Business Development

How to Win Government Tenders

By Hudson Procurement Group
July 2020

Although the procurement market is vast, government tenders (or ‘public’ tenders) in particular are often in high demand. There are several reasons for this. The UK Government is keen to encourage SMEs into government supply chains in order to improve value for money within the public sector.

Although tendering for government tenders is highly regulated, the advantage is that no matter how small your business, there is always an opportunity to supply the government. Their remit extends across all major industries and sectors.

Additionally, the Government has to be transparent in the way they are spending public money. This means there are no grey areas during both the tendering process and any time spent under contract.

Most importantly, public sector bodies have to pay accounts within 30-days of receiving a valid invoice/bill. This makes for positive Buyer/Supplier relationships.

Sit down with our Head of Bid Management as we quiz him about winning government tenders.

Q: Introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Dan. I’m Hudson’s Head of Bid Management and it’s my role to drive Hudson’s Succeed strand. I make sure Hudson supports all our clients to the best of our abilities and that means giving each client the best possible chance of securing contracts through competitive tendering.

Q: How long have you been working with Government Tenders?
Almost 4-years now. Since working at Hudson I have gained strong knowledge in Government Tenders, what the procurement teams want and what they look for in suppliers.

This helps me to work with our clients to focus the tenders on demonstrating their expertise and track records to the best of their abilities.

Q: Where does your expertise come from?
For writing, this comes from my degree in English Literature. Looking back – 1,500-word essays seem a breeze compared to the 52,000-word bid my team have picked up that is due in a fortnight.

For management, I’ve got up to 7 years’ experience working on various leadership programmes for a wide range of blue-chip companies and smaller businesses. I’ve had multiple secondments into higher management positions and currently sit on the senior management team here at Hudson.

Q: Tell us more about tendering for government…
Tendering for government opportunities is no easy feat. Due to the regulations and legalities involved there are many hurdles businesses have to face in order to be even shortlisted with government tenders and other public sector organisations.

We are a company that understands both public and private sector procurement, as well as having a tender writing model that works and dedicated consultants to support you throughout the tendering process from sourcing the right opportunities, to creating strong responses, and submitting successful bids.

Q: What comes under ‘Government Tenders’?
Broadly speaking, ‘government tenders’ includes work within the following:

Central civil government departments and agencies.
The NHS and its local trusts.
The MOD (Ministry of Defence).
Local Authorities / Local Government.
Universities and Colleges.
State-run Schools.

All of these sectors are funded by public money, which therefore makes them part of government expenditure.

Q: How do you find Government Tender opportunities?
Government bids and tenders (UK) can be found in several places. Within the UK there are multiple procurement portals and many departments have their own websites for department-specific tender opportunities.

Primarily, government tenders can be found on such places as:

Contract Finder
Sell2Wales
Public Contracts Scotland
ProContract

There are quite literally thousands of procurement portals. Knowing where to find tenders that suit your service offering can be impossible.

My team here have a great tool in our armoury to help find you the right Government Tender opportunity. Hudson Discover helps businesses access tendering opportunities that are specific to their sector and specific service/product offering.

If you are looking for an accurate, time-saving tool then we recommend investigating our Hudson Discover offering. We source and collate thousands of public and private tender opportunities for our 11 sector-specific portals:

Construction
Logistics
Hospitality
Human Resources
Creative
Technology
Facilities
Consultancy
Research
Finance
Healthcare

Our ever-widening client group combined with our growing team means that we are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities for our customers, so no matter the sector, our bespoke bid consultancy services are for you.

Additionally, we assist our portal subscribers in identifying their tender opportunities by manually tracking all opportunities daily.

Our team manually scrape thousands of tender portals, websites (and even social media platforms!) to ensure we capture all available opportunities into our Hudson Discover portals, before reviewing the suitability of each tender and contacting our customers directly providing them with tailored opportunities.

This ensures we give a bespoke service to all our clients, ensuring they get the maximum out of their investment with us.

Q: What kind of tenders are available?
Because we capture all available opportunities, we provide great flexibility in the types of buyers we provide to our clients.

Typically the types of tenders can include:
Government Departments tendering for a solution to a problem.
Housing Trusts looking for services to support delivery.
Charities looking for a solution to a social issue.
Public Bodies looking for best value products or services from the open market.
Private companies looking to source a solution to a business need.
…and the list goes on!

Even if we just focus on Government tenders, there’s still a great range of opportunities. The recent tenders that spring to mind include:

Department for Transport who recently required updated software services to help them run efficiently.
The Ministry of Defence was looking for innovative engineering solutions.
Local Councils nationally are looking for cleaning services across the schools under their regions.
London Boroughs are looking for companies who can design improved drainage solutions.

With so many tenders available, if you don’t already have a way of identifying the suitable opportunities to your company, you’re definitely missing out!

Talk to the team at Hudson today and let us capture these tender opportunities for you.

Q: Where is a good place to start?
If you are starting out on your tendering journey and are interested in government tenders within the UK, then investigating public sector Frameworks is a really good place to start.

