COVID-19: The Government Procurement Policy Notes (PPNs)

It is clear that the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has caused significant temporary disruption for buyers, suppliers and other stakeholders within both public sector and private sector procurement. However, in the last few weeks the UK Government has released two new Procurement Policy Notes (PPNs), providing essential guidance for buyers and suppliers to ensure business continuity in procurement during this challenging time.

New directions in procurement policy are essential to provide relief for all sectors within the procurement process; particularly so for the construction industry, which is worth more than £110 billion and contributes 7% to overall annual UK GDP. Should construction activity decline in this period, there would be a huge impact on the UK economy, affecting people’s livelihoods and the ability to support the healthcare sector with life-saving equipment and resources (which the construction industry has been doing extensively – as discussed in this blog).

Tracker Intelligence always strives to support organisations to grow their business in procurement, and we will continue to do so with regular updates and reports on the evolving COVID-19 situation.

Government Procurement Policy Note (PPN) on Supplier Relief due to COVID-19

The Government has released two new editions of its Procurement Policy Notes to support organisations who are navigating the public or private sector procurement process during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The documents give guidance for buyers and suppliers on temporary changes to the procurement regulations which are designed to help organisations across the supply chain work effectively, compliantly and responsively in this fast-changing environment.

Tracker will focus on the second document, ‘Supplier Relief due to COVID-19’, which sets out immediate actions buyers need to take in their current tendering process to support suppliers who are potentially at risk. This PPN has been issued because the financial challenges faced by some suppliers may have a detrimental impact on how the contracting authority’s project proceeds. If a supplier is struggling economically, they may not be able to meet their contractual obligations, and this will have a knock-on effect on business continuity for all parties involved.

Contracting authorities to review their contract portfolios

All buyers in procurement – central government departments, executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, local authorities, NHS bodies and the wider public sector – need to urgently review both their current and prospective pipeline contracts, informing suppliers who are most at risk that they will continue to be paid as normal until at least the end of June. This is the case regardless of whether work has been temporarily suspended or not (for example, if the construction site has closed, your organisation will still be paid).

Contracting authorities need to establish appropriate payment measures

If they have not been implemented already, payment measures need to be implemented straight away to support supplier cash flow. This may include the following payment processes:

  • Forward ordering
  • Payment in advance or pre-payment
  • Interim payments
  • Payment on order (not receipt)

If the contract involves payment by results, payment should be on the basis of previous invoices, such as the average monthly payment over the previous three months.

Suppliers need to embrace transparency

In order to qualify for the appropriate revised payment measures, suppliers will need to be as transparent as possible in communicating their cost data to the contracting authority. It is strongly advised that suppliers agree to act on an open-book basis to achieve this. Suppliers are also required to continue to pay their employees and flow funding down to subcontractors as normal.

Pay suppliers immediately upon receipt

During this evolving situation, prompt payment to suppliers is more important than ever. Invoices submitted by suppliers should be paid by the contracting authority immediately upon receipt. This is in order to support cash flow across the supply chain, and by extension support people’s jobs across sectors and businesses.

Find out more information on Government PPNs

Our sister brand, the Procurement Advice and Support Service (PASS), has been reporting regularly on all updates from the UK and Scottish Governments as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. PASS, alongside Tracker, will be here to help businesses build their resilience, agility and knowledge of procurement during this unprecedented time.

To find out more information about developments in the construction sector during the pandemic, and to receive further support, visit the PASS COVID-19 resources page.

In the meantime, read more about how sectors are working collaboratively as part of the national COVID-19 response.

Sectors must work together during COVID-19 crisis


Since the beginning of March, talks between the NHS and independent sector providers have been ongoing about how the private sector can support the health service as the Coronavirus causes a surge in demand for medical supplies.

In recent days the Government has been making a number of announcements around the need for ventilators, medical equipment and services. We have gathered this information below, providing details on how your business can support the Government during this uncertain time.

The manufacturing sector must “come together”

The Government has expressed its concern about the shortage of life-saving equipment available to NHS staff as Coronavirus infections increase across the UK.

