In short, they are the same thing. 

Traditionally a ‘Tender’ is a formal offer (bid) to supply goods, works, or services, but it is now also commonly used to describe the contracts people are bidding for – which can be confusing. While we might be able to rely on context to identify which is being described, there are alternative terms you can use to help avoid confusion.  

Interchangeable terms used to describe a procurement need within the public sector:  
◆ Request for Tender (RFT) 
◆ Invitation to Tender (ITT) 
◆ Contract 
◆ Opportunity 
◆ Contract opportunity 
◆ Notice 
◆ Tender 

Interchangeable terms used to describe a formal offer from a supplier to fulfil the procurement need: 
◆ Bid 
◆ Proposal 
◆ Offer 
◆ Submission 
◆ Tender 

Learn more about bidding for work in the public sector 

If you would like to learn more about tendering terminology and improve your bid writing skills, we would recommend our 7hr training course – An Introduction to Public Procurement and Bid Writing.
This course has been designed to equip you with everything you need to confidently bid for work in the public sector. It is delivered online over two interactive sessions lasting three and a half hours each – maximising learning and minimising disruption to the working day. Please visit our training courses page to see upcoming course dates. 

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Tenders Direct is the UK’s most accurate tender alert service. We are the only service to guarantee that with us – you’ll never miss a tender.
For more information about we can help you find and win more work in the public sector, please visit or call us on 0800 222 9009.

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