The UK government spends billions of pounds every year buying goods, works and services from external suppliers in the process we know as procurement. Procurement in the public sector is a great way to grow your business and raise your profile in the supply chain. Supply2Gov supports businesses of all sizes to win public sector contracts, including government tenders in the UK.

Here’s five reasons why your organisation should strongly consider bidding for government tenders.

1. Government constantly requires a vast array of business services and solutions

Whether you’re selling consulting services, food and drink supplies, garden landscaping or PR support, the UK government is sure to require and buy what your business offers. In fact, it is highly likely that government will buy what your business has to offer on more than one occasion. There are billions of pounds worth of contracts up for grabs every year, all to be spent with businesses like yours.

2. The UK government has set ambitious targets to help SMEs grow

Central government has set itself a target of spending £1 in every £3 on SMEs in its procurement activities by 2022. This initiative was introduced in 2015 to help boost the economy and represents a huge opportunity for small businesses looking to grow.

3. The public sector procurement process is simpler and quicker than ever

Government has been making a sustained effort to support SMEs to win more business. New legislation introduced in the last five years has included the requirement that all organisations in the supply chain must comply with government 30-day payment terms, including suppliers and sub-contractors. Most central government departments are meeting this target, with 80% of suppliers in most cases being paid within five days. Pre-selection questionnaires have also been abolished for low-value contracts, saving SMEs valuable time and resource when bidding. These examples show the procurement process is becoming more friendly to smaller businesses; it is important that SMEs are making the most of this opportunity.

4. There are ‘meet the buyer’ events across the UK to encourage early market engagement

Events like these provide SMEs with the opportunity to talk to government departments about their upcoming plans and projects. They are also an opportunity for government buyers to learn about your services and products, and how you can offer something different from other suppliers. Meeting directly with important decision makers is one of the most effective ways to win in the government tendering market, so make sure you note these events in your diary. Departments will advertise these events on their respective pages on www.gov.uk.

5. Government framework agreements can help you become a preferred contractor

You can compete to join a government ‘framework agreement’ specific to the goods and services you offer, such as IT solutions, health services or vehicle parts. If successful, your business will become a preferred government contractor. (Although there will be further competition for contracts, they will only be open to businesses on the framework.) Plus, it means your business will be viewed as trustworthy and reliable when you bid for government tenders in the future. You can find more information about government framework agreements at www.gov.uk/ccs.

Start winning government tenders

Is your business ready to start bidding for government tenders? Your next step is to sign up for Supply2Gov’s tender alerts in government contracts. From there, we’ll make sure you have all the tender documentation you need in order to start bidding.

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Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum in 2016, it has been a turbulent time in and for the UK Government. The political division that arose as a result of the referendum has meant that public and private sectors across the UK have slowed down, sped up, or in some cases, suffered no real impact at all. This may be about to change.

With the Conservative Party winning a large majority at the December 2019 General Election, the elected UK Government is set to be more stable than it has been in recent years, and the UK now seems set to depart the EU on 31 January.

This is set to have a huge impact on how sectors across the UK perform in 2020. The start of 2020 has already seen the announcement that the first Budget since the General Election will take place on 11 March. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, indicated that environmental issues and infrastructure would be two areas of priority in the upcoming government budget.

We take a closer look at what sectors are tipped for success and how businesses looking to climb the procurement ladder this year can get involved with Supply2Gov’s help.

Healthcare

The NHS is expected to be a huge talking point when the Government announces its Budget in March. Public funding is expected to increase in areas including social care, recruitment (up to 50,000 more nurses), public health and investment in artificial intelligence technology to detect emerging diseases in patients.

Throughout the Conservative party’s election campaign, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated many times that the NHS would receive a £34 billion funding increase. If this were to happen, this would ease current NHS pressures and transform the opportunity for businesses looking to work in the healthcare sector. The manifesto also stated the promise of building 40 new hospitals over the next ten years – another potential opportunity for the construction sector as well as all those involved in equipping them.

The Spending Round in 2019 stated that adult social care alone would receive an additional £1 billion which would be available for local councils in 2020/21. This is an increase of 3.4 per cent in real terms and will help adult social care services to meet the rising demand.

Whilst these figures may be expected to change in the Budget in March, this is an exciting time to find work in the healthcare sector. Find out more about finding healthcare tenders that are right for your business.

Construction and Infrastructure

Infrastructure is a key area of growth going into 2020. Sajid Javid said that there will be an infrastructure revolution under way after the Budget announcement in March.