Downing Street has urged the manufacturing sector “to come together to help the country”.

“Preparing for the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak is a national priority and we’re calling on the manufacturing industry and all those with relevant expertise who might be able to help to come together to help the country tackle this national crisis.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been engaging with engineering firms about whether they “can shift production lines to building NHS ventilators”, and this week Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, has reached out to the private sector, urging suppliers that can help the Government at this time to contact its support team.


Call for ventilators

The UK Government made a call for ventilator production on 16 March, announcing that it is “looking for businesses to support in the production and supply of ventilators and ventilator components.”

The shortage is not an isolated problem for the UK – the United States, China, Italy and France have all struggled with a shortage of ventilators. Having access to a ventilator is vital for patients critically ill with COVID-19 as the machine can get oxygen into the lungs and remove carbon dioxide from the body.

The Government website states that as well as manufacturers, they will need a number of skills from industry and the supply chain as part of the nation’s COVID-19 response:

  • design/specification
  • rapid prototyping
  • contract/product assembly
  • certification/regulation/testing
  • logistics
  • medical training

Support the UK Government during the COVID-19 crisis

For more than 20 years, Tracker Intelligence has led the way in helping the public and private sectors work together – and now more than ever before it is vital that they do so.

If your business can support the NHS during this time contact the Government Support Team using the following details:

Phone Number: 0300 456 3565


Tracker ‘Spotlight on Infrastructure and Utilities Market: Trends and analysis’ now available

Some £50Bn of investment in utilities infrastructure sits in the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, with 95 utilities projects and programmes either ongoing or yet to come on stream. The total sector value to 2020/21 is £35.4Bn, making it a lucrative marketplace for those working in this area.

Our latest must-read white paper, written in association with Construction Online, reviews the utilities market in the UK, assessing recent developments within the overall market as well as individual sub-sectors.

Aspects examined include industry size, level of construction output, new orders, and key factors influencing the future development of the overall market and its sub-sectors.

Utilities: “the forefront of construction activity”

Guest Editor of Construction Online and author of the report Victoria Maggiani discusses the importance of the sector within construction projects throughout the report, backing this with fresh analysis and data from the UK Government. She said:

“Nothing can be built without first providing the basic utilities of waste, water, energy and so forth…

With the UK currently in the midst of a housing drive to address the shortfall in homes, and with revolutionary new technologies delivering an increase in ‘green’ energy, utilities are now firmly at the forefront of construction activity.”

The sector has thrived in recent years with approximately 30 projects to upgrade utilities networks have been completed up to 2018, including Phase I of the London Power Tunnels project – the most significant upgrade to the city’s electricity networks since the 1960s.

Investment into infrastructure

The report, which also gives in-depth analysis of the infrastructure sector, states that:

“some £600Bn of both private and public investment is expected to fund infrastructure development over the next ten years…”

With this massive investment across nearly 700 projects aiming to improve UK roads and rail, hospitals and schools, energy, communications and, of course, utilities.

Information contained in the report is taken from the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, plus the National Infrastructure Commission’s study into the regulation of the UK’s energy, telecoms and water industries to ensure the necessary levels of investment and innovation while keeping these critical services affordable for everyone.


Get your free copy

Recent figures from the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline point to utilities as the third largest sector by investment within infrastructure.

In this latest Tracker Spotlight, the team at Construction Online look at the different aspects of this crucial sub-sector of construction.

Download Tracker’s ‘Spotlight on Infrastructure and Utilities’ to get access to industry analysis and insight around:

  • The National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline
  • The Utilities Pipeline Analysis
  • National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline: Spend Analysis
  • Housing Infrastructure: The One Million Homes Pledge
  • Local Plans
  • Housing Infrastructure Fund
  • ICE State of the Nation 2019: Connecting Infrastructure with Housing
  • Current Market Conditions

Download your copy of the Spotlight on Infrastructure and Utilities.


