The public sector contract notices that we collate come from hundreds of different sources and are published by authorities across the UK and ROI. While there are legal standards and regulations regarding tender notices, the details included can vary wildly, making it incredibly difficult for you to find all the contracts you are looking for.

This is the problem our peer review process overcomes, and our team behind it are what makes our service unique to anything else on the market. 


Why is there a need to reclassify tenders?

The content of tenders has a significant impact on how notices will appear in online search results, and as the quality of the content within these notices can vary – tenders often get overlooked or missed altogether. In our experience, to filter out irrelevancy, it is always better to rely on results that have first been reviewed by a person rather than an algorithm.


The problem with CPV codes 

There is a Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) code for every product or service, and while buyers should use them to let suppliers know what they are looking for – they often do not. Many notices are coded incorrectly or have no codes whatsoever, meaning they don’t appear in searches, and you miss out on new business opportunities. These codes are also outdated and do not take into account developments or innovations within the industry.

CPV Code and CategoryWhy this code is not useful
79000000:
Business services: law, marketing, consulting, recruitment, printing and security 
Incredibly broad and regularly used in specific tenders.
79415200:
Design consultancy services 
Falls under non-construction but regularly used incorrectly for construction tenders.
38000000:
Laboratory, optical and precision equipments (excl. glasses) 
Optical and glasses in this specific code could mean that opportunities for microscopes could come up in search results for opticians or light catering equipment. 
Examples of CPV codes that are too broad to be useful

There are 9,454 CPV codes, ranging from overly broad categories right the way down to even the most niche industries. With that number of codes, many of which cover similar goods, works, and services, it is easy to opt for more generic codes or select codes that don’t fully define the contract’s requirements. While we do use these codes as a reference, relying just on CPV codes would result in you missing valuable contracts and seeing far too many inaccurate opportunities.

Our colleague Carol has been classifying tenders for over 20 years, and if CPV was a language – she would be fluent. But that’s only after years of reviewing tenders daily, think of how much experience you would need to differentiate the differences between each code and what search terms would fully meet your needs.


The problem with tender titles

Tender titles can be misleading, especially if you are conducting your own tender searches. Some tenders are simple and require exactly what is contained within the title, but if the notice has lots or is a framework there can be so much more than a title gives away. That’s why we frequently change the title of the notices we source.  
 
Problematic CPV codes slip into this issue too. Some systems generate automatic tender titles based on the chosen CPV codes – incorrect codes, generate incorrect titles. With that combination, how are you expected to find notices!

Original titleTenders Direct Edit
Landscaping – Hard landscaping (20% VAT) Landscaping – Hard landscaping (20% VAT) Boroughwide works – Fences
18/0554 Moray Home Energy Efficiency Services 
Vessel Traffic Services Software, Associated Hardware, Maintenance and Support and Port Management Information System Software, Associated Hardware, Maintenance and Support Vessel Traffic Services Software and Port Management Information System 
Examples of contract titles as they were published, and how they appear on Tenders Direct

This first example above, Land Scaping – Hard Landscaping, is where the authority has published a notice using the classification of what type of work the contract falls under in their own categorisation system as the title, rather than the works or services actually required. We have updated this to include the individual works required in the contract as well as the original title so that it is unique and more easily identifiable.

In the second example, the authority has put the reference number for the tender notice as the title and the title into the reference number when creating the tender notice. To fix this we updated the notice with the correct title, allowing our customers to accurately locate it and determine its relevance.

The third example shows how titles can be overly long, include repetitive information, have irrelevant information, and be difficult to read. When you’re spending a large portion of your day looking through numerous contracts, less readable formatting can make missing an opportunity just that more possible.


The problem with context

If you’ve ever seen a tender notice, you’ll have noticed there’s a lot of information included and most of the time, much of it is not directly related to the procurement requirement itself. For example, there may be background information about the buyer, such as details of various other projects they have been involved in, the numerous people they help, and sometimes even a bit of background information about the area they operate in.  

When an automated system scans all of this for information, there are many keywords extracted that wouldn’t be relevant to what the buyer is looking for. This then results in you receiving alerts for irrelevant notices. 

We’ve heard about companies who provide DNA sequencing kits receiving ‘ordnance survey’ opportunities just because it happens to have the letters “dna” within the word! 

Regional information is also an area that can cause confusion for automated systems. If an algorithm is running to find region names or codes, it will not be able to interpret the context in which these references are made. A lot of councils will put UK as the region code, even if they are only looking to work with local suppliers – this is something we correct. We also find certain housing associations cover various areas, and this could be missed if relying on the region codes used by the buyer on the tender.


What benefits does reclassification offer?

Our review process is what makes us the most accurate tender alert service in the UK. By classifying notices with our unique keywords, you will never miss a contract because a certain word or phrase was missed from the original notice description.  
 
Our classification process eliminates irrelevancy by preventing these common errors from ever happening:   

  • Being alerted to a notice because of a certain term being used, but not in the correct context  
  • Missing alerts due to the lack of detail in the tender notice description 
  • Finding notices for other industries because of terminology crossover 
  • Viewing notices for regions or locations you do not operate in 
  • Receiving alerts for notices that have been coded incorrectly 

Humans, not algorithms. The most important aspect of our classification process is the human element. Reading each individual tender notice allows us to understand the context and depth of each individual contract. 
 
Our reclassification process allows you to search and filter notices to meet your exact needs, you can use our filters to sort through notices by: 

◆ Keyword

◆ Category

◆ Notice type

◆ Publishing authority

◆ Publication date

◆ Status

◆ Region

◆ Value

Our thorough reclassification process ensures you will never miss a tender again. Visit Tenders Direct to try our keyword search for yourself. 

If you would like to know more about the reclassification process, our post ‘How does Tenders Direct reclassify tenders‘ written by my colleague Cameron, has more information.


About the author

“I’ve been a part of the Tenders Direct team since May 2017, initially as an Account Manager before transferring to become a Classification Specialist. My time spent directly helping our customers source contracts has really aided me in my abilities when it comes to classifying tender notices, by understanding what our customers want to see and how we can provide accurate results. Beyond the scope of reading tender notices, I’m an avid crafter so you can always find me with multiple knitting, embroidery or cross-stitch projects on the go (my colleagues can attest to this as there are a few on my wall behind me in zoom meetings!) or out in the local music scene either as a keen audience member or singing on stage.”

Kirsty
Classification Specialist

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