This may not be surprising, given the Conservative Manifesto in the December 2019 General Election allowed room for £100 billion additional funding for new infrastructure projects, including £2 billion for fixing potholes and £2.2 billion for a public sector carbon reduction scheme. This is great news for businesses wanting to tap into construction tenders or supply chain opportunities provided through over £100 billion of investment. Key areas expected to benefit are the North of England and the Midlands, with the development of high-speed rail projects like the Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Defence and security

The UK Ministry of Defence fared pretty well in the Spending Round of 2019. An additional £2.2 billion was given to the budget, with £1.9 billion of that for 2020-21. These funds will go towards pension contributions, continued development of a nuclear-powered submarine and ship-building plans. Cyber security is also an integral part of the future of defence, with the advancement of AI protecting against new cyber threats.

As ever, NATO remains a huge factor in the UK’s defence and security plans. In 2017, the UK was the second highest spender in NATO, spending 2.1% of global GDP per year. Under the Conservative government, the UK is set to continue to exceed the NATO target of 2%.

The opportunities for business across defence are massive and diverse, and small businesses across the UK are vital to the defence supply chain. Find out more about defence and security tenders.

The Budget is on its way

The full details of government spending will be announced in the Budget on 11 March 2020. Therefore, the information in this blog may be subject to change. Supply2Gov will keep you updated on its progress.

Find UK tenders

New to procurement and would like to find UK tenders that are relevant to your business in 2020? Supply2Gov offers a tender alerts service with no strings attached. New users can sign up for a local area subscription for free and can opt to upgrade to our UK-wide package at any point.

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It’s been quite a year for procurement. With governmental instability in the UK and across the globe, technology changing the way we buy, sell and market to the wider world and the persistent threat of cyber security constantly evolving, there is much for us to reflect on in procurement in 2019. Procurement now, more than ever, is a crucial factor in bringing communities together and helping people lead better lives through innovative public spending. Here, Supply2Gov takes a closer look at the themes to look out for in 2020 and the years to come.

Social value takes centre stage

Social value isn’t a new development by any means. Public sector organisations are continually looking for new ways to make procurement more ethical. Procurement is moving away from being simply a single transaction between a buyer and a supplier. Instead, new initiatives are being introduced which help support the wider community procurement projects are located in, so that both the area and the people living and working within it continue to benefit long after the project has finished. Examples of social value initiatives that suppliers can contribute to are:

  • Offering guaranteed working hours
  • Paying the living wage
  • Providing enhanced training opportunities
  • Boosting qualifications
  • Using locally sourced materials

Contracting authorities can help grow social value by awarding contracts to suppliers who demonstrate fair practices, like the above. When procurement is promoting great social value, it can increase youth employment and help young people gain qualifications for the future. In 2020 and the years to follow, social value will continue to play a massive part in how procurement evolves for the better, and for the benefit of everyone.

Cyber security continues to change the modern world

We are all aware that the world is becoming more and more digital, and mass digitalisation has meant that everything is moving at lightning fast speed – businesses, entertainment, new trends and new products. Through the invention of the internet and smartphones, we now have access to millions of data at our fingertips, all the time. This level of accessibility means that it is relatively easy for cyber attackers to break into private networks and access confidential data, including credit card information, medical records and other personal information.

In recent years, businesses have begun implementing cyber security measures to protect themselves and their data, and recent GDPR legislation in Europe has also meant that businesses have been forced to rethink how they use and store their data. However, cyber security is now about much more than viruses and malware, as cyber crime continues to present in different forms across different devices. The artificial intelligence that is developed to detect security breaches by scanning millions of data files and checking for anomalies will soon be able to leak cyber security breaches of its own. This is a prediction that is reflected in the opinions of cyber security leaders around the world.

In response to this, we predict organisations of all sizes across all sectors will invest in training their staff on how to better spot cyber attacks and consequently deal with them. If you haven’t done so already, make sure your business is protected from over 80% of basic cyber attacks with quick and simple Cyber Essentials certification.

More businesses move to eProcurement

For a large number of organisations in the UK, procurement today is a far cry from the paper-based processes and manual searches of the early 2000s. eProcurement is becoming increasingly popular among buyers and suppliers alike – offering a web-based solution where organisations can manage their tenders, bids and documentation without wasting paper and time. However, a recent report by Ivalua has revealed that two-thirds of UK businesses are still reliant on manual and paper-based procurement processes. This is estimated to cost UK businesses on average around £1.94 million a year.

