Author Archives

Jill Watson

Just what can you do with a CAN?

Hands up who has heard of the Contract Award Notice (shortened to CAN for those with a particular love for procurement and tendering jargon like us)?

If you have heard of it, then you will know that the CAN is the official notification which must be published in OJEU by the contracting authority AFTER the contract has been awarded.  It details the name of the winning bidder, duration of the contract and the value (if the authority has played ball and included that).

When you receive your tender alert emails, remember to look at the document type in the top left hand corner first to check what kind of notification you are dealing with.  You don’t want to go asking the authority for contract documents for an opportunity which has already been awarded!  The different notice types are automatically organised into separate folders on Tenders Direct to avoid any confusion.

Whether you have or haven’t heard of the CAN, you might be wondering at this point how it can be of any relevance to you unless it has your name down as the winning bidder!?

Well don’t dismiss the CAN straight away as it does have its uses.

Continue reading “Just what can you do with a CAN?”

Not winning any contracts?

Are you going for lots of tender opportunities but finding that you just can’t seem to get a look in?  Could you be guilty of bidding “blind”?

I sometimes get the sense that businesses new to public sector tenders (or sometimes even those with years of experience) think that on submitting a PQQ or a Bid,  as long as they’ve made some sort of submission, they’re in with as much  chance as anyone at  getting into the next round or winning the contract outright.  A bit like hoping your lottery numbers come up on a Saturday night or sending out reams of speculative CV’s on the hunt for a new job.

Continue reading “Not winning any contracts?”

Which OJEU contracts should I bid for?

Let’s start with this essential piece of advice:

Do not make the mistake of going after every tender!

It can be appealing to start off on this footing when you see a flood of tender notices coming through, all of which apparently match your business area. But are you remembering how high bidding costs can be and have you really thought about your chances of winning? Companies who bid for everything are not normally the most successful. Bidding on the wrong contract can be a waste of resources if you have no chance of winning so you need to think about things a bit more strategically and start targeting specific opportunities to make the most of your time and resources. Don’t just enter to make up the numbers.

Continue reading “Which OJEU contracts should I bid for?”

If at first you don’t succeed…

With its wildly different culture, risk adversity, rigid processes and sometimes outright incompetence, is it any wonder that so many suppliers are put off working with the public sector?  Probably not.

So, you should just forget it right? Getting into the public sector market will involve hard work and perseverance.  You will have to spend a bit of time understanding the public sector procurement processes and pick up some new skills.  You will more than likely face frustrations along the way, you might even have to change some of your preconceptions about this elusive market.  Sometimes it’ll seem like it’s just not worth the hassle so you don’t bother pursuing it.

But could it be worth a second look? Is it worth getting your company geared up to do business with the public sector? If you supply a product or service that the public sector demands then here are a few things to inform your decision:

– The UK public procurement market is worth over £175 billion a year;
– Public sector organisations are not going to go out of business any time soon, this means a level of security and certainty that you won’t get with a lot of private sector organisations;
– Public sector clients tend to make prompt payments;
– There’s a high chance of repeat contracts;
– Processes are (largely) open, transparent and fair.

Now, if you’ve had a negative experience with a public sector buying organisation, you might well disagree with this last point.  However, the first thing you need to remember is that no two public sector purchasers are the same.  This can be a difficult thing to get a handle on to start with. On opposite sides of the spectrum you could have one organisation keen on innovation, communication and strategic partnerships and another still firmly operating in the master and servant mindset.  It is up to you to do some digging, find out what’s what, then decide which organisations you want to work with.  Tricky, but worth it perhaps?

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