Stop spending time bidding for tenders that are not a great fit for your business. Buyers will be able to see that you are not the most suitable supplier for the work and you will have wasted your time that you could have spent more efficiently elsewhere.

Your time is valuable, and should only be spent bidding for work that you have a fair chance of winning and that your business actually wants. By following the guidance provided below you can improve your searches, identify relevant tenders, and get alerted to more opportunities.   

Define your scope of work and the types of opportunities you will bid for 

Before bidding for work, you should have a very clear idea of what you can and are willing to offer as a service. This will save you a lot of time in the long run by helping you to make ‘Go’ or ‘No go’ decisions when reviewing notices. Without a clearly defined scope of work, you could take on work outside of your capabilities or waste time writing bids for work that you are never going to be considered for. Use your scope of work to guide your tender searches and ensure you are not tempted to bid for work that your business is not suited to. 
To help you get started, we have hundreds of predefined keywords split across 24 industries that you can use to help outline your business’ scope of work. You can also click into each of these, adjust the filters to suit your business, and get an idea of how many related opportunities you could expect to find.

Partial view of Administration Applications keywords under our Computing industry category

Keep up to date with public sector news

Following local and national news can give you a significant competitive advantage by revealing potential business opportunities.

Public sector plans and funding are frequently covered in the news and can be used by suppliers as a prospecting lead. In one of the examples below the government announced £725m of funding to help communities across England and included details of each of the towns set to benefit. This information could be used to start conversations with the relevant authorities and develop a relationship before tenders have even been published.
The government also publish any new or upcoming changes to procurement policy, and knowing about these can make a big difference to how you shape your bids. The other example is a change to procurement policy which at first glance is only relevant to contracting authorities, but on closer review it contains useful information for suppliers.

Thirty towns to share £725 million to help communities build back better 

Funding announced for 30 towns in England to boost their local economies, create jobs and help them build back better from the pandemic. 


Procurement Policy Note 05/21: National Procurement Policy Statement 

Sets out information and guidance for contracting authorities on the National Procurement Policy Statement. 


We recommend setting up your own alerts for industry news, however for all updates relating to public procurement and how they affect you, we have it covered – use the sign-up option at the bottom of the page for email alerts, or join our LinkedIn community. 

Familiarise yourself with public sector terminology

When considering bidding for work, you should be fully aware of what the buyer needs and the work you are bidding for. In public procurement there are some unique terms and even procedures that you may not be familiar with, so we have included some of the terms people commonly request definitions for below.  

Framework Agreements 
A framework agreement is a multi-supplier contract under which individual contracts (call-offs) can be made throughout the period of the agreement (normally a maximum of 4 years). It allows buyers to easily procure goods, works or services from an approved list of suppliers. No other suppliers may enter the agreement during its term. 
Procurement thresholds 
For different types of public procurement, there are value thresholds that are used to determine if a contract is high value (above threshold) or Low value (below threshold). High value tenders are published centrally on ‘Find a Tender’, while Low value tenders are not centralised and can be published on any applicable portal – of which there are hundreds.  

Find a Tender 
The official UK portal for high value tenders published in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It does not however have low value tenders which make up x% of all UK tenders. 
PIN (Prior Information Notice/ Periodic Indicative Notice) 
A notice giving advance warning of a contract to be tendered at some point in the future. PINs can now also be used as a call for competition by sub-central Contracting Authorities when using the restricted procedure or competitive procedure with negotiation. 

ITT (Invitation to Tender) 
The paper or electronic documentation issued to organisations invited to tender for a contract. Typically, it includes a background, rules of tender, contract specification, questions or information required and a draft contact. 

A complete list of terms can be found in Tendering Terminology, and further information about the different tendering procedures can be found in ‘What is a Public tender

Register to receive tender alerts whenever relevant opportunities are published

There are so many portals through which tenders can be published, and trying to search through them all would be a lengthy process that results in you missing opportunities because you didn’t check the right portals at the right time.
By registering for a tender alert service, you can let opportunities come to you and focus your time where it is needed most. Before deciding on if you need a tender alert service, let us offer you a complimentary Market Overview. We can run a report and let you know what buyers are looking for and how many opportunities you could expect to find – you can then use this to decide how much effort your business should put on finding work in the public sector.  

We guarantee you will never miss a tender again

Ensure you never miss a tender by subscribing to receive personalised alerts from Tenders Direct. We offer the UK’s most accurate tender alert service, providing full coverage of all low and high value notices.  
We can even let you know about opportunities before they are published. Our Advance Tender Alerts will alert you when public sector contracts are due to expire and give you a head start of up to 6 months before the publication of a renewal notice. With over five years’ worth of historical information available on our database, you’ll receive regular alerts informing you of expiring tenders for both above and below threshold opportunities. 

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