In 2020, we predict more organisations will adopt eProcurement solutions, for more effective and efficient procurement. Receiving Supply2Gov tender alerts sent direct to your inbox is just one example of fantastic eProcurement in action.

Increased public spending

The Spending Round announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in September 2019 confirmed that public services would receive a substantial funding boost. Compared to the budget for 2018/19, departments across the UK will get a £13.8 billion real-terms increase in day-to-day spending to deliver on public service priorities.

The NHS is also set to receive a cash increase of £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24, compared to 2018/19. Further investment in public services will boost tender opportunities throughout the UK, providing openings for innovative new suppliers across a range of sectors. (It is important to note though that these figures were announced before the General Election in December 2019, and therefore may change.)

Find more tender opportunities in the UK

Get 2020 off to the best start possible. Sign up to Supply2Gov’s tender alerts for free and start receiving daily tender alerts to any local area in the UK.

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Every two years, the public sector procurement thresholds are updated by the European Union commission. Supply2Gov provides the updated public sector thresholds of 2020/2021 as published at the end of 2019. These thresholds will help potential new suppliers better understand the value of the UK tenders that are sent to them every day in Supply2Gov’s tender alerts.

As the UK currently is still part of the European Union until a Brexit agreement is officially made in the coming months, these thresholds will continue to dictate which tenders will be subject to EU procurement rules. Understanding the new thresholds will help suppliers of all business sizes will navigate the procurement process to win public sector contracts.

Wait – remind me. What is EU procurement?

The European Union has laid down specific requirements on the way tendering should be carried out in Europe. This is to make sure that the process is fair and non-discriminatory to all organisations across the whole of Europe, including in the UK, to increase healthy competition amongst new and existing private sector suppliers. Supply2Gov explain more about the public sector procurement process in the ‘How to Apply for Public Sector Tenders’ blog.

Public sector contracts

EU regulations kick in when a contract exceeds a certain value. This simply means that the EU regulations come into effect when the value of a public sector contract may or will exceed certain specified financial thresholds. When this happens, it is a mandatory requirement that contracting authorities publish these contracts in the OJEU, ‘The Official Journal European Union’, which hosts thousands of new public sector contracts every day.

The updated public sector thresholds of 2020/2021 are below. These thresholds are exclusive of VAT and relate to the full life of the contract.

 

Public Contracts

Supply, Services and Design Contracts Works Contracts Social and Other Specific Services
Central Government £122,976
€139,000
£4,733,252
€5,350,000
£663,540
€750,000
Other Contracting Authorities £189,330
€214,000
£4,733,252
€5,350,000
£663,540
€750,000
Small Lots £70,778
€80,000
£884,720
€1,000,000
N/A

Utilities Contracts

Supply, Services and Design Contracts Works Contracts Social and Other Specific Services
Utility Authorities £378,660
€428,000
£4,733,252
€5,350,000
£663,540
€750,000

 

Concession Contracts

Services or Works

Contracts

Social and Other Specific Services
All Authorities £4,733,252
€5,350,000
£4,733,252
€5,350,000

 

Defence and Security Contracts

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

Security Authorities

£378,660
€428,000
£4,733,252
€5,350,000
N/A

 

Win OJEU tenders in the UK

With the help of Supply2Gov, businesses have the choice to filter down their tender opportunities to their relevant sector and geographical location, with completely free registration. Not only will we save you time and resource, we also make your life so much easier. If you sign up for free today, your business will start receiving tender opportunities like these below from tomorrow:

  • Construction and infrastructure tenders
  • Healthcare tenders and NHS tenders
  • Defence and security tenders
  • Technology and computing tenders
  • Local authority tenders
  • Cleaning tenders

Stay up to date with the procurement process with Supply2Gov.

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As the fifth largest employer in the world with over 1.5 million employees, the NHS is a giant source of public sector business opportunities. As an organisation with entities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the NHS is in continual need of goods, works and services provided by suppliers from across the UK and further afield. Suppliers are required for projects in a wide range of industries, from construction and infrastructure to computing systems and technology, and the opportunities are limitless if you know how to find them.

If your organisation is looking to win business with the NHS, you will need to be aware of the NHS Long Term Plan. Published on 7th January 2019, the NHS Long Term Plan (formerly known as the 10-year plan) sets out the key ambitions for the service over the next decade, with a focus on how the service can meet the rising demands and maintain standards of care.

