Tendering guidance

Tendering is the formal competitive bidding process where suppliers compete under strict rules for contracts. The procedure is used to ensure competition, transparency, fairness and accountability.

Guides to tendering

For a guide to tendering for public contracts, visit the Your Europe website.

The GOV.UK website also has some guidance on tendering for public sector contracts.

EU Procurement Directives

The European Union (EU) Procurement Directives, and the Regulations that implement them in the UK, set out the law on public procurement. Their purpose is to open up the public procurement market and to ensure the free movement of goods and services within the EU.

The EU Directives must be followed in procurements where the total contract value exceeds certain thresholds. The details of these thresholds can be found the OJEC website.

There are three of the main types of tender processes:

An Open Tender is an EU (European Union) tender procedure with only one stage because it requires no use of a selection stage. There is no opportunity to short list suppliers using this approach.

All suppliers responding to an Open Tender are provided with the tender documents (ITT - Invitation to Tender) to complete and return.​

A Restricted Tender is an EU tender procedure with two stages. Suppliers who express an interest in the contract are sent a Selection Questionnaire (SQ). If they meet the criteria, they are then shortlisted and invited to tender (ITT stage).​

The EU directives introduced a new procedure, the Competitive Dialogue. It specifically permits dialogue between the contracting authority and contractors during the stages of the procurement process.

This new procedure is aimed at large, complex contracts. It enables contracting authorities to develop specifications with the input of contractors, and to assist contractors in developing tenders that are responsive to the specifications.​

Evaluation and feedback

We generally select the 'most economically advantageous tender' - the best tender in terms of 'price' and 'non-price' items (i.e. quality and performance). We normally let you know how important price is in relation to other factors.

We will write to you, to let you know if your bid was successful or not.

We will ensure that for the contracts let in accordance with the EU Procurement Directives, the procedures in relation to the "10-day-standstill" period will be complied with. You are entitled to ask us for feedback during that period.

We will provide frank and helpful information. However, we can withhold information which is commercially sensitive or contrary to public interest. We will act in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.