The public sector marketplace is dynamic and filled with opportunities for businesses of any size, across all industries. Our role is to connect suppliers with these opportunities, and over the last 30 years, we have become the UK’s most accurate tender alert service.

I am the Publishing and Review Manager for Tenders Direct, and in this post, I take a look at what my team does, how we stay ahead of the competition and what improvements we would like to see in the future.

How we Publish the Most Relevant Tender Notices

76% of all tenders published in the UK are low-value contracts. These opportunities are great for SME’s but can be the most difficult to find – because they can be published on any of the hundreds of tender portals used by the public sector. Like other tender alert services, we exist to take the hassle out of searching for these opportunities.

What sets us apart is that we are the only service with a team who reviews every notice, so you don’t have to! Because we read notices, we can tell you what the requirements of each tender are.

Let me put that into context for you:

  • We will send you less irrelevant tenders – because we read every notice, we know which contracts have requirements matching your business – no more skimming through insignificant tenders.
  • We will send you more relevant tenders – when incorrect CPV codes are used (or when they are not included), automated systems will not tell you about them, but we will.
  • We don’t judge tenders by their titles – because titles can be misleading! Did you know many single requirement titles often have requirements for many more services? But who has the time to read every tender? – We do!
  • We update our keywords regularly – we are very aware of changes in the market, and work to ensure all relevant industry specific terms, technologies and developments are accounted for. If you supply a specific product or service, we have the keywords for it.
  • We understand context – If a contract for a new ‘database server’ mentions the work is part of a ‘wider renovation project’, some systems will flag this contract businesses associated with the renovation work – rather than just IT companies. Do you want to trust a system scanning for keywords or a team of specialists who actually read the information?

How We Deal with Uncertainties in the Market

Public sector procurement is not always predictable or transparent. However, we try to provide our customers with as much information and guidance as possible, so they can make informed decisions and plan ahead.

We do this by publishing Prior Information Notices (PINs) and Early Engagements. PINs announce upcoming procurement opportunities before the official tender notice. Early Engagements let potential suppliers interact with buyers before the procurement process, such as through market consultations, supplier days, or webinars. Both PINs and Early Engagements help our customers know what is coming up and prepare their bids.

We also deal with uncertainties by publishing “call offs”, which are contracts awarded through an existing framework agreement. A framework agreement is a long-term arrangement between several suppliers, where the contract terms are agreed in advance, but the orders or services are not. A call off is when a buyer orders or requests a service from a supplier within the framework. These are useful for showing what opportunities are available for the future, even if your business is not on the framework.

How We Stay Ahead of the Competition

As mentioned above, we are proud of our review process. It reduces workload for our customers, and ensures they have visibility of every relevant tender in the market. Our unique category system means we have the most accurate service, and can guarantee our customers will never miss a tender.

When you see how lucrative the market can be, you realise how significant that promise is.

Another way we stand out from the competition is with our standardised tender notice format. We keep them consistent and easy to read, regardless of how the authority publishes them. Many authorities use different templates or styles to publish their notices, which can make them confusing or hard to compare.

This means no matter which notice you are reading, you always know where to look for the information that matters most to you.