Supply2Gov can help your organisation win NHS tenders in your industry. In this blog, we focus on the factors organisations need to be aware of to increase their chances of winning NHS tenders.

Suppliers need to be efficient

With a population that is both growing and ageing, and with more people experiencing multiple health conditions, the demand for NHS services are more in demand now than ever. The NHS needs to provide greater care to an ever-growing and ever-changing population, while meeting budgetary and efficiency challenges. Procurement has a role in squaring this circle, with competition between a large pool of suppliers all of whom offer great quality goods, works and services at a competitive price leading to increased efficiency and value for money. With such a large and diverse market and the pressure to achieve value for money leading to buyers being increasingly open to innovation, there are always opportunities for new potential suppliers.

Both suppliers and buyers need to be more collaborative

A continual theme throughout the NHS Long Term Plan is the integration of care to meet the needs of the changing population. This means NHS organisations and local councils are increasingly going to be working together to form sustainable and transformative partnerships, in order to provide better and more joined-up care for patients. Joined-up care will help on with whole host of other issues, for example, using integrated systems to better understand data about local people’s health, which can then bring about change that can be tailored to individual needs. The same collaboration is required for suppliers looking to win NHS tenders. Your organisation will play be part of a wider NHS supply chain, therefore an ability to be adaptable and open to new ways of working is necessary.

In addition, as a smaller supplier with less experience in the marketplace than the ‘big players’, collaboration with other suppliers could open more contract opportunities to you, whether through joint bidding or through subcontracting in a large project. Networking and forging partnerships with other businesses in your sector and geographical area could help you win work with the NHS and wider public sector.

Collaboration is not only to help suppliers work together better – it’s for buyers across NHS organisations as well. Aggregated procurement helps buyers work together. Instead of every NHS organisation publishing a small contract with the same requirement – for example, all the hospitals in Glasgow need syringes – they will combine the need and publish one huge contract, quite often through a large agency such as Crown Commercial Service, NHS England or the Common Services Agency. Potential suppliers can then bid for certain segments of a large NHS contract, known as ‘lots’, instead of the full tender, or for a place on a framework agreement. All in all, this makes NHS tenders more accessible to smaller organisations, while providing value for money for buyers through reduced administrative costs and potential cost savings through bulk purchase. There is a great deal of potential winning business within the NHS, especially on framework agreements with hundreds of suppliers.

Suppliers need to look at innovative initiatives

Buyers within the NHS are always trying to save money, and there are many ways potential suppliers can help them achieve this through successful and innovative procurement. One of the easiest ways is to offer more than the bare bones goods, works or services that the tender requires. For example, if you want to bid to provide all the lighting within a hospital, offer free maintenance with the installation every month or every year. If you want to bid to provide all the uniforms hospital staff wear, include other clothes items for free with the price, or offer a bespoke laundry service for staff use. By offering buyers more than the basic requirement stated in the tender specification, you are offering better value for money, which could be a valuable incentive for buyers to pick you over other competitors as their supplier. As the NHS relies on tax-payers’ money and is constantly struggling to do more with less, value for money is a huge factor and talking point that potential suppliers need to address.

Suppliers need to actively search for NHS tenders

In order to increase your chances of winning NHS tenders, potential suppliers need to actively keep a look out for the right contract for them. Supply2Gov’s tender alerts tool allows you to receive NHS tender opportunities straight to your inbox, every day. The tender alerts can be based on the geographical location your organisation wants to grow business in, as well as the goods, works or services your business provides. This means that when you receive an email from Supply2Gov, you will know it is relevant to your organisation and can focus your efforts on writing your tender bid. If you don’t do your research or read the contract notice, you could miss out on immense opportunities in the healthcare sector.

Become part of the NHS supply chain

By using Supply2Gov’s tender alerts tool, we filter NHS tender opportunities based on your location and business interests and send the tender opportunities straight to your inbox, every day. Don’t miss the opportunity of winning NHS tenders.

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You may never have guessed it, but there is a huge market out there for winning business in the cleaning industry in the UK. According to the latest figures released by the British Cleaning Council, the cleaning industry contributes over £24 billion to the UK economy every year. It is also one of the largest employers, employing around 700,000 workers in full time work, who generally earn a wage higher than the national average. The sheer vastness of the industry means that a diverse range of tenders are available across the public and private sectors – the fact is that the majority of organisations will, at some point, require cleaning services.

