Currently the UK abides by EU procurement laws, meaning if a contract is over £118,133 it is compulsory that the contract goes through the tender process to source a suitable supplier.
The government tender process embodies a few key principles:
- All public sector contract notices are published and publicly available, so all companies can see what is out to tender and exactly how to apply.
- The process is fair and transparent, meaning each bidder is evaluated on the same set of requirements and criteria.
- The authority or awarding body mark each bid (based on quality and financial elements) to award the contract to a successful bidder.
- The award is also published publicly so that anyone can see who is delivering the government contract.
For any company selling to the government or public sector (i.e. selling to district councils, city councils, NHS, MOD etc), it is vital to understand the tender process and how to successfully bid for contracts.
Where to find government tenders?
As mentioned above, the European Union (EU) procurement regulations mean that contracts over a certain threshold must be advertised. Typically, across the UK, most contracts over £10,000 are also widely advertised for potential bidders and follow the same procurement process.
Government tender opportunities are published across a number of platforms – mainly Contracts Finder and Tenders Electronic Daily. There are then a whole host of regional portals, local authority sites and third parties who advertise contract opportunities within public sector procurement. All contract information is under open government licence, like most public sector information, and available to all.
Executive Compass publish a selection of live contract notices, updated daily, to showcase opportunities across the UK for public sector bodies. Finding the right tenders and contracts for your business is the first step in the tender process.
Why bid for government contracts?
The UK central government spends billions each year with SMEs, and submitting a successful tender is the only way you can secure work with the UK public sector. Government tenders can be seen as attractive for a number of reasons:
- The contracts tend to run for three years, meaning you have an assured level of work.
- The payment terms are better than private organisations – and the government strives to enforce procedures like the Prompt Payment Code.
- There is less risk associated than working with other companies or private bodies.
- The UK government have a lot of framework agreements in place which provide access to multiple buyers and are tailored towards SMEs.
- There are transparent and set contracts in place.
Tender writing support
So, what is the next step? If you are new to tendering for government contracts, as mentioned above, one of the best places to start is framework agreements, where the government are looking to work with a variety of suppliers, typically in a range of locations or service areas. This can also introduce your company to a few different public sector buyers and public sector organisations.
Ensure you are observing the market and are kept up to date with all contract opportunities, so that you can identify a suitable contract to bid for. Once you have done this, review the invitation to tender documents and decide whether your company holds the relevant bid writing skills to complete the tender in-house; if not look to professional tender writing support for your invitation to tender response.
Executive Compass have completed thousands of government tenders over the past 10 years and are well-placed to support you in any step of your tender writing journey. Contact our team today, or chat to a member of the team via live chat, to understand how we can support you in securing a government contract.