Power up your procurement strategy

Knowledge is power and having sight of construction activity at both a national and regional level is key to being able to respond and identify opportunities within the market.

At Tracker, we firmly believe in the power of business intelligence to support you in searching for and identifying the right types of contracts for you and giving you the power to engage earlier with buyers.

If you are looking to find out more about how Tracker can support your business growth plans within both the public and private sector, contact us today on 0845 270 7065 or email us at

OJEU thresholds 2020

The updated procurement thresholds for 2020/2021 were announced by the European Commission on at the end of  2019.

Public sector procurement is currently agreed at EU level. As the UK remains a part of the European Union until a Brexit agreement is made, the new thresholds will apply to all public authorities from 1 January 2020.

Tracker reveals the latest OJEU thresholds below. These thresholds are exclusive of VAT and relate to the full life of the contract.

Public Contracts

OJEU thresholds indicate at what value a contract for goods, works or services must be advertised.

It is mandatory for public sector contracting authorities to adhere to these regulations. However, it is important that suppliers are also aware of advertising thresholds.

Supply, Services and Design Contracts Works Contracts Social and Other Specific Services
Central Government £122,976
Other Contracting Authorities £189,330
Small Lots £70,778

Utilities Contracts

Supply, Services and Design Contracts Works Contracts Social and Other Specific Services
Utility Authorities £378,660

 Concession Contracts

Services or Works Contracts Social and Other Specific Services
All Authorities £4,733,252

 Defence and Security Contracts

Supply, Services and Design Contracts Works Contracts Social and Other Specific Services
Defence and

Security Authorities


Win OJEU tenders

If your business is already winning work with the public sector, find OJEU tender opportunities and expand your client base Tracker Intelligence.

Our innovative range of tools support early engagement efforts and give suppliers access to the right information, that can help you to identify opportunities as soon as they become available.

Our research team receives every tender that is published in the OJEU in addition to the many lower-value tenders that we source independently.

Engage earlier and win more OJEU tenders with Tracker Intelligence. Try it for free now with a free trial 

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund


The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has achieved a lot since its inception in 2016, with the support of the private sector.


The fund, which is part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, has so far supported 1820 organisations, according to UK Research and Innovation. This investment is also just the tip of a public sector spend iceberg.


What is the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund?

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, a long-term plan which aims to “raise productivity and earning power in the UK.”

In 2016, the Government committed to increasing R&D funding by £4.7 billion by 2020 in order to strengthen science and business.

Details of the first two waves of funding from the strategy are outlined on the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) website. So far, £986 million of government investment has been secured by 497 projects.

Tracker’s Commercial Projects function can support suppliers with complete coverage of all commercial activity in the UK, providing access to over 400,000 planning notices and 10,000 non-planning projects every year – helping the early buyer engagement journey.

Latest updates

In September 2019, businesses were invited to join a workshop for the first phase of a £125 million government investment in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Future Flight Challenge. This public sector funding will be matched by a £175 million investment from industry.

In a statement released by Innovate UK and UKRI on GOV.UK, the partnership states:

“The aim of the Future Flight Challenge is to demonstrate innovative ways to achieve greener flight, new services and ways to travel, increased mobility, better connectivity and reduced congestion.”

Construction R&D

There are also opportunities for construction suppliers. It was announced during August 2019 that Innovate UK plans to invest in construction, noting that “projects should go beyond the state-of-the-art in improving the productivity, quality and performance of the UK construction sector.”

Collaboration is a key factor for Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund decision makers as winning suppliers are encouraged to work with other businesses, research bodies, public sector organisations, academic institutions and charities. Engaging early with this market is important if you want to win opportunities and funding. Whilst there are many routes to early engagement, the main concept centres around enabling a proactive approach to tendering long before a tender notice is published. Tracker’s suite of business growth and tender intelligence tools can support suppliers search for opportunities within this thriving industry and identify buyer spend patterns – where they are spending, with whom, on what and in which sectors.


Why should private sector construction suppliers apply for funding?