Potential suppliers looking to grow in this sector have a high volume of opportunities open to them, from window cleaning to carpet cleaning to event cleaning, Supply2Gov can help you win cleaning tenders so you never miss an opportunity again.

 The public sector is always looking for cleaning services

Cleaning services are required daily for all kinds of public buildings, including:

  • Leisure centres
  • Schools
  • Hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and health clinics
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Prisons and police stations
  • Government and local authority buildings

All public buildings need to be maintained in a decent and usable condition, so the Government and wider public sector are continually looking for high quality and reliable cleaning services. Cleaning tenders will usually have a fixed duration and are highly competitive, so it is important to do your research on the contracting authority issuing the cleaning tender and the cleaning suppliers they have worked with previously.

The cleaning industry has a strong trading environment

Despite over 40,000 businesses operating in the cleaning industry, the market for contractors is dominated by a relatively small number of large or multi-service providers, as well as large and medium-sized specialist cleaning contractors. It is a competitive market where suppliers will need to prove high standards and high levels of efficiency, particularly for cleaning services in the healthcare sector.

However, there is good news for new businesses breaking into cleaning. According to the British Cleaning Council’s latest Industry Trends report, the number of SMEs working in the cleaning industry has significantly increased in the last five years. This has been helped by their innovative ways of reaching out to new clients, as well as businesses combining their services. One example is offering an end-to-end tenancy service for landlords, including cleaning as well as support services, including furniture removals. Many landlords simply do not have the time to conduct thorough cleans between tenants, so this is a good niche for a cleaning business which will drive business growth.

It’s important to be flexible

Cleaning is an incredibly personal business, and your clients will each have their own needs and requests. With this in mind, when applying for cleaning tenders, no matter where it is based – ensure your bid makes it clear that you are flexible and will respond to the buyer’s priorities and preferences. Look at specialising in a specific cleaning service first, for example, office building cleaning. Once you have gained good experience and evidence of projects you have successfully worked on, you will be in a better position to win larger cleaning tenders across multiple areas.

The cleaning industry of the future is looking to become more sustainable by integrating technology (such as cleaning robots) into their cleaning practices. This is part of an effort by the cleaning industry to increase efficiency and reduce the environmental impact from cleaning products. Make sure you are conscious of issues such as these when you are looking for cleaning tenders, and how you can best contribute to this positive change.

Find cleaning tenders big and small

Whether your business is looking to identify building maintenance cleaning, periodic deep cleans or window cleaning tenders, Supply2Gov can help your business find, apply for and win cleaning contracts with the public sector.

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There has never been a better time for your business to start winning construction tenders. The construction industry in the UK accounts for approximately 3 million jobs, providing a total of 10% of UK employment, and is a driving force for the UK economy. This means there are huge volumes of construction tenders out there to be won, if you have the right tools and market insight to get there. Supply2Gov specialises in helping organisations of all sizes that are new to procurement to find and win construction tenders that are right for their business. In this guide we explain how to give yourself the best chance of success.

Know what you are capable of

In the construction industry, the range of tenders available in the UK and the Republic of Ireland is vast. Plastering the wall of one classroom in one school may be a relatively simple tender, yet construction tenders can quickly become complex when it comes to building entire new hospitals or government buildings. Before you even start searching for construction tenders, a great first tip is to fully understand what your organisation can realistically achieve, taking into account your experience, size, location and financial situation. What do you want to gain from working in construction? What can your organisation offer that sets you apart from other organisations?

Once you understand your overall business strategy, and can deliver it with some conviction, it will be much easier to find the construction tender that is perfect for your business.

Make sure you meet the tender requirements

Once you have found the construction tender of your dreams, your next step is to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements. Do this by consulting the Contract Notice and the tender documentation. The Contract Notice will set out general information about the tender – the type of construction work required, the date when work on the project will commence and the contracting authority issuing the tender. Most importantly, it will state the minimum requirements your organisation will need to meet in order for you to apply for the tender. Examples of such requirements may be that all potential tenderers need to be an official registered member of a professional body, or be able to prove that they achieve a certain turnover each year.

