purchasing and Supply Management.

In the 2011 shortlist announced today, Cirrus Purchasing is one of only three finalists in the category of Best Purchasing Initiative by an SME for our highly acclaimed eTender system CirrusTenders (www.cirrustenders.co.uk)

This is a great achievement amidst strong competition as Cirrus Purchasing is the smallest of all the companies to be shortlisted in any of the 10 group categories this year.

The awards will be held on 14th September 2011 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

For further details of our awards, achievements and testimonials from our clients, visit our Testimonials page.

1st June 2011 - Staffordshire County Council Framework success

Following the successful completion of an OJEU tender process, Cirrus Purchasing has been awarded a place as one of three appointed operators on the Staffordshire County Council Framework for the Provision of Procurement Services. The framework covers the provision of services to schools in Staffordshire on behalf of the Staffordshire Procurement team.

We look forward to the opportunity to work with both the Staffordshire Procurement team and with schools in Staffordshire to support them in the procurement of products and services. For information about Staffordshire Procurement click here.

12th May 2011 – Cirrus public transport performance 2010/11

As part of our environmental policy we monitor all business travel to optimise our use of public transport and minimise our carbon footprint wherever possible. For 2010/11 we have achieved 86% of all business travel throughout the UK by public transport, with only 14% being undertaken by car.

This equates to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 5 tonnes compared to equivalent travel by car.

Our Environmental Policy target for 2011/12 is for 90% of all business travel to be by public transport. For this year we are expanding our environmental monitoring to include recording car sharing in situations where travel by public transport is not possible.

14th April 2011 - Housing Excellence Awards Finalists for third consecutive year

We are proud to announce that Cirrus Purchasing are finalists in the Housing Excellence Awards 2011.

Cirrus Purchasing has been shortlisted as finalists for the third consecutive year in the category of Consultant of the Year.

The Awards will be held on 11th May 2011 at Lancashire County Cricket Ground.

Back to top

27th January 2011 - Launch of EC Green Paper

Revised EU procurement legislation is due to be published in 2012, which is expected to be a radical overhaul of the current legislative framework.

The European Commission has announced that it will:

“conduct wide consultations in order to make legislative proposals by early 2012 at the latest, with a view to simplifying and updating the European public procurement legislation so as to make the award of contracts more flexible and enable public contracts to be put to better use in support of other policies”.

As part of this consultation the EC has launched a Green Paper - The modernisation of EU public procurement policy: Towards a more efficient European Procurement Market.

For a copy of the Green Paper click here or visit our Resources page.

As the process towards the new legislation continues, we will keep you updated here.

2nd December 2010 - SME tendering toolkit launched

Cirrus Purchasing have been working with RLK Partnerships and The Confederation of Social Entrepeneurs (CoSE) as part of the Liverpool Procurement Facilitation project. The aim of the project is to provide one to one support to local SMEs looking to tender to public bodies and also work with public bodies to support and develop the local SME market.

As part of this project Cirrus have produced a toolkit for Liverpool based SMEs who wish to supply to Registered Providers of Social Housing. This toolkit is a practical guide for SMEs and explains the key issues to be aware of when considering supplying to the social housing sector.

The toolkit, entitled Supplying to Registered Providers of Social Housing – an Introductory Guide, was launched on 2nd December as part of the successful SME Procurement Facilitation Event organised by RLK Partnerships.

To download copy of the toolkit please click here or visit our Resources page.

For more information about the project please visit the CoSE website

29th November 2010 - Cirrus Consortium Launched Today

Following the success of the Cirrus Materials Framework launched in May 2009 Cirrus Purchasing are proud to announce the Cirrus Consortium Materials Framework. The Framework is the first to be first to be launched under the Cirrus Consortium which currently includes 12 Registered Providers of Social Housing.

The Consortium is lead principally by Viridian Facilities Management along with other Registered Providers, working together to produce a more effective and efficient procurement process. Cirrus Purchasing will manage the frameworks on behalf of the consortium.

This fully EU compliant framework is now available for use at no cost to all Social Housing organisations in England, Wales and Scotland.

For more details please visit our Frameworks page, or to download our PDF information sheet click here.

Alternatively contact Phillip Williams via pwilliams@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07828 143935

1st November 2010 – CirrusTenders exceeds 4000 bidders

CirrusTenders online tendering system now has over 4000 companies registered as bidders to use the system and a growing number of clients.

For more information or to see current tenders visit the CirrusTenders website.

