How to win public sector tenders


Public sector tenders have long been a route to business growth, especially for large organisations. However, thanks to recent regulatory measures introduced to encourage fair and healthy competition across the supplier base, there are growing opportunities for SMEs to win public sector tenders. Tracker Intelligence is a leader in public sector procurement, reporting on market developments and providing rich resources in a single knowledge hub to help organisations of all sizes win business with government. With this guidance, your business will increase its chances of public sector tendering success.

What are public sector tenders?

You will doubtless have some understanding of the public sector tendering process; however, knowing about public sector tenders and winning public sector tenders are two vastly different propositions. It is helpful first to build your knowledge of the public procurement process. Public procurement is simply the acquisition by public authorities of goods, works or services through a public contract or tender. An example of this could be supplying office furniture for a government building.

The public authority that needs this work completed will publish a contract notice and invite organisations to bid for it – a procedure known as issuing an ‘invitation to tender’. This stage is crucial to public sector procurement, because it ensures open and fair competition for public contracts, and efficient spending of public money.

For an organisation to be chosen to provide the required goods, works or services, it must first bid for the tender before it can win the tender, by following some helpful tips highlighted below.

How can I find public sector tenders?

Winning public sector tenders relies heavily on finding tenders suitable to your business’s capabilities and interests. This process becomes much more straightforward with Tracker’s numerous business intelligence tools. Tracker Tender Alerts delivers up-to-date, tailored information based on your unique supplier profile. The searchable tender database and analytical tools provided enable early engagement with public authorities publishing tenders in your industry sector as well as evaluation of your competitors’ strengths and strategies, among other effective actions. These tools give subscriber organisations a huge advantage in winning public sector tenders, because they offer visibility of upcoming tenders, allowing for stronger bid preparation.

How to write a tender response

If you have found a tender that you wish to bid for, your organisation will need to write what is known as a ‘tender response’. Writing a tender response can be a complex and lengthy procedure, taking up valuable time and resource. However, with Tracker’s guidance there is no need to feel daunted by the challenge. A good first point to know when starting to write your tender response is that there are just five commonly used tender procedures which suppliers might need to follow.

Restricted Procedure

This route allows the awarding authority to restrict, through a pre-selection or qualification process, the number of organisations that are invited to submit a tender. The pre-selection stage assesses the suitability and capability of a firm seeking to bid by way of a questionnaire, often named a Selection Questionnaire (SQ) or Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ).

Open Procedure

A one-stage process that is open to any business wishing to submit a tender. The regulations require this process to be used for all tenders for contracts below the EU services threshold. There is no pre-qualification stage in the process – questionnaires and tenders are issued and submitted as one package.

Competitive Dialogue

This procedure has been specifically designed for larger and more complex procurements, and seeks to bring on board industry expertise to work with the client during the tender process to arrive at a solution that meets the tender criteria. It is designed to be flexible, but it can be an expensive and lengthy procurement route that should not be embarked upon lightly by anyone new to public procurement.

Competitive with Negotiation

This procedure offers a more structured process than Competitive Dialogue. It requires a clear specification of deliverables and a firm tender submission at the end of the negotiation process which becomes a contractual commitment.

Innovation Partnership

This is a fairly new process specifically aimed at Research & Development work and is likely to appeal to smaller businesses which often hold the cards in innovation and development. The idea is to encourage innovative suppliers to work with the client to develop solutions not currently available in the market.

The procurement procedures above are the principal means of tendering in the public sector today. Learning how they work will greatly increase your chances of composing a winning tender response.

How to win public sector tenders

There are many tips you can take on board to help you win public sector tenders. The most essential is to properly understand the tender documents that the public authority has released, identifying the key objectives of the tender and documenting how you will achieve these for the authority in your response.

Give clear evidence of cases where you have achieved similar benefit in the past, to show your organisation is credible and up to the task. Make sure you have researched the suppliers the contracting authority has worked with in the past and specify what positively sets you apart. And above all else, ensure that you submit your tender response before the deadline. Once the deadline has passed, your bid will be automatically disqualified and your hard work will all have been for nothing.

If you would like more information on how to write and win public sector tenders, read the Ultimate Guide to Procurement published by our parent company, BiP Solutions. As well as this, keep checking the Tracker Intelligence website for market news and procurement guidance.

Find out how Tracker Intelligence can help you win public sector tenders.

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