24 May 2018

– Richard Voisey, Nwes Business Consultant

How does your business bid for new work? A method worth looking at is contracts, which requires the completion of a tender of bid document. Contracting is a great way to gain extra business and income, through offering goods and services delivered according to the terms set out clearly in a contract. It is particularly suitable for organisations involved in some form of public service delivery work, where services are purchased directly by a local authority or other public-sector agency.


Government Contracts

The opportunity to bid for work can be achieved by adding your details to organisations or bodies responsible for precuring goods and services, who then contact you with platforms to make a bid. You can also research openings via European Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). The National and Regional government Contracts Finder site enables you to search for contract opportunities in different sectors, find out what’s coming up in the future and look up details of previous tenders and contracts. You can create an account to get email updates and save your searches. You can still search and apply for contracts without an account.

NHS and Construction

Government bodies such as the NHS represent over 600 health organisations who require a range of products and services. Explore The NHS Supply Chain.

The construction industry has a reputation for contracting and sub-contracting through the method of tendering.

Social Enterprises

There is also a range of websites that promote contract opportunities. Discover the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) website for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises, with free subscriptions for organisations with a turnover under £100K. Funding Central is another great site to access grant opportunities for your social enterprise.

Public and Private Sector

The free service, CompeteFor enables businesses to compete for contract opportunities linked to major public and private sector buying organisations. B2B focuses on low-value public and private sector tenders and high-value Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) tenders. Mytenders is an online gateway for the publication and management of tender notices in the UK. It contains includes lower value tender notices and high-value notices sourced directly from the (OJEU).

Basic Considerations

  1. Do your business capabilities based around resources, skills, experience, knowledge ‘fit’ the tender specification easily, or is investment required to enable delivery?
  2. Would delivering on this contract be in line with your organisation’s strategic plan or vision?
  3. Do your current staff have the skills and capacity to deliver this contract, and if not, is recruitment possible and desirable (consider timeframes for delivery too)?
  4. Do you have the capacity to take on this work – not only in terms of delivery to beneficiaries but also in relation to any paperwork requirements at operational level?
  5. Is there sufficient cash flow in the business to manage the costs of taking on the contract?
  6. The pricing must be well researched to ensure the bid is competitive and generates a profit for the business, whilst not disrupting the regular business activity.
  7. Are there political reasons to apply (or not to) even if winning is unlikely? (For example, to be able to partner or sub contract with another organisation if you don’t win, or to promote your services locally?


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