Tendering for Public Sector Contracts: An Introduction Part 1


Is your business looking to start tendering for public sector contracts to help you grow in 2017 and beyond?

This post is the first part of a two part beginner’s guide to tendering in which we will take you through what a tender is, what the tendering process entails, where to find tenders and the benefits there are for businesses that win tenders. This guide will help you on your way to becoming a true tender expert!

In this post we look to explain what tenders are and just what the tendering process involves.

If you already know what tenders are, proceed to Tendering for Public Sector Contracts part 2.

What are Tenders?

In the procurement industry and in business in general,  the word ‘tenders’ refers to the contract opportunities published by public sector organisations for goods, services, works and utilities.

While a ‘tender’, strictly speaking, is a bid submitted by a business to win work, in the public sector procurement context, it is used more loosely to cover the whole process from the contract notice to the tender bid.

What is the Tendering Process?

The public procurement process starts with a contract notice, which is published by a public sector organisation to generate competing offers to meet the awarding authority’s specific requirements.

These calls for bids take different structured forms, depending on the value of the requirement. If a contract is worth less than about £111,000, the rules and processes are simpler as it only needs to be advertised in the UK.

Contracts worth more than £111,000 (or £4.3 million for works contracts) have to be advertised throughout the EU using set forms and rules (eg about deadlines for businesses to bid) as laid down in the Public Procurement Regulations. The contract notice has to be sent to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and must use a set form. Most use either the open or restricted procedure.

Whether the requirement is low-value, or has been published through OJEU, essentially any contract notice will set out details of what the public sector body wants supplied.

There are four main OJEU procurement procedures used to award contracts. If you are unsure which one is relevant to you, check the Contract Notice which will state which one will be used.

  • Open procedure– This procedure sees the awarding body advertise for interested parties to submit their tender bids by a set date. The bids are then evaluated and contracts are awarded to the winning party/parties. The procedure is called open because any company can submit a tender.
  • Restricted procedure– This is a two-stage procedure. In the first selection stage suppliers are asked to fill in a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ). Based on responses to the PQQ, a shortlist of suppliers is identified and they receive an Invitation to Tender – ie to submit a tender.In both the above procedures, once the tenders are returned, they are evaluated and the contracts awarded to the winning party/parties.
  • Competitive Dialogue procedure– This procedure is used for more complex procurements. The public sector organisation may know what they want to achieve but not how best to go about it. Following publication of an OJEU Contract Notice and selection process, the awarding body negotiates with companies to develop suitable solutions, followed by an Invitation to Tender (ITT) and contract award.
  • Negotiated procedure– This process is used in limited circumstances and sees the public sector body enter into contract negotiations with one or more suppliers.

How Tracker can help

Tracker makes it easy for you to identify public and private sector opportunities and access meaningful market and industry news, while providing you with the vital competitor insight you need to keep your business one step ahead. Tracker can help your business through the sometimes complicated process of tendering.

Using Tracker you can easily access opportunity documents, upload and work on winning responses, track progress and collaborate with anyone, anywhere, at any time – all at the click of a button.

Tracker is the only end-to-end business development solution with the unique intelligence you need to find, bid for and win more business – try the Tracker Premier package and see the results for yourself with a free trial.



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