Category: General Procurement

Brexit and Public Procurement

The Brexit transition period comes to an end this year, and from 1 January 2021 there will be changes to public procurement. 

Key points to be aware of until then: 

  • For any procurement started, and not completed before 31 December 2020, the current procurement regulations will still apply until the contract has been awarded. 
  • From 1 January 2021, the new e-tender service ‘Find a Tender’ will replace the Official Journal of the European Union in the UK for above threshold tenders. 
  • The existing UK government portals – Contracts Finder, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI – will remain in operation and will be unchanged.   
  • While there will be no immediate changes to procurement policies, from 1 January 2021 the government will have the power to introduce new or temporary legislation.

How will Brexit affect finding new tenders?

Tenders Direct customers will see no difference. 
 
We will continue to source and publish all notices of any value from across the UK and ROI, as well as notices from the OJEU applicable to UK suppliers.  
 
Proactis manages both the Sell2Wales and Public Contracts Scotland portals, as well as the e-publishing platform myTenders. We, along with a number of other approved e-senders, have been working closely with the government to ensure that all high value notices published through our portals are also published to Find a Tender when the switch happens on 1 January 2021. 

Tenders Direct offers a unique tender alert service – we rely on humans, not algorithms. This means that when the switch goes live, our team will be able source, review and classify all notices on Find a Tender. Other services, which rely on automated systems to source tenders, may not be able to adapt as promptly – as they will have to build systems to source and extract notices from Find a Tender. 
 
Visit our website for more information about our unique service.  


Is there anything I should be aware of?

Procurement policies are likely to remain closely aligned with the rules in place before Brexit. However, when the transition period ends, it may become clear that some regulations no longer apply, or amendments are needed to make them more practical to just the UK. As an example, the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 saw the publication of four Policy Procurement Notes which introduced a range of temporary changes to support the needs of both the government and UK businesses. 

With Brexit concluding while the UK works to recover from COVID-19, new temporary regulations to address this unpredictable combination is something we should be prepared for. 

We will provide updates through this blog if there are any developments which may have an impact on you finding and winning work within the public sector.


Further reading

The Policy Procurement Note: Introduction of Find a Tender explains the upcoming changes in greater detail. 

The UK Government have a page dedicated to Public Procurement After Brexit, which has useful information for both buyers and suppliers. 

For details about all of the changes introduced as a result of Brexit, along with a useful readiness questionnaire, please view the UK Transition page on Gov.uk 

6 reasons why you should do business with the Public Sector

On average the UK Government spends £292 billion a year, more than a third of all public spending, on procuring goods, works and services from external suppliers. This money generates over 50,000 new business opportunities a year for many different industries.  


What is the Public Sector? 


The Public Sector is typically made up of not-for-profit organisations owned by central, national and local governments, for the benefit of their citizens. They cover areas such as defence, education, fire services, healthcare, police and refuse collection. 
 
As the public sector relies on public funding to make decisions, they are required to ensure their financial decisions are made respectfully, encourage free and open competition, achieve best value for money, and ultimately benefit the public. 


Reasons to tender for public sector work

  1. All contracts must be open and accessible – meaning no matter what size your business is, if you meet the criteria and can deliver the tender requirements, you have a fair chance of winning the work. This is different to private procurement where the buyer can choose who to inform of their procurement needs, and who to do business with.    
  1. The public sector wants to award work to SMEs – by 2022 the UK Government wants 33% of all public contracts to awarded to SMEs. SMEs make up 99% of all UK businesses and are vital for the economy.  
  1. 30 day payment period – all invoices for contracted work must be processed by public bodies within 30 days of receiving them, ensuring businesses get paid promptly. Lengthy payment periods can be an issue within the private sector, where larger businesses can dictate when they issue payment. 
  1. Transparent Tendering process – nothing is hidden in public procurement, decisions made are transparent, and suppliers will receive feedback if they did not win a contract. Private buyers do not have to make their processes public, and have no obligations to provide feedback to suppliers.  
  1. Most Economically Advantageous Tenders (MEAT) – is the chosen method of proposal assessment, meaning contract awards are not just based on price, and consider the wider aspects of tender submissions. Social Value is a major consideration in contract awards, and with the Procurement Policy Note – Taking Account of Social Value in the Award of Central Government Contracts, five key themes have been highlighted for central government contracts: COVID-19 recovery, tackling economic inequality, fighting climate change, equal opportunity, and wellbeing. 
  1. Continuously improving processes – to make bidding for work easier and less time consuming, the public sector continually work to improve their processes. Single Procurement Documents are a great example – where these are used, only the winning bidder needs to provide the required documents, saving you significant time and effort. 

Finding public Sector Work 

The public sector offers a reliable source of new business.   
 
From stationary to infrastructure and everything in between, the public sector needs suppliers like you. All notices must be publicly accessible online no matter the size, for any supplier to view and bid for.   
  
There are thousands of portals through which public bodies can publish their notices and you can spend a significant amount of time and effort trying to locate opportunities relevant to your business. Thankfully, Tenders Direct eliminates your need to search for tenders by collating every UK and ROI notice in one place, and alerting you to those relevant to your business.   
  
Tender Direct guarantees you will never miss a public sector notice.  
  
Request a demo today and discover all the opportunities you could be bidding for.  

Public Sector Round-Up 30.10.20


UK tender publishing update

1,045

714

331

Total UK NoticesLow-Value NoticesOJEU Notices
Tender notices published in the UK between 23.10.20 & 29.10.20

If you would like more information about the types of opportunities available for your business, we would be happy to provide you with a free Market Overview.


In the news this week

COP26: Former world leaders urge UK for ambitious 2030 climate goal
While the UK has taken a leading role by committing to reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, there is increasing pressure for more ambitious plans and policies to be introduced. MPs, Lords and wold leaders have joined in the conversation, through which businesses, investors and other organisations have been expressing their concerns.

New blueprint for better hospital food
From an independent review of NHS meals, a panel is reviewing the suggestions to improve the food served in hospitals. The review includes actions, some of which can be implemented immediately, to provide both patients and staff with more nutritious and satisfying food. Could this create opportunities for your business?
To search for existing food related opportunities, please see results from our category search.



Bids should not just be a list of your capabilities, they need to be a compelling documents that tell a story of why your business is the best to partner with.
With the help of expert bid writer, Jamie Edwards, our ‘Writing Compelling Bids’ online training course will teach you how to write more engaging proposals.
We have availability on the following course dates:
10-11th November 2020, 1.00pm – 4.30pm
8-9th December 2020, 1.00pm – 4.30pm


Top OJEU contract award notices

Title: United Kingdom-Stratford: Building installation work
Short description: The mechanical, electrical and public health works for the Victoria and Albert Museum East building at the Stratford Waterfront Culture and Education Development at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Published By: London Legacy Development Corporation
Date Published: 23 October 2020
Framework/DPS: No
Value excluding VAT: £800,00,00.00
Number of tenders received: 4
Contractors: Imtech Engineering London and South Ltd
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE

Title: United Kingdom-Telford: Fire extinguishers
Short description: The supply of hand fire extinguisher and bracket.
Published by: Ministry of Defence, DSG, Defence Support Group (DSG)
Date Published: 23 October 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £900,000.00
Number of tenders received: 1 (of which were SMEs: 1)
Contractors: Firemark Ltd
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login
HERE

Title: United Kingdom-Bristol: Telemetry equipment
Short description: The supply of multi-parameter water quality instruments in order to equip the Environment Agency with the best evidence gathering instruments available. 
Published By: Environment Agency
Date Published: 23 October 2020
Framework/DPS: No
Value excluding VAT: £4,500,000.00
Number of tenders received: 3
Contractors: Xylem Analytics
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE


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.
Visit www.tendersdirect.co.uk to find out more.

Public Sector Round Up 28.08.20

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In the news this week, £32.5 million investment confirmed for Moray, SME’s encouraged to engage with Highways England for £1bn Tech Contract, and £1.5bn Navy contract could open up to EU suppliers.
Our top OJEU notices for the week include a £3.6m construction at Farnham Depot, £72m wastewater treatment plant construction, and £75m in financial consultancy services.
Two complimentary prior information notices of around £1bn each for Highways England were announced this week, with the potential to create significant work for tech companies.


UK tenders update

1,247

670

434

Total UK Public
Sector Tenders
Low-Value noticesOJEU notices
Tenders published in the UK between 21.08.20 & 27.08.20

Top OJEU contract award notices

Title: United Kingdom-London: Railway depot construction work
Short description: Additional sidings to be provided at Farnham Depot. The works also includes providing a DC power supply upgrade, power and lighting, ground level and raised walkways and car parking enhancements.
Published By: First MTR South Western Trains Ltd
Date Published: 21 August 2020
Framework/DPS: No
Value excluding VAT: £3,588,917.34
Number of tenders received: 3
Contractors: Walker Construction (UJK) Ltd
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE

Title: United Kingdom-Mansfield: Wastewater treatment plant construction work
Short description: Contract for design and construction services for new water treatment schemes, along with refurbishment of existing schemes along with associated minor works.
Published By: The Coal Authority
Date Published: 25 August 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £72,000,000.00
Number of tenders received, lot 1: 5
Number of tenders received, lot 2: 14 (of which were SMEs: 11)
Contractors: JBA Bentley Ltd | Kier Integrated Services Ltd | AVRS Systems Ltd | Clayton Project Engineering Ltd | ECS Engineering Services Ltd | Integrated Water Services Ltd | JN Bentley Ltd | nmcn PLC | Seymour Civil Engineering Contractors Ltd
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE

Title: United Kingdom-London: Financial consultancy services
Short description: Framework agreement for the supply of financial advisory services which covers a wide range of financial advisory services including general finance, tax advisory, treasury management, financial analysis and real estate and strategic asset advisory.
Published by: Hyde Housing Association
Date Published: 26 August 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £75,000,000.00
Number of tenders received, lot 1: 5
Number of tenders received, lot 2: 5
Number of tenders received, lot 3: 11
Number of tenders received, lot 4: 12
Number of tenders received, lot 5: 10
Contractors: Deloitte LLP | Ernst and Young LLP | Grant Thornton UK LLP | Mazars LLP | KPMG LLP | Crowe U.K. LLP | Savills UK Ltd | TradeRisks Ltd | CBRE Ltd | Newbridge Advisors LLP | Chatham Financial | N.M. Rothschild and Sons Ltd | Resolute Asset Management LLP | QMPF LLP | Faithorn Farrell Timms LLP | Jones Lang LaSalle Ltd | Cambridge Finance Ltd
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login
HERE


In the news this week

UK Government confirms £32.5 million investment in Moray Growth Deal
The projects supported by the deal include:
◆ £21 million for a Moray Aerospace, Advanced Technology and Innovation Campus.
◆ £5 million for an innovative Digital Health project that will support the increasing demands and service capacity challenges on public health services.
◆ £3 million for a Manufacturing Innovation base for Moray to support the development of process and production efficiencies for businesses.
◆ £3.5 million to support the development of Grant Lodge, a visitor attraction in Elgin that will be part of a culture and tourism-led regeneration of the city centre.

Highways England Wants to Tap SMEs, New Suppliers for £1 Billion Tech Framework
Small businesses are being ‘urged’ to engage with Highways England for its major new £1 billion IT Commercial Framework (ITCF), which offers potential work with software, hardware and services. 

£1.5bn Royal Navy fleet support vessels contracts should stay in Britain, says Portsmouth MP
Stephen Morgan, Labour Portsmouth South MP, reacts to reports that the £1.5bn Fleet Solid Support Ship programme could be put out to tender to foreign firms.


Stand out prior information notices

£1bn Information technology commercial framework (ITCF)
The purpose of this PIN is to inform the market of Highways England’s plans to launch a technology framework that will be called the information technology commercial framework (ITCF). Launched alongside the operational technology commercial framework (OTCF), the ITCF and OTCF will be vehicles to support the delivery of Highways England’s RIS2 technology pipeline and to meet the strategic aims of Highways England.
View full prior information notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE

£950m Operational technology commercial framework (OTCF)
The purpose of this PIN is to inform the market of Highways England’s plans to launch a technology framework that will be called the operational technology commercial framework (OTCF). Launched alongside the information technology commercial framework (ITCF), the OTCF and ITCF will be vehicles to support the delivery of Highways England’s RIS2 technology pipeline and to meet the strategic aims of Highways England.
View full prior information notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE



When you join Tenders Direct, your dedicated Customer Experience Manager will share their knowledge of finding public sector tenders for your industry and create a business profile unique to you. By using our unique keywords, we can ensure you only receive opportunities relevant to your business.
In the last 30 years we have supported over 30,000 companies to find and win contracts – and know what success looks like for you.
For more information and to find out how we can help you, please visit our website.


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.
Visit www.tendersdirect.co.uk to find out more.

Top 5 bid writing mistakes: Too little, too late

In this series of posts, I am addressing the common errors that occur time and time again when writing bids. Below is our 4th post and will address the following mistake:

Too little, too late

Leaving work to the last minute. We’ve all done it. It is something that both large and small businesses alike struggle with and with bids it can be critical to your chances of success.

With no guarantee of winning, it is more challenging for businesses to assign the necessary resources needed to give it a strong chance of success. The difficulties in writing a submission, and the time it takes to do so, are often underestimated. These factors often combine which results in an 11th hour panic and sub-par outcomes.

You’ll need a sound project management approach in order to tackle the resourcing requirements of submitting a bid, which could mean temporarily pulling resource from other projects, something that senior management is often reticent in doing.

This is an area we see companies consistently struggle with. It might not always be apparent that there is an issue and its only if and when an unsuccessful tender is picked through that is becomes apparent there was an issue.

Some tips to avoid this:

Plan it out – by addressing our first mistake of the series, failing to prepare, you will have already identified your order of work and the dates these need to be completed  Think about how best to sequence your tasks and which ones can be done in parallel.

Learn from your mistakes – from previous submissions can you identify problem areas that required more time than expected? Can you put in safeguards to prevent this from happening again?

Set your own cut-off date – setting a date that falls before submission deadline will encourage you and your team to complete tasks sooner than needed. Slippage is common and by creating a buffer, you can give yourself time to recover should things not go as planned. If you are still writing first draft answers up to the day of submission (rather than doing final checks on revised versions) something has gone very wrong.

Ask yourself, is it worth it – if the deadline is fast approaching, is it worth putting in so much effort into a short period or would it be best to dedicate time to other tenders and creating more compelling bids. If you are finding that too little too late is a common mistake, try breaking the cycle and developing a more sustainable workflow. In a competitive sector it could be better to submit two high quality bids rather than three mediocre ones.

Ask for help – is there someone within your organisation who could help you with planning and managing your bids? If not, as the Bid Consultancy Manager at Tenders Direct, I have plenty of experience in identifying mistakes and helping bid managers achieve greater levels of efficiency. I’m always happy to discuss what actions you could take to quickly make improvements to your bid process, and help you get back on track.


For my final post, we’ll look at the the mistake of overlooking key details.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for specific help with your bid, please get in touch. Every week I help clients with their tendering, from bid writing to leading on bid responses. Use the details below to view the range of services we offer or to contact me directly. 

Tel: 07384 818 704
E-mail: andrew.watson@proactis.com  
Web: View our training and consultancy services 


Other posts in the Top 5 Bid Writing mistakes series:
1 – Failing to prepare and preparing to fail
2 – Biting off more than you can chew
3 – Not knowing how your pricing fits into your strategy
5 – Overlooking key details

Changes to procurement policy: Use of Procurement Cards

The Government has been very responsive in making changes to procurement policy to help protect suppliers, their workforce and their supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their latest PPN: Use of Procurement Cards, is aimed at maintaining cashflow to suppliers, while also ensuring the public sector is able to access goods and services quickly.

What has been introduced with this PPN?
Procurement Cards are being highlighted as the preferred method for purchasing goods and services, and the key points from this document are:

  • Single transaction limit increased to £20,000 for key card holders
  • Monthly limit on procurement card spend set to £100,000
  • Monthly procurement card spend in excess of £100,000 is permissible to meet business needs.
  • Opening up of more purchase categories providing access to a greater range of goods and services.
  • Above points apply to all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies.
  • Effective immediately as of 6 April 2020

What are procurement cards?
Procurement Cards are essentially charge cards used to purchase goods and services directly. These cards allow for instant payment and avoid the need to go through any forms of purchasing processes.

What is the benefit of using Procurement Cards?
The instant transactions are the major benefit to suppliers, receiving prompt will help them to protect their business, their employees and their supply chains.

By making Procurement cards the preferred payment method and increasing their spending limits, the Government is helping contracting authorities follow the instructions set out in previous PPN: Supplier relief due to COVID-19 – which focuses on prompt payment to support businesses and protect jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Where can I view the full PPN: Use of Procurement Cards?
Click here to read the full PPN on GOV.uk


Top Contract Award Notices this week 10/04/2020

In the last week, over 550 contract award notices were published across the UK – below you will find three of the top notices from the last 7 days. 


Title: United Kingdom-Caerphilly: Tyres for heavy/light-duty vehicles
Published By: National Procurement Service (Welsh Government)
Date Published: 03 April 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £64,000,000.00
Number of tenders received: 9
Contractors: Vaculug Technologies, Tructyre Fleet Management Ltd, Direct Tyre Management Ltd, Exhaust,Tyres and Batteries (Worcester)Ltd, Inn Tyres Ltd, Kp Tyres, Tuf Treads, Protyre-Celtic Tyres

Access the full tender notice with your Tenders Direct login details HERE


Title: United Kingdom-Runcorn: Pharmaceutical products
Published By: The NHS Commissioning Board (Operating Under the Name of NHS England)
Date Published: 07 April 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £445,000,000.00
Number of tenders received: 6
Contractors: AbbVie Ltd, Amgen Ltd, Biogen Ltd, Fresenius Kabi Ltd.

