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Advice on winning public sector contracts

Sep 08, 2016

winning public sector contracts£1 in every £3 to be spent with an SME by 2020

The Government’s target is to increase spending to £1 in every £3 with SMEs by 2020. Increased accessibility to contract and supply chain opportunities will also result in increased competition, therefore it is more critical than ever to deliver a competitive bid, which stands out from the competition. The prospect of bidding for government contracts can be daunting for many SMEs, as the perception is that these contracts are notoriously difficult and the opportunities are only awarded to bigger, more established businesses.

So, what advice can we give to help you win your next bid?

There is no foolproof way to win a bid but there are a few things you can do to maximise your share of what is a £15 billion opportunity to supply to the Public Sector. By using these simple tips, you will maximise your chances of success:
  • Decide on your route to market - there are two key routes; sell direct to the Public Sector or become a strategic supplier in the supply chain
  • Find opportunities - the single source of government contracts valued at above £10,000 is the online platform Tender Pipeline. The public sector procures everything from toiletries to tax advice, all within one website
  • Take a Bid Writing workshop - new markets require a detailed knowledge and understanding of the procurement process; as such, the need for bid/tender training at all levels is growing
  • Build your bidding experience - you may not win your first bid but dedicating the time to bidding for more contracts and getting to know buyers, will set you on the path to success
  • Develop a suite of documents - in the bidding process you'll be required to provide documents such as health and safety policies, equality statements, insurance levels and proof of accounts. It’s wise to have these documents up to date and in one place to speed up the application process
  • Seek feedback - ask for feedback from buyers whether your submission is successful or unsuccessful
Emma Jones MBE The government’s commitment will encourage SMEs to gain experience within the Public Sector and look to new avenues for improved revenues and trading. Read the article by Emma Jones, Crown Representative for SMEs. For bidding support, advice and further information on Thornton & Lowe’s training workshops, contact Charles Grosstephan, Bid Training & Consultancy Manager, on 01204 238 046 or email the team at

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