Start small to win big

Tender requirements such as a minimum annual turnover can be a barrier for SMEs or micro-businesses to achieve, especially in the construction industry. With over 1.6 million organisations labelled as SMEs in the UK (according to PBC Today, February 2019 statistics), 20% of these are construction industry SMEs. Construction SMEs are a crucial driving force across both the sector and the wider UK economy. If your organisation is a construction SME, a great way to grow your business in procurement is by trying to win smaller construction tenders that bigger companies do not apply for. Build up your experience and grow your knowledge in procurement, showing that you have credible evidence of previous successful construction projects. This will enable you to build up a portfolio of previous public sector work – and references – to show that you have the experience and knowledge behind you to win the bigger construction tenders. In addition, winning public sector work may help you to grow your business and expand your reach.

Understand how your tender bid will be scored

The Contract Notice will state where you can download the full tender documentation, usually for free, which will contain all the details of the tender. You will need to read these documents thoroughly as they will include details of how the selection questionnaires and final tenders will be evaluated, and how each question will be scored by the contracting authority. Understanding the scoring and the weighting placed by the authority on each question is crucial to winning the tender. If the contracting authority states that 60% of your tender bid is scored on how environmentally friendly and sustainable the project is, it shows the authority’s priorities and indicates that you must focus your efforts on achieving this element, rather than – for instance – how cheaply you can deliver the requirement.

Get all your ducks in a row

Supply2Gov’s goal is to get your organisation ready to start tendering – if your organisation already has experience tendering, we can help you to rework your procurement strategy to achieve greater success. The first step in achieving this is by ensuring you have the basic requirements you need (your ducks) for you to complete your Selection Questionnaire (also known as an SQ). Most construction tenders will require you to complete an SQ before you are invited to tender. Think of it like a CV. You can view the list of documents you will need to have in order to submit your tender bid in our Tender Ready checklist once you register for free to Supply2Gov.

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Public sector procurement can be lucrative for suppliers but it can also be an immensely complex process. In this quick guide, Supply2Gov will explain the ins and outs of the procurement process, including details of what happens at each stage and defined definitions of terminology. By the end, your organisation should feel more confident to submit bids for public sector tenders in the future.

What is public sector procurement?

Public sector procurement is the acquisition by public authorities of goods, works and services through a public contract: for example, the supply of hospital beds and other furniture to a public hospital. The steps taken in this process may differ slightly from those outlined below depending on the value of the contract being awarded and the tendering procedure it follows.

1. The contract notice is published

A contract notice, otherwise known as an advertisement of the procurement opportunity to the market, is the first stage of the public sector tender process. It is the most fundamental requirement for a buyer to ensure that a broad range of organisations respond to the bid, encouraging healthy competition in the market. The contract notice will include just enough information about the project for an organisation to decide whether or not they will submit a bid. It summarises the object and scope of the contract and states the basic tendering conditions, such as the submission deadline.

In the European Union, standard contract notices over a certain value threshold are published in the OJEU, an accessible online platform which is free to use. Thousands of contracts are published on there every day from every country in the EU. To sift through them would take a huge amount of time and resource, which is why Supply2Gov’s tender alerts are here to help you maximise your productivity. More on that later.

2. Access the tender documents (call for tenders)

Once a contract notice has been published, organisations are invited to submit their tender bids to the public authority. To do this, organisations will need to obtain the full tender documents, including the detailed technical specifications. Thanks to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, especially Regulation 22, the vast majority of contracting authorities will use e-tendering tools or other online tools, so that all tender documentation is accessed and submitted online. You will need to make sure to read the tender documents thoroughly and understand exactly what the awarding authority requires before submitting. While you may see ways in which your business could add value, a bid which does not wholly meet the buyer’s actual requirements is very likely to fail.

It is important to note the difference in tone between contract notices and tender documents. Contract notices ideally should be written in a clear, honest and logical way so that they are easy to read. Tender documents, however, are heavy on legal conditions and reasons why tenders may be rejected. They are full of terminology and technicalities, but only because they need to be. Tendering conditions must be transparent in advance, so that firms cannot be rejected for reasons they didn’t know existed. The tender documents will also tell you about the selection and award criteria, which are the criteria against which your bid will be judged. Pay attention to these, and to any weightings, they include as they tell you what aspects of the contract the buyer considers most important.

What does contract value mean?

A contract value is the price of a public sector contract. Public sector contracts can range from several hundred pounds to multiple billions, depending on the size of the project and the public authority that issues the proposal. The contract value is not always publicised in the tender documentation, to avoid setting the wrong incentive for firms bidding. It is usually recommended to express the scope of the contract in terms of volume and not in terms of money, for example, ‘we will need 200 hospital beds every month over three years.’ Where the value is stated, contracting authorities are allowed to require bidding companies to have a turnover twice the value of the contract they are applying for. This is to prevent businesses becoming too dependent on one contract for their survival.

