Tender Guidance

How to Tender

A comprehensive and detailed guide on how to tender for government contracts.  It offers realistic advice that has been shown in real tendering processes to work.  Learn about tendering from beginning to end.  Updated 2013.


Government Payment Terms

The Government’s payment terms for dealing with suppliers.

European Tenders

Information on thresholds, notice types and procedures.


Tender Guidance

An outline of the tender process, with tips and guidance on bidding effectively.



Introduction 1

Tendering Thresholds 2

Notice Types 2

Different Tendering Procedures 3

The Need for a Diversity of Suppliers 3

Pricing 4

Choosing to Bid 4

Structure of Tender Documents 5

Preparation of Tender Documents 6

Asking Questions 6

Useful Points 6

Preparing Information on your Company and its Services 7

Subcontracting 8

Requesting Copies of Successful Tenders Under the Freedom of Information Act 8

Complaints’ Procedures 9

Conclusion 9

Additional Guidance and Policy Templates 9

Credits and Copyright Notice 10




Successfully locating, completing and winning tenders is a vital aspect of being a public sector supplier. For companies that wish to compete only for very small contracts understanding the tender process may not be necessary, but for those that want to secure public sector work as a significant percentage of their company’s business it is absolutely imperative. But too often many organisations seeking to become government suppliers do not effectively acquaint themselves with the tendering process, and so even if on one occasion they win a tender, they are unable to repeat the process on another occasion. And yet, the tendering process is actually quite logical; it is a structured sale governed by the legal requirements of public sector buyers. With the right planning and the right effort any company that has a quality service to offer can win a tender. It may be necessary to educate oneself in the needs of the public sector marketplace – and the first attempt may not succeed – but it can be done.


In this short document I will provide information on the nature of tenders themselves, the structure of tender documents, the requirements made of companies presenting a bid, guidance on how to meet those requirements, common failings in dealing with the tender process, useful tips to gain an added advantage, and how to procurecopies of successful, fully completed tenders in order to see how other companies have won business in the past. I have drawn together information from many different government sources to provide a concise outline of the tender process, without the need for developing an elaborate understanding of European legislation and its effect on the implementation of procurement in the United Kingdom. More detailed information can be found on the procurement portal of the European Union, which is located at the following web address: http://simap.europa.eu/.

Next: Tendering Thresholds