A smart business should be applying for these opportunities as well as sourcing opportunities via business intelligence.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund invests in trailblazing businesses; therefore, it seeks to work with suppliers that are addressing “the biggest industrial and societal challenges today.”

Establish your business as an innovative leader and grow your brand’s awareness within the public sector marketplace.

Businesses from all over the UK have benefited from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Examples of successful applicants include Ferguson Marine, an Orkney-based organisation that is developing hydrogen solutions to reduce emissions within the maritime industry. Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall has also been granted funding for the work it is doing alongside the European Space Agency on deep-space communications.


How Tracker can support your search for new opportunities

If you are looking to expand the opportunities available to your business, start your search with Tracker Intelligence.

As well as public sector Tender Alerts, Tracker’s Commercial Projects tool helps organisations win tenders by providing early engagement opportunities with buyers through accessible contact data.

Find out how Commercial Projects can be of value to your business with a free 3-day trial. If you are a Tracker customer contact our Customer Growth Team to discuss how this will benefit your business.


How to win NHS tenders

The UK’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “determined to deliver” the promises made as part of the Brexit referendum campaign and increase NHS spending.

Mr Johnson confirmed a new £1.8 billion NHS cash injection to help improve patient care at the beginning of August.

Huge investment in NHS frontline services

According to Government Opportunities, as part of this investment the NHS will purchase “more beds, new cutting-edge equipment and additional wards will be delivered at hospitals across the country.”

This investment will be funded by the Treasury and is not a reallocation of funds from the Department of Health. The £1.8 billion will be added on top of the extra £20 billion a year by 2023 which was promised by former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018.

What this means for healthcare suppliers

This investment is a further boost for suppliers seeking to win contracts with the NHS.

As Tracker’s parent company BiP Solutions notes in its latest market report, Current Trends in Healthcare Procurement: Collaboration and Transformation, “the National Health Service is an immense market, spending over £1 billion every three days.”

NHS Public Spend Infographic

This report considers the themes of collaboration in the NHS, both in terms of how trusts work with the NHS ‘centre’ and how buyers and suppliers work together, and gives details of the highest-spending NHS organisations across the UK, breaking this assessment down into categories including IT, Frameworks and Medical Supplies and Services.

Currently NHS National sits in first place for spend on IT equipment, services and systems, while NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG sits at the top for spend on medical supplies and services.*

Find NHS tenders with business intelligence

Suppliers can expand their opportunities within the healthcare sector and win more NHS tenders with Tracker’s intelligence.

Tracker offers access to the largest public sector tenders and awards database in Europe through its Opportunities function.

Last year, Tracker published over 4600 contract notices and 1800 awards for medical and health supplies, equipment and services alone. It therefore offers healthcare suppliers the easiest way to have oversight of NHS contracts and all the opportunities in the sector.

Learn more about Tracker by requesting a free demo with a member of our expert procurement team.

* Information covers 1 January – 30 June 2019. Figures are rounded and therefore approximate

Why early engagement is important to the creation of public sector tenders

blog, early engagement, tracker, free trial


In the past Tracker has written in depth about how suppliers can engage earlier with buyers – but why is it important that they do so?

For a number of years the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) has been encouraging procurement professionals to engage with suppliers before they publish contract opportunities as this can help them to shape their brief.


Buyers need suppliers’ help

Early engagement works both ways. Suppliers can find more opportunities by engaging earlier and reaching out to buyers. Buyers can learn more about the marketplace and gain insight by engaging with the suppliers who design the products or services they require.

An article published on CIPS’s website claims that “early engagement is the key to marketing procurement success”. It also acknowledges the benefits of bringing suppliers into the buying process before the requirement has been defined: “they have an opportunity to help with the design brief and also build up a relationship with you”.

This is something that Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer and Non-Executive Director at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), discussed last year with Tracker at Procurex Scotland, noting that “early engagement is absolutely crucial”. Mr Williams encouraged suppliers to engage earlier so that buyers can get the best out of a procurement exercise:

“If we don’t engage with the market, we won’t understand what the market can offer or what suppliers have developed for a different buyer elsewhere in the country. If we do not talk to suppliers, then we miss out on opportunities and we will end up trying to procure something that they may not be able to deliver.”


