Procurement for Beginners: A Beginner's Guide To Public Procurement

The one question everyone has about procurement: ANSWERED

Procurement for beginners and pros alike all starts with knowing what it is and how it works. With this 6-part Tracker guide to procurement — our free online training course — you will be able to get right on track towards finding, bidding for, and winning new business.

Let Tracker help you find more business opportunities in the public sector.

‘How to Win More Public Sector Business’ Series: Part 1

As you might already have noticed, public sector procurement can be a lucrative market, but it’s also a fairly complex one.

Whether you’re already familiar with the public procurement process or you’re thinking about submitting your first tender bid, there’s one question which you’ll hear again and again. You’ve probably even thought it yourself at one point or another:

What exactly is procurement?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. So to kick off our ‘How to Win More Public Sector Business’ series, some basic definitions are probably the best place to start.

What is the Public Sector?

Public sector organisations are those financed by public money raised from taxes. Some examples of public sector organisations include Government departments, local government (councils), the NHS, and emergency services such as the police.

Taken together, the public sector is the most valuable customer in the world. That’s why it’s important for you to enter this market. And with Tracker’s online procurement training guide and industry leading tender tools, you will soon be able to.

Request a free demo to see how our tender tools and public sector procurement guides can help you find & win more public tenders.


What is Public Procurement?

When a public sector body buys any goods, works or services: that is public procurement.

Public procurement is different from when private companies do business with each other because of the regulations that apply to all public sector contracts over a certain value or “threshold”.

It’s often these regulations which can confuse people, but they only exist to make sure that the procurement process is fair for all those involved.

A public sector contract can also be called a “tender” and the procurement process is sometimes known as “tendering”, but it all comes down to the same thing: a public sector organisation buying goods or services.

How Does the Public Sector Buy What it Needs?

There are various phases within the procurement cycle, which the public sector organisation’s procurement team will follow in order to find the right supplier.

The first step to honing your own procurement skills is knowing and understanding the fundamentals of this cycle.

Planning & Strategic Sourcing

The buying organisation will most likely have a team of procurement professionals or purchasing managers (also known as procurement practitioners) who, after establishing a need for certain goods or services, will put together all of the details in a contract notice.

This team considers more than just the budget or cost management plans and, using strategic sourcing, aligns with various other aspects that will be required for choosing the right supplier for the job. This can include factors such as analysis of the supplier market, timelines, spend data, cost concepts, added value, and more.

Publishing a Tender

When the public sector decides to buy any goods, works or services, it publishes a contract (or tender). Private companies like yours then bid for that public sector contract.

Any public sector organisation publishing a contract opportunity over a certain value (or “threshold”) must, by law, advertise on the Find a Tender Service (FTS) e-tendering portal. The FTS has replaced the OJEU for UK tenders as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU but works in the same way as the OJEU/TED. It is used in conjunction with other tender portals such as the UK Government’s Contracts Finder.

Contracting authorities are required to publish contract notices for above threshold procurements (usually above £118,000) on the FTS, which suppliers can then use to search and apply for high value contracts in the UK’s public sector.

Supplier Selection

Once all the bids and proposals are in, there are many variables that contribute to the ultimate selection of a supplier.

The tender process is designed to be as fair and transparent as possible, from the type of bidding process (Open, Restricted, Competitive Dialogue, Negotiated) to the legal aspects and rules and regulations that every contracting authority in the public sector has to follow.

The procurement department will eventually choose a supplier that can prove not only that they have the fundamental skills needed to complete the project, but that they can do so at the right price and with added value, such as a low environmental footprint or high social value.

Stakeholder & Contract Management

It isn’t all over once the supplier has been chosen. The next step is to manage the contract to completion in order to ensure the project meets the objectives set out at the start according to the contract terms. A contract manager may be appointed to oversee the contract management of each project.

This final stage in the procurement process can involve stakeholder management/stakeholder engagement (external and internal stakeholders) and supply chain management.


Your Next Big Question

So we’ve covered the basics and hopefully answered that first question: What is public procurement?

But this is the tip of the iceberg and there’s another even bigger question to deal with. The one question that causes so many companies to fail in bidding for public sector business before they even start:

Isn’t it too difficult to win a public sector contract?

The simple answer to that question is no — and we’re going to show you why.

We’ll explain the entire procurement process, show you how to easily find new public sector tender opportunities, and teach you how to write a bid response that wins.

Next time…

Now that you are aware of the basic skills and information you will need to showcase in order to start bidding for public tenders, are you ready to upgrade your knowledge and procurement strategy?

In the next instalment of the ‘How to Win More Public Sector Business‘ procurement guide series, we’ll show you how to find the public sector opportunities your business needs and how to save time when doing it.

Choose Tracker for Public Procurement Guidance & Tender Tools

Tracker has a full portfolio of tender tools and techniques to help your business excel in the public procurement market.

With our free procurement training for beginners, even non-procurement professionals can get involved with the world of public procurement and start bidding for public contracts.

Whether you need a training course for complete beginners or you’re a seasoned public sector tenders bidder, we can help you level up and start winning more business in this exciting marketplace with our public procurement tools and techniques.

Sign up for a free 3 day Tracker trial today to put your new-found knowledge into practice and start finding, bidding for & winning more public sector tender opportunities!

Not already taking advantage of this free 14 day course?

Never miss a single relevant tendering opportunity – spend your time winning business, not finding it.

Try out Tracker Today

Try out Tracker Today