All businesses exist to overcome some sort of challenge on behalf of their clients. At Tenders Direct, we specialise in helping suppliers find – and win – public sector contracts. But aren’t public contract notices in the public domain? Surely this information is easy to find? Well, much like a needle in a haystack, relevant tenders for your business are out there but locating them is another matter.

Why is it so difficult to gain comprehensive visibility on public contracts?

No single source

Public contract notices are published in numerous locations by numerous buyers. Tender notices can be found on government databases, websites of individual organisations and purchasing consortia, trade journals and even newspapers. In the UK alone, there are literally hundreds of sources.

Erratic categorisation


Tender notices are not categorised consistently. This is largely due to the limitations and misuse of the EU standard method of notice classification, the Common Procurement Vocabulary.

According to a European Commission report up to 23% of contracts published in the Official Journal of the European Union are classified with CPV codes that do not accurately reflect the works or services being procured. Consequently, any search function or automated matching system based on these codes will return incomplete and inaccurate results.

Complex procurement processes

The increasing usage of frameworks agreements has muddied the waters in terms of where and how tenders can be published. Many published by individual organisations are left open for use by other public sector bodies in different areas of the country, while frameworks published by regional or national purchasing consortia are becoming increasingly common.

This means that many framework agreements open to local buyers can be published far outside the operating area of local suppliers, so unless you monitor every tender database in the country you may not be seeing the full picture.

What does this mean for suppliers?

For companies pursuing public contracts, all of this presents a huge challenge in terms of business development:

  • Any automated alerts based on CPV codes give you patchy coverage at best
  • Any attempt to trawl tender databases manually means spending large amounts of time being bogged down in masses of unfocused information
  • If you don’t comprehensively monitor tender databases nationwide, you run the risk of missing out on opportunities


In our next post we explore precisely how Tenders Direct creates clarity from this confusion.

2 thoughts on “A Closer Look: The Challenge

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