Engage earlier with business intelligence

If your business is looking to win public sector tenders in Europe, Market Leads gives users instant visibility of new and pipeline opportunities long before contract opportunities are published, which means users can engage earlier with buyers and learn more about their needs.

Grow your customer base with Tracker’s business intelligence tools.

Don’t wait for public sector tender opportunities to come your way – discover more opportunities by registering for a free trial of our Tracker Premier service.



EdTech investment boosts public sector IT contracts

At the end of 2018, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) launched a £550 million education tech (EdTech) framework for education bodies to procure ICT goods and services. The new framework has given public sector IT contracts a boost in 2019.

The Crown Commercial Service has announced that four more lots will also be available later in the summer: Broadband Fibre Infrastructure, Broadband Services, Hardware, and Audio Visual.

Learn more about one of the latest public sector tender opportunities below.

EdTech investment

Education is currently going through a transformation with technology changing the sector at rapid pace.

EdTech aims to change the traditional architecture of education. Some of the areas that the UK Government is looking to invest in are:

  • technology to reduce the time teachers spend in preparing and marking homework
  • training for teachers
  • improving anti-cheating software
  • the promotion of new technology in levelling the playing field for people with special educational needs and disabilities

New EdTech framework

The Director of the Crown Commercial Service’s Technology Pillar, Niall Quinn, has said that the creation of the new framework was guided by feedback from schools and the Department for Education (DfE).

The DfE wants to encourage the use of digital technology in schools throughout the country, and in April 2019 it published a strategy promising £10 million in support of innovation in the sector.

Speaking to UKAuthority, Mr Quinn said that CCS is “proud to offer a practical solution for schools to be able to procure all of their technology needs through one single agreement”.

Public tenders within the education sector

With the education sector changing so quickly, your business can take advantage of the public sector tenders that will come from this transformation.

Find out more about our business intelligence tools and how they can support suppliers to expand their reach within the education sector and win more public sector tenders.

Learn more.

Top Tips to Becoming More Competitive

Your business will have heard time and time again how important competitor research is to a business’s growth strategy but this is true if your business wants to win more work within the public sector marketplace.

Tracker’s business intelligence tools can support this research and support those working in the public sector marketplace with maintaining their competitive edge.


Know your competitor inside out

Using Tracker’s Archive Data tool your business can discover which of your competitors have won business in the public sector before and what types of contracts they are winning.

Each Tracker customer is given access to archive data from up to five years ago as standard, but Tracker intelligence in this area goes back to 1998 – that’s 20 years of contract information.

Whether you are a Tracker customer not, if you would like to learn more about this module and how you can use it as a competitor research tool, get in touch with a member of the Tracker intelligence team.


Get to know your customer

Using business intelligence, you can begin to Identify buyer spend patterns and find answers to the questions that are most important to a business that wants to win more work with the public sector e.g. where they spend, with whom, on what and in which sectors.

With the right tools this isn’t impossible. Tracker’s Spend Analysis tool collates and publishes all English public sector spend data in line with the Government’s Transparency Agenda.

UK law requires local and central government to publish details of all transactions over £500 and £25,000 and as we collate this data and sort it in one central place, businesses using out tool can stay up to date with spending trends from the buyers you want to work with.


Find opportunities before your competitors do

The mistake that many businesses make is that they are not proactive when it comes to finding leads and it is one of the easiest ways to become more competitive.

It is recommended by procurement experts that you build a proactive lead pipeline across public and private sectors and engage earlier with the buyers you want to work with rather than waiting for contracts to be published.

Tracker can do this using the Market Leads tool as it gives users instant visibility of potential private sector leads, public sector framework opportunities and pipeline contracts long before they’ve even been tendered.

Not a Tracker customer? Gain exclusive 3-day free access to our most popular package – Tracker Premier, this tool is perfect for businesses looking to grow their current share of the public sector market.