Our Guide for Suppliers

Becoming a Supplier

Central England Co-operative is an independent retail consumer society. As part of the wider co-operative movement we work with other Societies so that, we have the influence and buying power of much bigger organisations through economies of scale.

The majority of goods for re-sale are sourced via the FRTS buying consortium, but Central England Co-operative continues to source a proportion of such goods via local suppliers. In addition, Central England Co-operative purchases the majority of its goods not for re-sale independently.

As a responsible retailer, we are committed to creating and developing sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers across our supply chain.  Furthermore, as a trusted and ethical high street brand, we also strive to deliver sustainable supply chain solutions in line with Procurement best practices ensuring optimum quality and value of our products and services, whilst actively encouraging our suppliers to do the same.

Our Procurement Team

The Society recognises that the application of robust procurement practices can return significant and quantifiable financial, operational and strategic rewards, and will also reduce risk.

The Procurement team are responsible for providing best practice procurement advice and support (in line with required governance and regulatory guidelines) to all areas of the wider business, with key purchasing decisions taken jointly between the Procurement team and the business area/stakeholders concerned.

Central England Co-operative’s overarching objective is to procure goods and services from a supply partner that demonstrates best overall value with minimal commercial risk.  We endeavour to build partnerships with our key suppliers, developing relationships that are built on trust and mutual advantage, and we want our suppliers to share our values.

Best value for Central England Co-operative represents:

  • Goods/services which are fit for purpose and delivered in a timely and professional manner.
  • Goods/services that represent the best possible purchase price in total cost terms over the lifetime of the goods/services.
  • Compliance with applicable UK/European law and regulations.
  • Compliance with Central England Co-operative’s ethical, social and environmental standards.

How we Buy

The Society’s Procurement Policy requires that the Procurement team are actively involved in all key contract negotiations for goods and services where a procurement activity represents a significant business, financial, legal, professional or reputational risk

The Society will be guided by the following principles:

  • Procurement activities will be conducted in a fair, objective and transparent manner.
  • The Society endeavours to source its products and services responsibly wherever possible.
  • The Society prefers to engage with suppliers that are aligned with our values and who have made credible commitments to reducing their own environmental impact. Consideration is given to using local suppliers from our communities.
  • The Society will usually undertake competitive tendering where annualised spend exceeds specific internally agreed limits.
  • The Society will demonstrate the highest standards of integrity in its supplier selection process and where appropriate will provide feedback to suppliers participating in a tender process.
  • The Society encourages innovation from suppliers.
  • The Society undertakes to pay its suppliers on time and to agreed terms.  
  • The Procurement process will be proportionate to the value and complexity of the goods or services to be acquired.

The Society’s standard payment terms are 45 days from date of invoice (tax point).  In line with our objective of operating a responsible supply chain and our aspiration to support smaller and/or local businesses, the Society may vary payment terms on a case by case basis.  Consideration will be given to the suppliers’ type of business, size, cash flow requirements and any other relevant risk factors to determine the appropriate terms.

Values

Central England Co-operative will not tolerate poor professional or ethical standards, and we expect our suppliers to challenge unprofessional or unethical behaviour within their own supply chains.  Examples of unethical behaviour may include (but is not limited to): bullying, harassment, discrimination and any other unfair practices committed at a personal or corporate level.

As an ethical business, we are committed to respecting and protecting human rights and support the goals of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act (2015).  Our Modern Slavery statement can be found here.

Unlawful or unethical behaviour should be reported to the Society as soon as possible and in return the Society will investigate fairly and promptly, taking action as appropriate.

Corporate Responsibility

The Society’s procurement activities are aligned to our Corporate Responsibility (CR) policy and programme. Our approach is set out in our corporate responsibility policy, and includes:

  • Giving back to our local community
  • Raising money for charity
  • Being as energy efficient as we can
  • Recycling and other ways of reducing waste
  • Being an ethical retailer

More information on the Society’s CR policy can be found here.

Prompt Payment Code

Central England Co-operative has demonstrated its commitment to fair treatment of suppliers by signing up to the Prompt Payment Code.  We encourage our suppliers to adopt the principles of this code throughout their own supply chains.  Read more about the Prompt Payment Code by clicking here.

How to get Paid

To expedite processing and payment, suppliers are requested to provide invoices which include the following information:

  • CEC purchase order number or purchase requisition number (where appropriate)
  • Name of person placing the order and/or to approve the invoice
  • CEC site/store/cost centre(s)
  • Breakdown of costs (including splitting out VAT elements)
  • Brief description of works/product/service provided

Where suppliers engage on a consolidated “OneBill” basis, a single page total invoice is submitted with a backup document in Excel format is required, breaking down by site/cost centre.

Payments are made on Wednesdays and Fridays of each week (Christmas/Easter/Bank Holidays may affect this).

Central England Co-operative is committed to the Prompt Payment Code and strives towards the most transparent and efficient method of processing all business transactions.

To enable prompt payment of invoices, the Society requests that suppliers engage fully to explore the most effective processes, considering consolidated and EDI invoices wherever possible.

We also ask that suppliers are vigilant in notifying us of any changes in circumstances which could affect prompt payment (i.e. change of banking provider etc). In such circumstances the Society will require valid account and sort code evidence provided by your bank.

Disputes Relating to Payments

Queries with payments should be raised with the supplier’s Central England Co-operative representative in the first instance.  This can be the person with whom the supplier holds the relationship, or the person who instructed the order.

Should the query require escalation, the matter should be referred to Central England Co-operative’s Financial Shared Services team for review.  Escalation is via email to purchasetopay@centralengland.coop and the subject should identify that this is a payment dispute escalation to help us prioritise appropriately.