Is your business currently bidding for public sector contract opportunities? If not, you could be missing out on a share of the £34.2 billion worth of contracts which were awarded to organisations in June alone!
In the same month, 2,477 contract notices were issued, with a total value of £73.5 billion available to suppliers across a range of industries and locations in the UK.
How to find contract notices
The two main online sources we recommend to search for and monitor contract opportunities are Contracts Finder (the Government site advertising all contract opportunities worth over £10,000) and TED (providing all Official Journal of the European Union OJEU tenders):
Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search
Tenders Electronic Daily (TED): https://ted.europa.eu/TED/main/HomePage.do
The contract notices themselves can seem a little confusing at first, but it is important to search for contracts in your geographical area, your industry and at a value that you can deliver as a company. Read the contract notice carefully to ensure you fully understand the product or service and any deliverables which are outlined.
There are many services available to sign up to contract alerts; however you can sign up for free to receive alerts from both Contracts Finder and TED.
The bidding process
Once you have registered and expressed an interest in a contract opportunity (this is usually done via an online portal), the contracting authority will provide you with either a PQQ or tender document to respond to. If it is a restricted procedure there will be two stages to the bidding process. Companies will firstly be required to submit a PQQ to shortlist providers. Those shortlisted are then through to the tender stage, where a tender document will be completed to decide upon the successful bidder. If it is an open procedure, there will only be a tender stage, to which any provider can submit a bid in order to be considered for the contract.
Typically, there is a 3–4 week window in which to submit your bid. This may seem like plenty of time, but do not leave writing your bid until the last minute! Once you review the PQQ or tender document, there may actually be a lot more to complete than you first thought — it can be deceiving! Some tender submissions are fairly straightforward and comprise a data section and 2,000 words of narrative. However, at the other end of the spectrum, you may be asked to put together 15,000 words plus of narrative.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no correlation between the contract value and the size of the tender document, so ensure that you spend time going through the PQQ or ITT questions, specification and evaluation criteria before you start writing your bid to see exactly what is required of you and how long the document will take to complete to a high standard. Do not forget it is a competition, so you must not only put forward a compliant tender submission, you must also put forward one that is of a higher quality than all of your competitors’.
If you are struggling with the bidding process, or completing a PQQ or tender document, contact our experienced bid team to discuss how we can assist.