Back to top

20th October 2010 - Government Spending Review announced

The Government has announced its spending plans in the Spending Review 2010.

For more information visit the HM Treasury website or to view and download a copy of the Spending Review in PDF format visit our Resources page.

25th August 2010 - New members of the Cirrus team

As a result of our continued success, Cirrus is expanding. We are pleased to welcome Mike Barnett and Nathan Whittaker to the team. Mike and Nathan join us as Business Analysts/Consultancy Support.

Mike and Nathan will provide project and research support and will be responsible for administering our unique online on-demand e-tender solution CirrusTenders.

Mike can be contacted via mbarnett@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07572 108320

Nathan can be contacted via nwhittaker@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07572 108323

Back to top

15th June 2010 - CIPS Supply Management Awards 2010 Finalists

We are proud to announce that Cirrus Purchasing are finalists in the prestigious Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Supply Management Awards 2010.

Cirrus Purchasing has been shortlisted along with six other companies nationally in the category of Most Improved Purchasing Operation – start up.

This year's awards has seen more entrants than ever before with 222 entries across the eight team and two individual categories.

The Awards will be held on 8th September 2010 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

3rd May 2010 – Cirrus exceeds 2009/10 environmental target

For 2009/10 we have achieved 92% of all business travel by public transport, with only 8% being undertaken by car. This exceeds our Environmental Policy target of 90%.

Back to top

30th April 2010 - Housing Excellence Awards Finalists

We are proud to announce that Cirrus are finalists in three categories of the Housing Excellence Awards 2010.

Cirrus Purchasing and CirrusTenders have been shortlisted for the second consecutive year for Consultant of the Year and Product of the Year.

CirrusTenders has also been shortlisted in the category of Innovation in Housing Technology.

Many thanks to Trafford Housing Trust for their nominations.

The Awards will be held on 12th May 2010 at the Palace Hotel, Manchester.

28th March 2010 - TSA Regulatory Framework for Social Housing in England

Following consultation the TSA has published the new regulatory framework. The full document entitled "The regulatory framework for social housing in England from April 2010" is available to download from our Resources page.

25th March 2010 – CirrusTenders reaches 3000 bidders landmark

CirrusTenders online tendering system now has over 3000 companies registered as bidders to use the system and a growing number of clients.

For more information or to see current tenders visit the CirrusTenders website.

Back to top

11th February 2010 - TSA National Standard planned for April 2010

Tenant Services Authority National Standard: Securing Value for Money

The TSA has introduced through the new Regulatory Framework a National Standard on VFM with the expectation of a Local Standard to be developed in 2010/11:

“In meeting all national standards and their local standards, registered providers have a comprehensive approach to managing their resources to provide cost-effective, efficient, quality services and homes to meet tenants’ and potential tenants’ needs.”

Specifically, TSA expect landlords to publish information for tenants at least once a year showing:

The full document entitled "A new regulatory framework for social housing in England. A statutory consultation" is available to download from our Resources page.

Housing organisations should update their strategies accordingly.

9th December 2009 - New Remedies come into effect

The new Public Contracts (Amendment) Regulations 2009 #2992 come into effect from 20th December 2009. These new rules govern the rights of bidders (and obligations of contracting authorities) in respect of challenges against potential non-compliant EU tender procedures.

Key changes include:

The purpose of the changes are to reduce the obstacles to bidders mounting effective challenges where potential infractions of the legislation are identified. The impact for buying organisations is an increase in the administrative workload associated with managing a tender (particularly around feedback) and an increased and extended risk of disruption through challenge.

These new obligations apply to tenders commenced after 20th December 2009. Tenders already underway on this date are governed by the existing Remedies legislation.

Full copies of the EU Directive and the new Public Contracts Regulations can be accessed from the Resources page of our website.

Organisations should ensure purchasing staff are familiar with the additional requirements before undertaking any new EU procurement exercises.

4th December 2009 - New EU threshold values to come into effect

The new EU threshold values for public sector procurement due come into effect from 1st January 2010 have been announced:-

Works: 4,845,000 Euros = £3,927,260
Supplies: 193,000 Euros = £156,442
Services: 193,000 Euros = £156,442

The full document is available to download from our Resources page.

Housing providers will need to ensure both staff and policy documentation are updated with the new values.

18th November 2009 – CirrusTenders reaches 2000 bidders landmark

CirrusTenders online tendering system now has over 2000 companies registered as bidders to use the system and a growing number of clients.

