Any business offering products or services in the UK can bid for government contracts and for many companies this is their main source of work.
There are plenty of public sector contract opportunities to bid for at both regional and national levels, accommodating all industries and businesses from sole traders to multi-national corporations.
The issue for many companies is knowing where to find these contracts and submitting a PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire) and ITT (invitation to tender) in line with the procurement process.
Finding a national contract
The best place to start looking for tenders and contracts is on a national site such as Contracts Finder. This site allows you to search for opportunities by industry, by public sector organisations, as well as allowing you to view future contracts in the pipeline.
Use Contracts Finder to search for your industry and view the relevant tenders in your area. Here you have the ability to narrow down your search to region and value. It is important to note that you should only bid for contracts with an annual value one-third of your company turnover.
Another useful site is Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). This site publishes contract notices for the EU and allows you to search for contracts within your industry. Much like Contracts Finder it is a great source for both national and local public sector contracts.
As well as the national sites there are also region-specific sites and procurement portals where you can find local contracts to bid for.
These are run by the local contracting authority for example YORTender is an online portal covering the Yorkshire and Humber region. This portal publishes notices for a number of local authorities and allows you to express interest and submit documents online.
All local authority websites have a procurement section directing you to published notices. Search for the relevant authority to find out more information. For example, London.gov.uk directs you to their published notices and provides information on how to submit bids.
Along with local authority sites and procurement portals, there are a number of industry-specific contract websites. An example of this is Constructionline, a procurement and supply chain management service for the construction industry.
Here suppliers can register and view notices as well as benefit from industry-specific resources and bidding tips.
Submitting a bid
Once you find a relevant contract to bid for the next step is to express your interest. Instructions for this can be found on the specific contract notice, which is usually via an online portal or via email address. In most cases, this will be via email or with portals, and you can express your interest with a click of a button.
Following this, you will receive all the documents you need to submit your bid.
Check out more of our blog and the download area for advice and tips for writing a winning submission.
For information on the contract and tender process, watch the video below: