2 minutes

The EU designed and launched an initiative in an attempt to create a standard vocabulary called Common Procurement Vocabulary (CVP) for use in public procurement across the EU. Common Procurement Vocabulary is now in standard use across all UK government and is embedded within the Open Tender process. CPV uses a tree system for the main vocabulary/categorisation, and the tree is made up of codes that go up to nine digits.The tree structure contains Divisions, Groups, Classes and Categories as follows:

  • The first two digits of the structure are the divisions (XX000000-Y)
  • The first three digits of the structure are the groups (XXX00000-Y)
  • The first four digits of the structure are the classes (XXXX0000-Y)
  • The first five digits of the structure identify the categories (XXXXX000-Y)
    • Since the first five digits identify the categories, each of the last three digits gives greater precision and degree of accuracy for each category.

For example, if the contract request is for plant seeds, the Common Procurement Vocabulary tree would look like this:

  • Division – 04000000-1 for Agricultural, farming, fishing and forestry related products
    • Group – 04200000-2 for Agricultural and horticulture products
      • Class – 04220000-5 for Crops, products of horticulture and market gardening
        • Category – 04222000-2 – Seeds

The ninth digit in the sequence acts as a way to verify the previous digits in the tree. The UK and wider EU use CVP to make it more cohesive and easier for any supplier to identify contracts they may have an interest in applying for. Also, it makes it much easier for the government to track spending across specific sectors.

You can search the latest version of Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) with supplementary data below.