For more information or to see current tenders visit the CirrusTenders website.

Back to top

21st September 2009 – Cirrus exceeding 2009/10 environmental targets

As part of our environmental policy Cirrus Purchasing have a target for 90% of business travel to be by public transport. Our year to date performance is 95%, with only 5% of business travel undertaken by car.

Cirrus intend to become a Carbon Neutral company by the end of the year.

11th August 2009 - UK Government scraps website fees

The government has dropped the charges to suppliers to access tenders through www.supply2.gov.uk portal from August 2009. Previously, free access was limited to a very small geographical area with all other tenders on a subscription basis. The website will now be free to use, as is the equivalent site operated by the Welsh Assembly Government, www.sell2wales.co.uk

Debasish Sen, trade and industry committee member at the Federation of Small Businesses, said

"FSB research shows that half of SMEs do not tender for public contracts because the process is too complicated and the contracts are too difficult to find in the first place."

6th July 2009 – CirrusTenders reaches 1500 bidders landmark

CirrusTenders online tendering system now has over 1500 companies registered as bidders to use the system and a growing number of clients.

For more information or to see current tenders visit the CirrusTenders website.

Back to top

11th May 2009 - Recent project featured in LHT press release

The success of our recent phase of Second Generation Partnering projects with Liverpool Housing Trust and their contractors has been recognised in a press release. For more information click here.

16th April 2009 - Housing Excellence Awards Finalists

Following our nominations for the Housing Excellence Awards 2009 we are proud to announce that Cirrus are finalists in two categories.

Cirrus Purchasing has been shortlisted along with 4 other nominees nationally in the category of Consultant of the Year.

CirrusTenders has also been shortlisted with 4 other nominees for Product of the Year.

Our thanks once again to Liverpool Housing Trust and Helena Partnerships for their nominations.

The Awards will be held on 13th May 2009 at the Palace Hotel, Manchester.

9th April 2009 – CirrusTenders reaches 1000 bidders landmark

CirrusTenders online tendering system now has over 1000 companies registered as bidders to use the system and a growing number of clients.

For more information or to see current tenders visit the CirrusTenders website.

Back to top

17th March 2009 - Cirrus Materials Framework launched today

Cirrus Purchasing have today started the tender process to establish our own National Materials Supply Framework to provide added flexibility for our clients.The tender can be accessed via the CirrusTenders website. The deadline for submissions is 27th April 2009.

We expect that this fully EU compliant framework will be available for use at no cost to Social Housing organisations by the end of May 2009.

For more details please contact Phillip Williams via pwilliams@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07828 143935

26th February 2009 - Award nominations for Cirrus Purchasing and CirrusTenders

Cirrus are delighted to have been nominated for two categories of the Housing Excellence Awards 2009.

Our thanks to Liverpool Housing Trust for nominating Cirrus Purchasing for Consultant of the Year.

Thanks also to Helena Partnerships for nominating our etender platform CirrusTenders for Product of the Year.

The Awards will be held on 13th May 2009 at the Palace Hotel, Manchester.

26th January 2009 - Cirrus Tenders – Over 900 bidders now registered.

Our online e-tendering system CirrusTenders now has over 900 companies registered as bidders to use the system and a growing number of clients. Since its launch in June 2008 a variety of tenders have been completed using the system including:

Feedback from clients includes:

“CirrusTenders has definitely provided us many benefits and so far everyone is very pleased with the way things have gone”.

“Thanks for your help. The electronic submissions for PQQs (and the data about those who didn’t see it through) has been really handy and I’ll be sure to extol its virtues".


For more information or to see current tenders visit the CirrusTenders website.

17th November 2008 – Cirrus Tenders - 500th bidder registered today.

Link to CirrusTenders online e-tender service

Our online e-tendering system CirrusTenders now has over 500 companies registered as bidders to use the system. Since its launch in June 2008 over £220 million of tenders have been handled through the system including tenders for three major housing consortia and a number of individual housing organisations.

Feedback from bidders includes:

“We found the site user friendly and the process clear and simple”.

“The last day of filling in a tender is usually a mad panic, this was different everything was on the website and all we had to do was answer the questions, click submit and it was done”.


For more information or to see current tenders visit the CirrusTenders website.

Back to top

6th November 2008 - A first for Development in Northern Ireland.

