Ten tips to submit and win a public sector contract bid

Secure or Win a Contract Project as a Business Concept

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1. Governments are trying to make the bidding process for public sector contracts easier for SMEs.There are tools which make searching and applying for public contract tenders over £10,000 quicker and easier, both for contracts across the EU and for UK contracts.


2. It’s one thing to know about these new opportunities, but you still need specific knowledge of the business environment in the particular country.


3. Know the buyer.  An analysis of the tender will reveal what precisely the client is looking for and you should adapt your bid accordingly. EEN has strong working relationships with local public authorities and may be able to help you understand what is important to this authority and which areas they are seeking innovation.


4. Have a plan. Ensure that all of your relevant people are able to give their input. Channel that input through an individual or small team of people who are overseeing the bid. This maintains consistency in your presentation and keeps the bid focused by the experts on delivery within your organisation.


5. Once you have completed your bid you should start creating a tender library to demonstrate to future clients your previous successes and your capacity to enact their vision effectively.


6. Make sure that your planning reflects upon any feedback gained from making previous bids. (And make sure you get feedback from this one!)


7. Keep the bid brief. Even if there’s no length limit, its best to keep bids concise and to the point. Providing all the necessary details in a clear and business-like manner.


8. Demonstrate the value you add above and beyond competitors. Explain how your innovative business solution to this problem goes above and beyond the standard way of solving this problem.


9. Emphasise sustainability. The sustainability of proposals is increasingly important in modern public sector contracts. You need to be able to show that your proposal will have a positive long-term impact or, at the very least, not create long-term damage. The key areas here are environmental sustainability (and it can be helpful to poll local residents after you complete contracts to use in future bids as evidence) and social sustainability (Creation of local jobs can be an easy way to demonstrate this.)


10. Use EEN to help you gain a better understanding of the needs and specific priorities of local public bodies. The Network also provide summaries of EU legislation for public procurement, available via the Europa portal covering a range of issues such as e-procurement, public-private partnerships, and defence procurement. Additionally, DG Growth provides information and guidance on how to link innovation with public procurement.