Access the full tender notice with your Tenders Direct login details HERE


Title: United Kingdom-Bedford: Construction work for highways, roads
Published By: Bedford Borough Council
Date Published: 09 April 2020
Framework/DPS: No
Value excluding VAT: £20,000,000.00
Number of tenders received: 4
Contractors: Hanson Quarry Products Europe Ltd

Access the full tender notice with your Tenders Direct login details HERE


Are your competitors listed above? Would you like to know their public sector success rate, market share and the types of opportunities they’re targeting? 
With our Competitor Tracking Alerts, you can view their past wins with our five year archive of award notices, and receive alerts when any organisation(s) you choose are announced as winners of above threshold public contracts. 
For more information, please contact us on 0800 222 9009 to discuss further. 

Don’t stop bidding because of COVID-19

While catching up with our business development team, it was interesting to hear that a small number of people are choosing to postpone searching for contracts until after this pandemic. When I asked Euan Henderson, Assistant Sales Manager, what his thoughts were on this, his response was as follows:

“I talk to businesses looking for our support in finding them Public Sector contracts on a daily basis. In the last few days I’ve spoken to a handful who think they can cut costs and pick up business when things are ‘back to normal’. 

“This is a bad decision.  

“If you are waiting until after the pandemic to start bidding on tenders, think differently. The public sector will always need suppliers, so now is the time to ensure you are building a pipeline of bids and working to secure business for the future.   

“Thinking about searching for tenders yourself? Save your resources! Tenders are published on over 500 portals, meaning that without Tenders Direct, you would have to spend a LOT of time searching different sites and sifting through notices to find anything suitable. 

“Most of the businesses I’ve been speaking to are trying to be as proactive as possible, and if they are your competitors, then they are going to have plenty of business lined up over the next few months.”  

It really is important to be aware of what opportunities are out there, and that you are working towards securing business for the future. If you are proactively seeking opportunities, you may be interested in our Advanced Tender Alerts.

We have over 5 years’ worth of historical tender information to tap into, and with our advance alerts, we can let you know when contracts are due for renewal – giving you a head start of up to 6 months.

Watch our video to find out more, or get in touch to discuss further.

Sales Team: 0800 222 9009 | Customer Service: 0800 222 9010 

New Public Procurement thresholds 2020/2021

New Thresholds

The European Commission published the updated procurement thresholds for 2020/2021 on the 31st of October 2019.

There is still much uncertainty about what will happen next with a confirmed Brexit delay until 31st of January. Much will depend of the results of the upcoming election on the 12th of December 2019.

For now, United Kingdom remains a part of European Union and the new thresholds will therefore apply from 1st of January 2020.

Regulation

The Regulations set out detailed procedures for the award of contracts whose value equals or exceeds the procurement thresholds. Details of the Regulations are given below.

England, Wales and Northern IrelandScotland
The Public Contracts Regulations 2015The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015
The Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016The Utilities Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2016
The Concession Contracts Regulations 2016The Concession Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2016
The Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011

Social and other specific services are subject to the ‘light touch regime’ as described in a previous blog.

Public Contracts

Thresholds are exclusive of VAT.

 Supply, Services and Design ContractsWorks ContractsSocial and other specific services
Central Government

£122,976

€139,000

£4,733,252

€5,350,000

£663,540

€750,000

Other Contracting Authorities

£189,330

€214,000

£4,733,252

€5,350,000

£663,540

€750,000

Small Lots

£70,778

€80,000

£884,720

€1,000,000

n/a

Small lot is a contract, or part of a contract, that is exempt from the public procurement rules. You can read more about it here.

Utility Contracts

Thresholds are exclusive of VAT.

 Supply, Services and Design ContractsWorks ContractsSocial and other specific services
Utility Authorities

£378,660

€428,000

£4,733,252

€5,350,000

£884,720

€1,000,000

Concession Contracts

Thresholds are exclusive of VAT.

 Concession Contracts
Authorities

£4,733,252

€5,350,000

Defence and Security Contracts

Thresholds are exclusive of VAT.

 Supply, Services and Design ContractsWorks ContractsSocial and other specific services
Defence and Security Authorities

£378,660

€428,000

£4,733,252

€5,350,000

n/a

 

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Timescales under the 2015 Public Contracts Regulations – updated

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We regularly receive queries regarding the minimum timescales that apply in each type of procurement procedure. These timescales specify the number of calendar days required between a notice being sent to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) for publication and the deadline for submission of responses.

The timescales can often cause concern with both suppliers and buyers due to the delay between submission of a notice to the OJEU and it’s publication. It can take at least 48 hours for a notice to be published after it is submitted, during which time there is an embargo on it being advertised nationally (for more information please see this blog).

Continue reading “Timescales under the 2015 Public Contracts Regulations – updated”

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