Cirrus Purchasing are managing the first ever Development Framework in Northern Ireland on behalf of Abacus Housing Consortium. Abacus are the first of the four new procurement consortia to tender for their Development Framework following the new Procurement Strategy issued by the Department for Social Development (DSD).

The four year framework has an estimated value of £150 million. This major procurement activity is being delivered through our eProcurement system CirrusTenders . The Contract Notice was issued to the EU on Friday 31st October.

For more information or to bid for the Abacus tender, visit the CirrusTenders website

18th September 2008 - Fusion21 use Cirrus eTender system.

Fusion21 launched their facilities management services tender today using the CirrusTenders system.

The Gold Award winning consortium from Merseyside is taking advantage of the process improvement and reduced environmental impact to use the online tendering system to establish national agreement for 16 categories of services.

For more information or to bid for the Fusion or other current tenders, visit the CirrusTenders website

15th September 2008 - EU issue new CPV codes

The EU have issued a new set of Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) codes to be used when defining goods, works and services to be purchased in accordance with public procurement legislation.

These codes replace the existing CPVs, issued in 2003, and affect both buyers classification and also suppliers and contractors with profiles set with tender notification services.

1st September 2008 - New addition to the Cirrus team

We are pleased to welcome Maeve Jackson to the Cirrus team. Maeve joins us from a career in the education sector as Operations Manager, and will be responsible for business infrastructure, quality management and support services. Maeve can be contacted at mjackson@cirruspurchasing.co.uk.

Case law affects lawful use of EU award criteria

The recent ruling by the High Court in the case of Letting International Limited vs London Borough of Newham has an impact on the interpretation of requirements for publication of award criteria for EU tender procedures. ...[more]

20th June 2008 - CirrusTenders launch a success

Link to CirrusTenders online e-tender service

The launch of our new web based e-tendering solution at CIH Harrogate Housing Conference 2008 has been greeted with significant interest already.

Early interest has been received from a number of housing associations and consortia, including Procurement for Housing who will run their forthcoming Waste Management tender through the CirrusTenders system.

For more information visit the CirrusTenders welcome page or contact Simon Reed on sreed@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07828 121270

Back to top

17th June 2008 - Cirrus featured in Audit Commission best practice DVD

The Audit Commission has released a DVD of procurement best practice case studies including the award winning 2nd Generation partnering model developed and delivered by Cirrus. Full details can be found on the Audit Commission website, or click the image below to view the Cirrus/LHT project film (wmv format).

For a lower resolution file please visit our Resources page.

Link to Audit Commission Best Practice DVD case study of Cirrus 2nd Generation Partnering project

May 2008 - Coming Soon... Revolutionary on-line tendering from Cirrus

Following months of research and development Cirrus will be launching our new paperless fully automated electronic tendering solution at this years CIH Harrogate Housing Conference 16-18th June 2008.

Designed to eliminate all paper from the process and automate workflow and bidder response collation, CirrusTenders is a web-based on demand tendering solution that levels the playing field between all sizes of bidding companies, reduces administrative costs associated with the tender process (particularly large scale EU compliant tenders) and provides a rock solid audit trail on demand.

A fully encrypted dedicated server stores all tenders which are created dynamically in response to the needs of individual purchasing organisations, and allows bidders to express an interest, register, access and complete tenders online.

For more information contact Simon Reed on sreed@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07828 121270

25th April 2008 - New member of the team joins Cirrus

As a result of our continued success, Cirrus is expanding. We are pleased to welcome Chris Brennan, who became a permanent addition to the team in April following a successful six month placement.

Chris provides project and research support and is responsible for administering our unique online on-demand e-tender solution CirrusTenders.

Chris can be contacted via cbrennan@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07877 302540

Back to top

1st February 2008 - Audit Commission publish Procurement Research

Cirrus are proud to have contributed to the Audit Commission research project "Better Buys: Improving housing association procurement practice" which identifies opportunities for widespread efficiency and skills improvements across the sector. More information is available from the Audit Commission website and the full report can be downloaded from our Resources page.

1st January 2008 - EU Publish New Threshold Values

The EU today released the new threshold values for public sector procurement. Valid for the next two years, the new thresholds for social landlords are:-

Works: 5,150,000 Euros = £3,497,313
Supplies: 206,000 Euros = £139,893
Services: 206,000 Euros = £139,893

The full document is available to download from our Resources page.

Housing providers will need to ensure both staff and policy documentation are updated with the new values.

21st December 2007 - Green Transport Target Acheived

As part of the Cirrus environmental policy we travel wherever possible by public transport to reduce the carbon impact of our business. Our company target is that at least than 90% of all business travel is made by public transport.

Our performance against target for the year to date now exceeds target at 91%, with only 9% of all business journeys not being made by public transport.

2nd Generation Partnering Project Scoops Constructing Excellence Award!

The ground-breaking contractor efficiency reviews developed by Cirrus (under our previous company name of Cost Focus Consulting) in partnership with Liverpool Housing Trust Property Services team has scooped the prestigious North West Business Award...[more]

Cirrus train Audit Commission on procurement

Following a highly successful session with the Housing Inspectorate held in January 2007, the Audit Commission have invited Cirrus consultant Simon Reed to provide training to the Housing Inspectorate on how to assess procurement ...[more]

New consultant joins Cirrus

As a result of our continued success, Cirrus is expanding. We are proud to welcome Phil Williams, who joins the team in May as procurement consultant.
Phil has diverse private and public sector purchasing experience, having worked in FMCG retail and housing consultancy, and will already be familiar to many in the housing sector through his recent roles as Contracts Manager for Procurement for Housing and Regional Public Sector Manager for major national plumbing and heating merchant PTS.

Phil said, “I’m excited by this opportunity and look forward to working with the varied clients of Cirrus. With the ever present need to deliver measurable value for money, I look forward to helping our clients achieve substantial annual efficiencies and excellent audit results”.

Phil can be contacted via pwilliams@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07828 143935

Back to top

Cost Focus Consulting has evolved!

Due to continued success Cost Focus Consulting is growing, and from 6th April 2007 is rebranding as:-

Cirrus Purchasing Ltd

Existing clients can expect the same faces, same values and same service as always. Our new domain and website can be found at www.cirruspurchasing.co.uk. See the Contact Us page for revised contact details

Housing contractor project shortlisted for Regional Construction Award

The contractor efficiency review process pioneered by Cirrus consultant Simon Reed and Liverpool Housing Trust (see earlier news article here) is one of the final four contenders for the NW Business Award at the prestigious North West Regional Construction Awards 2007.
The awards ceremony will be taking place on Friday 18th May at the Hilton Deansgate Manchester

The project is also being considered by Constructing Excellence as a National Demonstration Project and to be put forward for the National Construction Awards to be held in London in July 2007.

Back to top

24th July 2006 - EC publishes guidance on low value contracts

The European Commission (EC) today released guidance for public-sector buyers on the award of low-value contracts.
The document (available to download from the Resources page) reminds purchasers that deals below the threshold for EU public procurement rules must still be transparent, fair and non-discriminatory...[more]

We have moved offices

From July 6th, 2006 our new office and postal address is:-

8 Silverbeech Road
Wallasey
Wirral
CH44 9BT

All other contact details remain the same (see the Contact Us page for details).

Back to top

31st January 2006 - New EU procurement rules come into force

EU Directive 2004/18/EC has today been transposed into UK law. In addition to the new rules, thresholds have been subject to a late reduction, and new OJEU notice formats have been introduced - see Resources for details.

CFC gains NCA Accreditation

Following an EU tender process by the National Change Agent appointed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Cost Focus Consulting have been accredited as part of a consortium bid with ...[more]

Back to top

National Materials deal goes live

1st October 2005 - The Procurement for Housing National Responsive Repairs Materials framework, set up by Cost Focus Consulting, begins trading on 1st October 2005 ...[more]

Salmon Run project yields twenty fold savings

May 2005 - New supply chain methodology created by Cost Focus Consulting delivers savings of more than twenty times the project cost for Liverpool Housing Trust and it's supply partners ...[more]

Harrogate Conference 21-24th June 2005

A big thankyou to everyone who came to visit us on the Just Housing stand - Stand 195 in Hall C this year. Following a very successful exhibition, it is back to business!

Back to top

Procurement for Housing choose Cost Focus Consulting

January 2005 - Procurement for Housing have chosen to work with Cost Focus Consulting to develop their pilot project for repairs and maintenance materials supply ...[more]

EU Public Procurement Directive: The impact on the RSL sector

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced on the 10th September 2004 that HM Government has accepted that the European Commission is correct in its view that registered social landlords (RSLs) fall within the definition of Bodies Governed by Public Law (BGPLs) as defined in the EC Procurement Directives and must therefore comply with the Directives when conducting procurements.