What is public sector procurement and who exactly are the public sector?
This is a question I hear on an almost daily basis: this article will provide a brief introduction to Public Sector Tendering and a basic guide to the benefits associated with writing a tender.
Did you know that the public sector employs more than 25% of the workforce in the UK and includes
• Government departments and agencies
• The NHS and its local trusts
• The Ministry of Defence
• The Northern Ireland Assembly, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Executive
• Local authorities
• Universities and colleges
These organisations are constantly procuring products and services, and because this involves the use of public money, they require Pre-Qualification Questionnaires and Tenders to be submitted.
Why Bother: are the PQQs and Tenders worth it???
I am often asked, once firms have identified what exactly the public sector entails, “Is it worth the effort writing a PQQ and tender submission?”. The answer to this question is YES, but it is important to evaluate your chances of success, weighing up the cost to you of the bid in terms of opportunity cost and the cost of employees’ time. The idea of opportunity cost is based around the opportunities that could be missed while time is spent working on the submission, and the impact that it has on your business.
Many small to medium sized business owners are unsure about submitting a tender. This is mainly due to a lack of understanding about the practices and processes involved in public sector tendering. In a recent survey conducted on SMEs, 75% said that they rarely or never bid for public sector work, with over three quarters of the businesses questioned saying that it is difficult to find out about opportunities. Over half of the SMEs questioned saying that the process is too demanding to be able to put in a strong submission, and that they struggle to cope with the rigorous demands.
We can help with this aspect, Executive Compass offer a complete bid management package, starting with the identification of opportunities suited to your business and finishing with a bespoke bid that reflects your business practices and procedures.
The advantages of public sector contracts significantly outweigh the disadvantages. The public sector organisations are very good customers: they are legally obliged to be fair, honest and professional in the appointment of suppliers. The strict procedures of PQQs and Tenders ensure that there is no bias towards existing clients or favourable marking of certain submissions, and the public sector organisations are also stable customers who have publicised payment terms, abiding by a 30 day policy of payment upon receipt of a valid bill or invoice.
These factors, when combined, provide an avenue which facilitates a sustainable way of growing and developing your business.
What’s in it for the public sector?
Every day hundreds of public sector contracts are released for a variety of industries, ranging from construction to dog walking. The public sector organisations are encouraged to release contracts as there is a belief that private sector firms can provide numerous benefits when compared to keeping the task in-house:
• Greater competition
• Lower costs
• New ideas
• Quality of service
This article has hopefully provided advice and some guidance on identifying and understanding the importance of tendering for public sector contracts. If you require any further information about public sector tendering then please do not hesitate to get in touch.