Frameworks provide the Buyer with an approved list of Suppliers. They can draw upon this list for individual services over a period of time. For example:

Framework Title: Construction Consultancy Services

Buyer: HPO (Hypothetical Procurement Organisation)

Contract Length: 4-years

Framework Value: £10,000,000

Framework Description: HPO are seeking 25 suppliers to deliver on the construction consultancy framework between 2020 and 2024 across 4 Lots:

1: Project Management
2: Building Surveying
3: Quantity Surveying
4: Contract Administration

In the above example, if you were a construction consultancy SME who offered two of the requested services, you could apply for two of the Lots. Likewise, if your company offers all of the required services, you can apply for all Lots.

Individual Frameworks work slightly different. Broadly speaking you can expect to go through a tender process to be considered for the Framework. If successful you become one of the approved Suppliers.

Once you are on there, you will have the opportunity to apply for individual jobs/mini-tenders.

Many Local Authorities offer Frameworks, as well as other public sector members. Here are just a few that are worth investigating:

ESPO

East Shires Purchasing Organisation is a public sector owned professional buying organisation (PBO). It offers over 120 Frameworks and provides procurement services for six-member authority councils:

Leicestershire County Council
Lincolnshire County Council
Cambridgeshire County Council
Norfolk County Council
Warwickshire County Council
Peterborough City Council.

YPO

Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation is a publicly owned central purchasing body based in Wakefield, Yorkshire. It is owned and governed by a consortium of county, metropolitan and borough councils in Yorkshire and the North West England. It offers over 100 Frameworks and has partnerships with such organisations as:

BESAA
EduBuy
Crown Commercial Service
iNetwork
Institute of Customer Service
LACA
Institute of School Business Leadership
North Yorkshire Procurement Service

SUPC

Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium comprises of dozens of member Universities and other Higher Education bodies across the South of England. Together, the members have a considerable non-pay expenditure of over £3 billion. As a supplier to SUPC, companies have direct access to unique opportunities across a whole range of sectors.

NWUPC

North Western Universities Purchasing Consortium is a not-for-profit organisation owned by its Full members consisting of 23 Universities within the North West Region.

Framework Agreements are not mandated. Members make purchasing decisions based on their individual requirements and University guidelines. Frameworks currently cover:

Administration
Professional Services
Audio Visual
Catering
Computer
Domestic Supplies and Services
Estates
Furniture and Soft Furnishings
Laboratory Supplies
Stationary and Office Equipment
Telecommunications

NEUPC

North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium Ltd. (NEUPC) is one of six UK Higher Education purchasing consortia established to deliver and manage a wide range of collaborative framework agreements. These were designed to maximise third-party expenditure within the higher education sector.

Some of their members include:

University of Bradford
University of Derby
University of Leeds
Leeds Trinity University
Teesside University
York St John University

LUPC

London Universities Purchasing Consortium has over 100 members. This has resulted in multiple, diverse Framework opportunities across London and the surrounding environs.

Current Framework opportunities cover:
Audio Visual
Catering
Estates and Facilities Management
Furniture and Furnishing
ICT and Telecoms
Library
Office Supplies and Equipment
Professional Services
STEMED and Laboratories
Travel and Accommodation
Utilities

What next?

If you are dedicated to pursuing government tenders, then investigating which public sector Frameworks are suitable for you to apply for is certainly an advisable place to start.

It is important to remember that if you are tendering in the public sector, the buyers you will be dealing with will need to prove beyond doubt that they are spending public money in a responsible manner. Consequently, you will need to be prepared to evidence the following:

Relevant experience
Strong financial and economic standing
Appropriate insurance levels
An economically advantageous approach

For more information on how to go about this, check out our free, online learning resource Tender VLE where you will find short masterclasses on different tendering subjects.

Q: What should I know about tendering for Government opportunities?
One thing which is becoming more and more apparent in government tenders is the additional social value aspects.

Buyers are asking more and more for proposals onto how economic, environmental and social issues will be tackled effectively should you secure the contract. We recommend you have a strategy in place describing how you excel at these elements and have policies relating to environmental practices and CSR (to name a couple).

If you don’t have these in place, (or are wondering what a CSR even is!) Hudson’s Tender Ready service can create these for you.

Our team will explain what buyers are looking for and work with you to create all the supporting information you need to get Tender Ready.

Q: How do I create a strong tender response?
To make sure you give yourself the best chance for success, there are a few sure-fire methods you can use to create a strong tender response:

Make a checklist and bid management plan to ensure you are covering everything off from the outset. This helps you remain in check throughout and allows you to plan other aspects to the tender management process, i.e. allocating works, internal deadlines etc.
Consider that, although it’s evaluated predominantly on quality, an engaging visual element (where possible) is always great for creating ‘free-flowing proposals’, where you are not limited to Arial Font Size 12. This shows that more time and effort has been put forward, rather than a sloppy and rushed look.

For more tips on how to create a strong tender response, check out our Tender Virtual Learning Environment, the first of its kind to support companies get to grips with tendering!

