Government Contracts

The UK Government spends over £284 billion a year. Government contracts should be advertised to ensure a fair, open and transparent procurement process. These opportunities are largely published on Find a Tender and Contracts Finder; however, many platforms are used for Government contracts and agencies. Our free software Tender Pipeline allows you to collate and monitor these tenders -

Typically, you may think of large Government Outsourcing Organisations that manage Prisons, Leisure Centres and Local Authority areas; however, many small and medium businesses also often exclusively work with and hold contracts with these Public Sector organisations.

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For many organisations, Government contracts are central to their business and provide a consistent, contracted and reliable requirement for their product, services or works.

Procurement Process to access Government Contracts

To award a government contract, they must evaluate the tenders they receive and select the highest scoring bidder. For most tenders like this, they are assessing quality and price. The ‘quality’ element is your written response, how well you respond to their questions to reassure them you are best placed to secure the contract.

This is where having a good Bid Writing Consultant can make all the difference. At Thornton & Lowe, we have won thousands of Government contracts for our clients, so we fully understand how to best sell your business during the tender process.

When it comes to Government buying the most frequent route is:

  • Framework Agreement – a group of Government bodies will join forces, review what they buy and aim to achieve greater economies of scale and reduced procurement costs by working together. These can be managed by a lead body, such as a Council, who spearheads the exercise, or a third-party management organisation who works on behalf of their members, as such CPC, CCS, Fusion21 and Procurement for Housing, for example. Often a 4-year agreement with one chance to find the opportunity and become approved on the framework. At Thornton & Lowe, we will continually support clients onto competitive frameworks to allow our clients to continue to deliver their services or, as part of their growth strategy, provide access to new Public Sector opportunities and Government contracts. Or these agreements can be set up as a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS). These agreements are similar to a framework but are continually open to new suppliers and regularly reopened.
  • Open Tender – this is a single-stage procurement process, which means there is no initial shortlisting stage. You get a chance to put forward all your required information at once, including price, and are evaluated on that basis.
  • Restricted Tender – this 2-stage process has an initial prequalification questionnaire or selection questionnaire to narrow down who the public sector contracting authority wants to invite to tender.

Pros and Cons of Government Contracts 


  • Often longer and more secure contracts than the private sector
  • Payment – within 30 days
  • Large spend
  • Openly advertised opportunities
  • Transparent procurement process


  • Lots of hoops to jump through for the tender and during the contract
  • Deemed harder to access for smaller and medium businesses
  • May require experience of holding public sector contracts to win new business

All of the ‘Cons’ can be managed. At Thornton & Lowe, we have helped organisations from new start-ups secure Government contracts. There can be a higher level of risk but, by thoroughly understanding the procurement process and being very selective with the tender you are bidding, most suppliers can find the right route.

We have recently launched our Tender Pipeline Software. Get FREE Tender updates, announcements and competitor information straight to your email. 

" We recently utilised the Bid Resource Division of Thornton and Lowe in order to recruit two additional team members for our Bids and Tenders team.

They were successful in sourcing excellent candidates for both Bid Writer and Bid Manager roles.

We were extremely happy with the standard of candidates introduced to us and the service we received.

Consequently, we would have no hesitation in recommending Thornton and Lowe to any companies looking for any assistance with their recruitment of Bids,Tenders and Proposals Specialists. "

Nico Prinsloo Commercial Sales Director - CH&Co Group

" We would recommend Thornton & Lowe as a specialist bid recruiter having recently worked with them on a bid writer vacancy. We appreciated the professionalism, pragmatism and honesty clearly demonstrated and most importantly we recruited a very good candidate from a small talent pool. "

Zeena Ozturk, Centry Services

" We utilised the Bid Resource Division of Thornton and Lowe on two occasions recently, we were looking to recruit additional Technical Bid Writers to join our expanding Technical and Corporate Services team

The resource team at Thornton and Lowe fully understood our requirements and were able to source some excellent candidates for the roles.

Both successful candidates are now making a positive contribution to the team and we would have no hesitation in recommending Thornton and Lowe to any companies looking to recruit Bids,Tenders and Proposals Specialists. "

Pamela Lilley, Human Resources Manager, Walker Construction

" I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Thornton & Lowe for their recent help in finding a suitable placement for our senior bid writer position. Both Mark and Chris have invaluable knowledge of the bid writing world and took the time to understand our exact needs and company culture. As such, they found us the right person who is perfectly suited to the role, but more importantly to the team and the company.

Thank you! "

Charlotte LeComber, Bid Manager, Crown Partnership

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