things you don't know about public sector contracts

Just getting started with public procurement? We have listed four things you may not know about public sector contracts below.



The Freedom of Information Act together with the government’s Transparency Principles mean that that transparency in public sector procurement is required.

Local and central government departments in England must publish details of all public sector contracts valued over £500 and £25,000 respectively. The published information should include buyer and supplier details, a brief description of what the contract is for and its value. This can give your business information about how much the organisations you want to work with are spending and the suppliers that they are working with.


Authorities must follow procurement thresholds

Did you know that any public sector organisation that plans on publishing a contract opportunity over a certain value must advertise it in the OJEU? These values are called thresholds and vary according to whether the contact is for supplies and services or works.


Public sector payment

Working with the public sector can be extremely lucrative. Even during times of economic downturn, schools, hospitals, and other public services must continue as usual. To comply with the government’s Prompt Payment Code, public sector bodies must pay accounts within 30 days of receiving a valid bill or invoice. In addition, 32 ‘strategic suppliers’ have committed to extending this policy to their supply chains.


The government wants SMEs to win public sector contracts

The government is doing everything it can to encourage SMEs to bid for public sector contracts and has taken measures to simplify public sector tendering. The government understands that entering the market can be difficult due to a lack of resources and has streamlined the procurement process for businesses that supply to the public sector through Crown Commercial Service (CCS) procurement frameworks.

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New guidelines on government tendering after Brexit

At the end of last week, the government published new guidelines on “Accessing public sector contracts if there’s no Brexit deal”. This technical notice should be of interest to suppliers that want to win work in the UK and Ireland.

Learn more about government tendering after Brexit below.


What do suppliers need to know?

The government has announced that if a no deal outcome occurs after March 2019, all contract opportunities that are currently published on OJEU/TED will be published on a new UK e-notification service.

The technical notice states that:

“If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal in place regarding future arrangements on access to OJEU/TED, a replacement UK-specific e-notification service will be made available. Changes to the procurement rules will be made via amendments to existing legislation, to ensure continued operability.”

Any suppliers that are currently using the OJEU service to find above threshold opportunities from the UK public sector have been advised to subscribe to the new UK e-notification service.

Nothing will change until 29 March 2019, as the still UK remains an EU member until that date.

The government has assured the country that it “will be ready from day 1 in all scenarios” and that there will be more engagement on how to deal with ongoing procurement procedures in the handover period.

It is not clear how procurement would be affected if a deal were agreed between the UK and the EU. Whether or not there is a Brexit deal, the vast majority of the rules around procurement will remain unchanged as the Public Procurement Regulations 2015 are already part of UK law.


Find government tenders using Supply2Gov

Our tender alerts service can help you to find public sector tender opportunities in both the UK and in Ireland. The Supply2Gov solution makes government tendering easy as our users receive daily tender alerts that are relevant to the service or product their business provides.

Registration is free and new users can gain access to a local area subscription of their choice, whether you want to work in Greater Manchester, Glasgow City or Belfast – the decision is yours.

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Council contract opportunities in Scotland as Scotland Excel plans to set up a £500m framework

It was announced last week that Glasgow City Council has released infrastructure contracts worth £242m. Contracts are varied and suitable for construction, civil engineering, and road infrastructure suppliers.

Find out more about this opportunity below.


Infrastructure Contracts

Council tender opportunities within the city include road surfacing, painting, lighting, temporary traffic management, landscaping, installation of playgrounds and heritage restoration. These contracts form part of a wider local authority procurement framework in partnership with North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire councils.

Glasgow City council is looking to work with at least five companies to cover all elements of the construction, repair and maintenance requirements.

The appointment of new suppliers will happen in May next year, with contracts running for three years.


Opportunities for SME businesses

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, believes that the new investment will benefit local micro businesses and SMEs:

“These major contracts will bring jobs and opportunities for local people and organisations to work on projects that improve Glasgow’s economy in the short and long term…I would invite all those interested in bidding for these contracts to visit the procurement website.”