Q: What should I remember whilst writing my Government Tender?
I always say to follow an age-old classic method when writing tender responses. The PEEA method. This stands for:

Point – the ‘what’ you are going to do.
Explanation – the ‘how’ you are going to do it.
Evidence – the ‘where’ you have done it before.
Added value – how specifically you can add value to this client in particular.

It’s simple but very effective.

Q: How does the Government evaluate its tenders?
Almost exclusively, Government tenders are evaluated based on most economically advantageous tenders (MEAT).

Not sure what that is? Don’t worry, check out our explanation: Sourcing the MEAT.

This can vary in my experience, depending on what kind of procurement exercise is being used, i.e. RFP, RFQ, ITT, SQ etc.

Again, if that’s just a bunch of letters, our free learning environment Tender VLE can give you a guide to tendering terminology.

Q: Where can I get help?
So, you’re on-board. You’ve bought into the concept of tendering for the wealth of local government opportunities; but how do you write winning bids?

This is where Hudson’s range of services can help. Our tendering experts can support you and develop your tendering abilities from day 1.

Our Tender Ready service will get your company into the best possible position to start seeing tender successes. We will produce all the documentation your company will need as part of a compliant tender response, including:

Creating your CVs
Creating company policies
Creating strong case studies
Producing and submitting a tender on your behalf; or
Guiding your creation of two tender submissions; or
Developing a brochure showcasing your strengths (if no current tender opportunities are suitable)

If you’re unsure about tendering for Government opportunities or tendering as a whole, the team at Hudson can help.

We offer a range of tender support services to help you learn, improve and ultimately, succeed!

Our Tender Writing service supports one-off bids if you’re in a busy period.
Tender Improvement support is available to help you see improved success.
We can be a Tender Mentor, helping you master that difficult tender.
Our Tender Manager service will take care of all your tendering services.
Tender VLE is the UK’s first free-to-access resource dedicated to helping you understand how to tender.

Business Development Opportunities Near You – Finding Local Government Tenders

How do you drive your business development?

It’s a simple enough question, but when you think about it can you confidently answer it? Can you explain how you identify new business opportunities, such as local government tenders, and are you confident in making the most out of each opportunity with your current bid management process?

Really think about it – are you driving business opportunities by working from one contract to the next and not actually growing as a business? Or, are you actively pursuing ever bigger, better contracts which will result in expansion, new staff and a bigger turnover?

Finding Local Government Tenders…

The old saying ‘if you’re not going forwards, you’re going backwards’ is still as true today as it ever has been, perhaps even more important in today’s competitive tendering marketplace.

So where can you find the opportunities for growth?

Well a great place to start, no matter what your business is, is local government tender opportunities. The public sector is filled with organisations who are constantly needing goods and services and believe it or not, want your company to supply them!

Where can you find these opportunities? At Hudson, we operate eight strands to help your business grow, one of which is Hudson Discover. Hudson Discover houses our 10 sector-specific tendering portals which are updated daily by a team of Opportunity Trackers.

So, how can our Discover portals help your business?

Let’s look at a few examples:

Bob’s Butties is a small sandwich shop on the high street. It’s a small business making a small profit. However, if Bob wants to source local government tenders to provide catering for the local town council (for example) he could easily double his annual turnover. Hospitality Tenders is dedicated to Bob’s sector, therefore, Bob only sees relevant catering tenders that he can bid for.

The same is true for Mildred’s Motor Garage; if Mildred lands a local government contract to provide scheduled maintenance for the town council’s fleet of vehicles, she’s increasing her turnover and instantly growing. Mildred would log into Logistics Tenders, search for ‘vehicle maintenance’ and be presented new contract opportunities.

Local Government tenders are the key for thousands of small companies across the UK to securing growth, sustaining business and increasing turnover.

Need some tailored support?

At Hudson Succeed, we offer free phone consultations via our Hudson Helpline.

The helpline allows you to speak to a professional Bid Writing consultant for 20 minutes – completely free of charge. This is the perfect opportunity for businesses who wish to improve their tendering processes or to simply ask tendering-related growth questions they are struggling to find the answer to.

Our team have decades of experience supporting the growth of businesses and offering tendering support services in various sectors including Creative, Technology, Facilities Management and Research sectors to name a few. We have also worked with a number of international companies across the USA, India, South Africa, Finland, and Germany and across Shanghai.

What can you use the Hudson Helpline for?

During your 20 minute consultation, you can utilise this time to:

Ask our consultants about questions on a current bid
Ask for advice regarding your current tendering process
Discuss any of our services including:
Hudson Discover,
Hudson Succeed
Ask for general tendering support, whether this is how to tender most effectively or where to find new business opportunities.

Further support

In summary, the most important thing to think about when you tender for local government opportunities is to prepare as far beforehand as you can.

Go into every tender response focussed on the end goal being business growth. Commit to the tender process fully, allocating resource and time to ensure you’re submitting the best tender possible.

For more information on how to tender for government opportunities, call or email our Succeed team for a free consultation. Remember to check out Tender VLE, the UK’s first free-to-access virtual learning environment for more guidance on organising your tender documents.

For more information, or to speak to a consultant, please visit our website to get in touch.

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