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Bidding Successfully For Public Sector Contracts

Bidding for contracts can be a minefield for small businesses who do not know how to do so successfully and when they eventually get trained, do not know where to find information of the main contractors. The typical syndrome of attending meet the buyers event can be repeated until many  small businesses become sick to death with the process and give up. True, some businesses have come to meet with opportunities  at these events, but they are very few to say the list.

If you are a small business who want to become part of the supply chain in the UK, it does not matter whether you are in the UK or outside the UK, this article will introduce you to some of the main sites you can get the information you need free of charge.

There are many portals you can use to gain first hand access to all the public sector tenders without incurring any fee through subscriptions. I am going to  link you up with some of the sites as well as show you how you can  get your business introduced to the main contractors.

Useful  Websites

To access the names of the main first tier suppliers of public sector you need to visit these sites:

Local Authority Contract Opportunities- here you will find the main suppliers of some local authorities analysed by contract types which the names of the officers in charge of managing the contracts.

<>  - has contracts listing for all 32 boroughs in London. This is a list of contracts and names of contract managers and suppliers.

<>  has contracts opportunities  of 72 local authorities in south east

NHS and Central Government- this is where you are going to find most of the first tier suppliers <>  - lots of NHS contractors on this site <>  - as above <> - here you will find contracts of different public sector organisations, as well as their suppliers in framework arrangement. This website contains contractors for all UK wide contracts and so you have many to select from.

<>  - here you will find contracts of NHS Trusts as well as their main suppliers.

How to use the information above

Step One- Identify the main suppliers of contracts your business can deliver as a sub-contractors; remember to use our Nine Golden Rules  set out in the fast  track toolkit and summarised in our video.  However, it is important you note that  in this case, the requirement for financial proportionality may not be as relevant as it was in the main tender process for the first tier suppliers. Ensure you put together all the evidence to support your suitability to deliver as a subcontractor because if you fail to prepare well you are unlikely to win a contract with these big suppliers.

Step Two- Before you approach the suppliers, do a bit of mystery shopping. Phone them up and find out about the company and what they expect from subcontractors. Get as much information upfront from them as possible so that you will be better prepared when you eventually contact them in the name of your business and, offer them the opportunity to use your business as a subcontractor.

Step Three- Where the contract has just been awarded, it is important to act fast. Even if the contract has been running for sometime there is still the possibility to using subcontractors. Therefore close no doors. If you are told that there is no need for a subcontractor at this point, then ask them when they will be considering new subcontractors in the future. Take note of the months or year and make sure you contact them again.  Persistence is the name of the game.

Step Four- If you are asked to send in details about your business, remember to send a letter that looks professional and   with necessary documentation as requested. Please do not send excessive information. It is important you send just enough information at this stage to excite them to set a date to meet up with you.  If English is not your first language, get your document proof read by a professional editor before forwarding it to them. Remember, first impression goes a long way.  If you are doing this for the first time, we will review your letter as part of the bonus for ‘FREE BID REVIEW’. However, once we utilise our time in providing this support we will not offer you a second free bid review session.

Step Five- Keep in touch with the suppliers you have contacted. Call them up at least once a month. In some cases you will get instant request for a meeting. This is a real possibility particularly for new contracts that have just been awarded. In other cases, you may have to wait for another six months and some even longer. However, you need to keep in touch with each of these suppliers until they get to know you over the phone and at some point they are bound to request a meeting with you or even invite you to register with them for future opportunities. You will be amazed how many businesses have got into the public sector chain simply by using this strategy.

Step Six- Take nothing for granted. When invited to meet with the first tier supplier, remember they are a prospect and it is up to you to present your business in the best possible light. You are to prepare for the meeting as if your life depends on it and so approach it with a disposition of eagerness. After the meeting, remember to send a thank you letter and stay in touch.

Step Seven- Another strategy you can employ with these websites is identification of contracts coming to an end with the intention of partnering with the existing suppliers or first tier supplier. You can simply contact the contract manager and ask for information on where the opportunity will be published. If the opportunity is beyond your business’ capacity to bid successfully after your initial assessment, you can contact the existing first tier supplier or those in the framework arrangement for partnership opportunity. You can tell them about the value your business will add on to the overall contract deliverables and make it plain to them you wish to be consider as one of their subcontractors. Here again is a strategy that many smart businesses have used to get their business through the doors of public sector organisations without completing any PQQ or ITT.

Where to access more tenders without paying a dime

Your business can register in the following websites for free and access most of the public sector opportunities that are put out to tender. We have contacted these sites ourselves and we know they represent a significant  proportion of the opportunities that show up on paid portals charging £600-£850  per annum.


Most of the public sector contracts are managed by organisations such as Buying Solutions, Office of Government Commerce and Solent Supplies. You therefore need to register with the above  websites if you want to have first hand information about new opportunities without investment in expensive subscription sites. Now you can register in these portals so that you can start getting  more opportunities sent to you. In addition, we recommend you continue to participate in other free portals  such as <>  so that you can increase the visibility of your business in the public sector market. Remember, if you are new to competefor, you need your four policies put together before your details will be published to potential buyers.

If  you need assistance with bid writing as well as  learn  strategies for selling successfully to the public sector visit us at


MD Business Services Support Limited

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