How to tender for council contracts

What is the public sector?

The Public Sector consists of non-profit organisations that are owned and operated by central, national, and local governments for the benefit of their citizens. This can include defence, education, fire services, healthcare, law enforcement, and garbage collection.

A third of government public spending is attributed to procurement of goods, works and services from outside suppliers, averaging at £292 billion per year. This money generates over 50,00 new business opportunities for a variety of industries per year.

The public sector relies on public funds to make decisions, as such it must ensure that financial decisions are made responsibly, that free and open competition is encouraged, that best value for money is achieved, and that the public is ultimately benefited.


  • All contracts must be transparent and open to the – This means that regardless of the size of your company, if you fit the criteria and you can meet the tender requirements, you have a good chance of winning the tender. Private procurement, on the other hand, allows the buyer to pick who to tell of their procurement requirements and with whom they wish to conduct business with.
  • The public sector wants to award work to SMEs – 99% of all UK enterprises are SMEs, who are critical to the economy, as they account for 33% of all public contracts. The UK government wants to provide to SMEs and to make this possible, policies have been put in place that allow purchasers to give SMEs more priority.
  • 30-day payment period – To ensure that business are paid on time, public organisation must process all invoices for contractual work within 30 days of receipt. In the private sector, where larger enterprises can decide when they issue payments, long payment delays are a common issue.
  • Transparent Tendering process – Nothing is hidden in public procurement; decisions are clear, and providers that do not obtain a contract will receive feedback. Private purchasers are under no duty to make their processes public or to provide feedback to providers.
  • Most Economically Advantageous Tenders (MEAT) – MEAT is the preferred technique of proposal evaluation. It implies that contract awards are not solely based on price, but also considers other factors of tender submissions.

Contract awards are heavily influenced by social value, and the Procurement Policy Note – Taking Social Value into Account in the Award of Central Government Contracts highlights five essential issues for central government contracts: COVID-19 recovery, economic inequality, climate change mitigation, equitable opportunity, and well-being.

  • Continuously improving processes – The public sector is constantly working to improve its processes to make bidding for work easier and less time consuming. Single Procurement Documents are an excellent example; when these are used, only the winning bidder is responsible for providing the relevant documents, saving you time and effort.


  • Read the tender documents carefully – Most council tendering opportunities can be found on their websites or through tender portals. You can register your interest and have access to the tender documents by visiting the portal. Keep in mind to read these documents thoroughly. They’ll specify what certifications and accreditations are required, as well as other pertinent details.
  • Structure your response – Consider the format of your tender answer if you’re unsure how to tender for council work. Avoid too technical jargon and use language that is straightforward and succinct. The council is most likely not an expert in your field, which is why they’ve outsourced it.

Bullet points can help you include important information while reducing the number of words in your document. Subheadings can also aid in the deconstruction of the question and the organisation of your response. They can also assist you in ensuring that you have addressed all aspects of the question.

  • Social Value – Any public sector tender answer must consider social value. Obviously, the council is no exception. Because social value is weighted at a minimum of 10% in public sector tenders, it’s not something you should consider as an afterthought. Value for money and innovation are important to city councils. They are concerned about the environment and their local communities.

Check out their websites to discover what causes they support. This can assist you boost your application by demonstrating how you will provide value if you are awarded the contract. They want to get the greatest bang for the taxpayer’s cash, after all.

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