Selling to the Public Sector

The Public Sector spends a huge amount each year on goods and services and is always looking for new suppliers. However small the business, there are always opportunities to be a supplier to this market whether through a direct contract or by becoming a sub contractor. Even if you are already a supplier to one part of the public sector, it is worth looking for opportunities in other areas.

The public sector in the UK includes:

  • central government departments and agencies
  • the NHS and local trusts
  • the Ministry of Defence
  • local authorities such as county and district councils
  • universities
  • colleges

What are the benefits of Selling to the Public Sector?

Public Organisations are good customers. They have to be fair, open and transparent in the way they choose suppliers and in any dealings with them. They have to pay within 30 days or any other agreed period per sector, of receiving a valid invoice.

All public sector organisations buying goods and services must obtain best value for money. This means that they will accept the bid that offers the optimum price and quality to meet the user’s requirements, not just the lowest price.

There is a commitment to helping small and medium size businesses compete for government contracts to obtain better value for money for the public sector. Small firms offer:

  • greater competition
  • lower costs
  • new ideas
  • flexibility
  • specialisation
  • quality of service

For details on where to find contract opportunities advertised go to the Procurement Lincolnshire website.

Other routes in

Subcontracting Opportunities - Many of the highest value contracts go to large companies but small companies can play a part in these contracts as sub contractors or by forming a consortium with other smaller companies.

To see who has won the larger contracts go to Tenders Electronic Daily (http://www.ted.europa.eu/TED/main/HomePage.do) website where all contracts above the EU threshold are advertised.

Approved Supplier Lists - Many public sector organisations hold lists of potential suppliers for certain types of work, usually lower value contracts below the EU thresholds. For all contracts above the EU threshold they still need to advertise in the normal way.

The nature of these lists varies between organisations, but all lists should be regularly reviewed to include new suppliers and ensure existing suppliers still provide good value for money.

Where can I find information on available contracts?

There are a number of websites local authorities use to advertise and tender work.

Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). TED is updated five times a week with approximately 1500 public procurement contract notices from the European Union and beyond. Suppliers can browse, search and sort procurement notices by business sector, country, region and more. Suppliers are able to register free of charge for e-mail alerts in order to receive contract opportunities tailored to their interests. This website should be considered as a primary tool for suppliers interested in applying for contracts above the OJEU thresholds. For help on how to receive free email updates please click here.

For contracts below the Official Journal of the European Union thresholds, tender opportunities can be found at the following web-site - https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder.

Transparency in government procurement and contracting for all new central government contracts worth over £10,000 are now available online. You can access these free of charge on Contracts Finder, a service on the Gov.uk website. Use Contracts Finder to access documents published under the governments transparency commitment.

The  website is part of the coalition government’s measures aimed at making it easier for SME’s to find and apply for public sector contracts. Its use will be mandatory for central government departments and their agencies, plus the NHS. All these bodies will be obliged to publish contract opportunities on this site.

Contracts are split out by low value opportunities: £10k to £100k; and high value opportunities: £100k+. A flexible e-mail alert facility is available and the site has greater functionality than the old Supply2Gov website. This should be a key site for contract opportunities beyond Lincolnshire.

Source Lincolnshire. Source portals are a series of East Midlands-centric websites which provide free access to a diverse range of regional contract opportunities. Procurement Lincolnshire will replicate adverts placed on TED on the Source Lincolnshire portal - interested suppliers would only need to respond once. The Source Lincolnshire website may also be used for advertising small value contracts.