Find local council tenders

Would you like to find more opportunities like this? Supply2Gov publishes local council tenders from across the UK. Councils have control over spending in many areas of supply and service provision as well as infrastructure, making local authorities extremely valuable customers.

Our business can help yours to find more local council tenders. Get started by choosing the local area that your business wants to work with and register for free. We send our users daily alerts that match the keywords and location that they have chosen.

Wherever you want to find work, we have you covered. Local area subscriptions include Greater Manchester – South, Glasgow City, and Outer Belfast.

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What the Government's house building plans mean for SME businesses

Late last year, the Government announced that it was “on track to raise housing supply to 300,000 per year, on average, by the mid-2020s”.

The Autumn Budget made over £15 billion of new financial support available for house building over the next five years. This reform plans to make more land available for housing and ensure that the UK is maximising the potential of its towns and cities to build new homes.


What is the Government spending on house building?

During his Autumn Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said that the Government had increased the supply of homes by more than 1.1 million since 2010 and planned to continue this growth. He noted:

“If we don’t increase the supply of land for new homes, more money will inflate prices and make matters worse. If we don’t do more to support the growth of the SME house building sector, we will remain dependent on the major national house builders that dominate the industry.”

In a document published post-Budget called “Building the homes the country needs”, the Government outlines the financial support that the house building industry will receive:


Home Building Fund – loans to SMEs to build homes £1.5 billion
Small Sites: infrastructure and remediation – grants for remediation and infrastructure to accelerate the building of homes on small and stalled sites £630 million
Local Authority house building: additional investment – more borrowing for councils to build new council homes £1 billion
Housing Infrastructure Fund: extended – grants to local authorities for strategic infrastructure that unlocks new housing £2.7 billion
Land Assembly Fund – assembling fragmented pieces of land into ready to go sites for developers to build homes on £1.1 billion
Estate Regeneration – transforming run-down estates and providing more housing £400 million
New financial guarantees – to support private sector house building £8 billion
Total £15.3 billion



Find construction tenders for free

If your business wants to help the Government build more homes, look for construction tenders using Supply2Gov.

Registration is completely free and you can access construction tenders in the local area of your choice without paying a penny.

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Council contract opportunities in Scotland as Scotland Excel plans to set up a £500m framework

Last month it was announced that Scottish council procurement specialist Scotland Excel is preparing to establish a £500m framework to build affordable homes across Scotland.

This announcement is particularly exciting for SME businesses looking for council contract opportunities.

Find out more below.


Strategic Housing Investment Plan

The new framework will support the delivery of local authorities’ individual Strategic Housing Investment Plans (SHIPs).

SHIPs are prepared by local authorities to set out strategic investment priorities for affordable housing over a five-year period to achieve the outcomes set out in the local housing strategy.

These key documents show what each local authority is doing to help the Scottish Government reach its target of completing 50,000 affordable homes by March 2021.


New Framework

The announcement did not reveal what the precise framework structure will be and what lots it will have.

Scotland Excel is reportedly considering options for alternative delivery mechanisms including land-led delivery mechanisms, planning-led delivery mechanisms, and mixed tenure delivery mechanisms.

Government Opportunities reports that:

“The scope is expected to include delivery of new build residential properties, primarily social housing, using traditional build and design and build contracts.”


Stay up to date with council contract opportunities

Local authority contracts can be extremely valuable to SME businesses that want to get started with public sector procurement.

Local authority spend can be broken into many categories: housing education, roadworks, public transport social, cultural services, waste management and a number of other services – this means its pool of suppliers is large and varied.

Our tender alerts tool allows SMEs across the country to find tenders with councils and other public sector organisations in the UK that are relevant to the products/services that they provide.

Get started. If you would like to find council contract opportunities in your local area for free, register for Supply2Gov