Network Rail streamlines procurement process to encourage SMEs.(Network Rail)

Network Rail streamlines procurement process to encourage SMEs

(Network Rail Image)

Network Rail has launched its new technology Supplier Qualification System (SQS), designed to improve market engagement, provide greater visibility of business opportunities and reduce the time it takes to award contracts.


The SQS –which includes IT services and goods across Technologies, Professional Services, Solution Delivery and Support Services – has been established following extensive market research, which showed that suppliers wanted a more efficient contracting process. Now, once suppliers have registered and qualified on the SQS, they will no longer be required to complete a set of prequalification questions each time they participate in a competitive process.

Network Rail is encouraging suppliers, especially small and medium sized businesses, to register for the SQS as it will be the primary sourcing platform for future procurement opportunities within the technology categories outlined above. It is forecast that £2.2 billion will be procured over the next 10 years.

Glen Combe, head of commercial for technology at Network Rail, said:

“The feedback from vendors so far has been very positive and we are encouraging organisations to register. The new SQS will streamline the procurement process by removing the need for suppliers to go through a prequalification process each time they are invited to tender. It also provides greater visibility of business opportunities and reduces the time it takes to award contracts.”

Any suppliers who are interested in the SQS should review the joining instructions on the Qualification System Notice via the following link:


  • Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS), hosted by Capita and Altius, will continue to operate as Network Rail’s qualification system for all auditable and non-technology related categories.
  • Auditable categories are defined as those for which companies are required to have an audit undertaken of their company’s Health, Safety, Environment and Quality capabilities based on the level of risk associated with the product code and the requirements set by the RISQS Community. The level of risk assigned to each code is dependent on the business impact that the product or service has to RISQS members.

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