Supplying the British Library

We work with our suppliers to deliver excellence

  • We uphold excellent communication with all our suppliers, large and small, in order to guarantee value for money, while minimising contractual and commercial risk. 
  • We have an active Corporate Social Responsibility policy and aim to develop a diverse supplier base.
  • We constantly seek to improve our customer experience and expect our suppliers to play a major part in this process by sharing our aim of achieving our strategic priorities.
  • We are committed to ensuring value for money and competitively tender the majority of our contracts.


To ensure best practice in our procurement procedures, we seek to:

  • maximise the value for money of contracts through Total Life Cost
  • be well informed, acting as an intelligent customer, and
  • integrate ‘end-to-end’ procurement processes.

To achieve best value for money, we use a range of methods to procure goods and services. The choice of method depends on the type of goods or service required and the overall value.

As a public sector body, we are required to follow the EU Procurement Directives, implemented into UK law as the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. This requires us to act in a fair, open and transparent manner to our supply chain, both potential and real, and to competitively tender as many of our opportunities as possible.

Any opportunity where the whole contract cost is likely to be over the EU threshold of approximately £118,000 for goods and services will be tendered following the EU Procurement Directives. For contracts under this value, we are committed to following the spirit of the EU Procurement Regulations.

You can find our current opportunities listed on our e-tendering portal.

EU procedures

A brief guide is available to the 2014 EU Procurement Directives.

Receiving orders and getting paid

Purchase Orders

When ordering any goods or services the British Library generally creates a Purchase Order (PO) with a unique number.

The supplier should be in receipt of a valid British Library Purchase Order or Purchase Order number before providing the goods or services.

Government Procurement Card (GPC)

The Government Procurement Card (GPC) is a branded Mastercard Purchasing Card providing the British Library with a cost effective means of buying low value goods and services.

Use of the GPC enhances standards of service delivery by making it simpler for employees to buy essential day-to-day items and provides guaranteed on-time payment to suppliers.


Invoices must always quote the correct British Library Purchase Order number and should be sent to the following address:

The British Library
Accounts Payable
Boston Spa
LS23 7BQ

The following information must be provided on each invoice:

  • Addressed to the British Library. 
  • Supplier's name and address. 
  • The word 'invoice' (or if a credit, the words 'credit note'). 
  • Invoice number. 
  • Invoice date. 
  • Value and currency. 
  • Description of goods or services rendered. 
  • British Library Purchase Order number. 
  • Contact details of the British Library representative. 
  • The VAT number and the invoice should be split between the net value of goods and services, the rate and amount of VAT, and the gross (total) value of the invoice.

Please note that any invoice which does not comply with these terms will be returned to the supplier for resubmission with the correct information


A scanned image of all invoices is created so it is important that the invoice is of good quality and easy to read. We recommend that the invoice is on white A4 paper, clearly printed in black and that highlighters have not been used.


Invoices can also be submitted by email to

Remittance advice

Remittance advice will be communicated to suppliers by email.

Payment terms

It is the British Library policy that all sums due to its suppliers will become due for payment 30 days after the date of the suppliers correct invoice. However, where clauses are agreed which vary the terms of payment, these will be honoured.

Our terms of trade also include provision for late payment in accordance with the November 1998 Act of Parliament.

The British Library reserves the right to withhold payment where the goods or services have not been provided in accordance with the contract.

We expect our suppliers to pay any sums due to sub-contractors promptly and within a period not exceeding that set out above.

Method of payment

The British Library’s current & only payment method is via BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing Services).

This is a more efficient and secure means of ensuring prompt payment to suppliers as funds are paid directly into their bank account.

Suppliers will receive a detailed remittance advice when payment is made, and any bank charges are borne by the Library.

Payment queries

If you have a query regarding an outstanding payment please contact or call our payment query helpline on +44 (0) 1937 546 745.