3. Submit questions and answers

Organisations typically have an opportunity to ask questions to clarify the call for tenders. Some public authorities may choose to set strict deadlines for the questions to be submitted by, some do not. The answers that are given in response to questions are made available to all firms interested in the tender to avoid exclusivity – this reflects the principle of equal treatment of tenderers. Sometimes questions may clarify mistakes that were made in the tender documentation, so all potential tenderers should be made aware of them.

4. Visit the premises of the project

In instances where the tender is construction work or where machinery needs to be installed, a contracting authority may set a requirement that tenderers inspect the location where the work is needed before they submit their bid. This is to ensure that tenderers have a realistic idea of what is expected of them, giving the project complete transparency. If this requirement is mandatory rather than just recommended, firms that do not take part in this stage of the procurement process may not tender.

There are pros and cons to demanding premises visits, though. A visit to the premises can limit the competition for the tender, given that it will add costs for. This can be particularly costly if the organisation is based far away. This cost of travel will be added on to the final price, which is then paid by the public authority anyway, so it is arguably more limiting than productive.

5. Submit your bid before the deadline

Writing a response to a tender is a demanding process, combining a vast amount of research over a relatively short time period (again – depending on how big the project is.) Tenderers need to be sure that they have answered all the questions carefully, especially the mandatory ones, and that questions with a higher scoring are given more weight and detail in their response. Often, several people work on aspects of a bid. Suppliers should get someone else to read the complete document through before submission to make sure it is consistent and there are no silly mistakes or annoying typos.

The essential thing for a tenderer is that they submit their bid on time. No matter how good their bid is, if it arrives even a few minutes late, it will automatically be rejected.

Build your procurement knowledge further with Supply2Gov. We offer blogs rich with resources and tips throughout the procurement process to help you win business. Your organisation can register for free to receive daily tender alerts filtered by geographical location and your business interests. This means you don’t have to search through thousands of public sector tenders every day, taking up valuable time and resource. Instead, you’ll receive relevant contracts straight to your inbox, giving you contract information at the touch of a button.

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What is a contract notice

If your organisation is looking to grow business in the public sector procurement market, understanding what a contract notice is and what it exists to do is a great place to start. A fundamental requirement to ensure healthy competition for contracts is to advertise them – this is done with a contract notice.

Procurement in the public sector is all about being fair and providing goods, works or services that offer the best value for money. Although other factors such as quality and sustainability are becoming increasingly important to effective procurement, giving all suppliers a fair opportunity to win a contract and grow their business is at the heart of how procurement drives the economy. This is where the contract notice comes in.

Contract notices explained

A contract notice is a mandatory requirement in the procurement process, but it is also a hugely important one. In a nutshell, a contract notice is an advertisement which summarises a new contract (or tender) opportunity in the market. Occurring at the very beginning of the procurement process, the contract formally notifies suppliers of a new opportunity so that they can determine whether they want to bid for it.

Publishing a contract notice is a legal requirement, but it is more than that. A contract notice allows buyers to spread the word about their contract as widely as possible, meaning they will receive more offers and obtain better quality and value for money for everyone involved.

What information does the contract notice include?

The contract notice must contain a description of the buyer’s minimum requirements that will provide enough information to allow a supplier to decide if they will bid. It states the object and the scope of the opportunity, as well as the basic tendering conditions such as the submission deadline.

Supply2Gov’s parent company, BiP Solutions, hosts an Ultimate Guide to public sector procurement. This is a rich resource for information on contract notices and the wider procurement process – a must read for organisations of all sizes and valuable regardless of your previous procurement experience.

Where can I find contract notices?

Procurement opportunities above a certain value threshold issued by buyers in the European Union are published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), which is accessible for free online. However, small to medium-sized businesses may not necessarily read the OJEU, given that they are likely to be new to the procurement market and perhaps looking for lower value opportunities to get started in public procurement.

Supply2Gov is a powerful service which draws on BiP Solutions’ database of contract opportunities of all values researched from the whole UK and beyond. Supply2Gov sends tender alerts straight to inboxes every day. These tender alerts are relevant to your business interests, can even be tailored to a geographical area of your choice and save organisations like yours valuable time and resource searching through databases.

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