Tendering and Procurment

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Tendering – a Definition

Tendering refers to the process of procuring goods or services.  Suppliers are invited to submit competitive bids for the provision of goods or services to the organisation buying those goods or services.  There is some common ground between submitting an application for a grant, and submitting a tender.  You need to highlight your organisation’s strengths and it is important to showcase your market position to best advantage.  You should read the tender document carefully and make sure you are providing the information requested.  However when you submit a tender, you are stating that you are already in a position to do the work requested, at a competitive rate, have a successful track record of delivering similar work, and that you should be paid accordingly, ideally to generate surplus income.  This is unlike an application for grant funding, which may often be a request to pilot new activity or learning, or to provide additional services, and which may be judged on predicted qualitative outcomes rather than on your ability to deliver a service or produce the goods.

Some things to consider before tendering for work:-

  • only bid for work if you are absolutely sure you can do it
  • be mindful of timescales and deadlines
  • apply full cost recovery techniques to ensure that you can afford the overheads and resources implicit in delivering the work
  • submit your bid in good time.  If the buyer needs clarification on any points, you should allow time for this to be done before the deadline for submission
  • at the Invitation to Tender stage the buyer is evaluating your ability to deliver the goods or services required, in line with the
  • stated criteria.  Your response should be accurate but at the same time maximise your chances to secure the contract.
  • your bid is evaluated only on the information you provide during the tender process
  • ask for feedback.  Even if your tender is unsuccessful, it is worthwhile to receive constructive feedback so that you can improve your performance next time you tender.

Where do I find out what contracts are available?

Check the following sites:-


Lists contracts issued by public bodies in Scotland


Supplier Development Programme site is a good starting point for general information, news and tips to help with the process of tendering for work in the public sector