The public sector procures a vast range of goods, works and services. Public sector bodies such as the NHS, Ministry of defence and local councils source everything from pencils to buildings, and all of this has to be purchased via the public procurement process.

Would you like to learn how your business can enter this market? Find out how the tendering process works below.


Finding Contracts

The first step for an organisation seeking to enter the public sector tendering process is finding contracts that are relevant to your business. There are thousands upon thousands of opportunities out there, so how can your business narrow these opportunities down?

Small businesses can pinpoint opportunities by using a tender alerts tool. This type of service will monitor many different sources of contracts. Once your business sets up a profile with tender preferences included, opportunities will be sent to your email.


Bidding for Contracts

Tendering for public sector business can help you to win big orders. However, it can be time-consuming, costly and can tie up valuable resources.

It is important that your small business is putting effort into contracts that are realistic in terms of size and scale. If lose a contract, the money and time you have spent on the bid is lost, so you should carefully weigh up whether or not a tender is worth bidding for.

Ask yourself the following questions when bidding:

Does my business have the skills and experience required for this contract?

Can I currently afford to allocate the time and resource that is required to bid?

Will this contract help my business to grow?


Writing Bids

Once you have found an opportunity that is suitable for your business, it is time to write the bid for the contract. The first step may be to complete a questionnaire, designed to help the buyer shortlist the most suitable companies and invite them to submit a full tender. In other cases, you may go straight to the tender.

Make sure that you allow enough time to collate the necessary information and to write and submit the tender as it may take more time than you think to complete.

A late tender response will be disqualified immediately. Therefore it is important that you have references and all supporting documents in place well in advance, including a covering letter that responds to the bid invitation.


After Bidding

OK, so it’s not over just yet. After your bid has been scored and evaluated the buyer may want to examine your bid in greater detail. In some cases, they may want to check if your business can meet their requirements for themselves. They may do this by setting up a site visit, interview or meeting.

In due course, you will hear whether your bid has been successful or not. Even if you do not win the contract, ask for feedback. Every bidder is entitled to feedback from the buyer, and it may help you to succeed another time.

If you do succeed and are awarded the contract, then the work of fulfilling it begins.


How can Supply2Gov IE help?

Find relevant tenders opportunities using Supply2Gov Tender Alerts tool.

The best thing about our service is that you can try it for free – starting with the local area of your choice…

New users can also access the S2G Tender Ready Toolkit which is full of useful hints and tips.

Get started by joining for free now.



Ireland is one of the UK’s largest trading partners.

Figures published by the UK Parliament at the start of 2019 have revealed that UK imports from Ireland in recent years have reached £21.8 billion*, putting Ireland in the UK’s top ten sources of imports.


What kind of goods is the UK importing from Ireland?

The ‘Statistics on UK trade with Ireland’ published by the House of Commons Library in 2019 revealed that “UK imports from Ireland represented 3.4% of all UK imports and 6.4% of all UK imports from the EU” in 2017.

The largest import from Ireland was “medicinal and pharmaceutical products” with imports valued at £2.8 billion, 19.5% of all UK goods imports from Ireland.

Other imports from Ireland included:

  • Meat & meat preparations
  • Telecomms & sound recording equipment
  • Dairy products
  • Miscellaneous manufactured articles
  • Organic chemicals
  • Miscellaneous edible products & preparations
  • Essential oils & perfume materials
  • Office machines


Opportunities in the UK

Carol Gibbons, Department Manager Digital Technology & Director ICT Commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland, says that:

“Ireland has a strong entrepreneurial agenda, is very agile in looking for international opportunities and has a highly educated, flexible workforce with a forward-looking mindset,”

This makes the country a desirable supplier in the eyes of UK and other international buyers.


How to find tenders in the UK?

The UK sources booth goods and services from Ireland. If you would like to discover how your business can find public sector tenders in the UK, learn more about our tender alerts service.

Get started



As the political and legal situation around Brexit remains dynamic, the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union without a negotiated Withdrawal Agreement – a ‘no-deal Brexit’ – still exists. Until an alternative is legally formalised by both the UK and the remaining EU Member States, the current default position is for the UK to leave the EU without a deal.

Many businesses will have questions around the possible implications of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ and how they can prepare for this eventuality. Therefore, drawing on our 35 years of procurement experience, our parent company BiP Solutions is pleased to announce the publication of our new factsheet, ‘Procurement after “no deal”: What buyers and suppliers need to know about preparing for a “no deal Brexit” scenario.’

The seven-page document sets out clearly and simply the key questions that both buyers and suppliers are likely to have around the possibility of ‘no deal’ – and the current guidance that exists in these areas. The factsheet answers such questions as:

  • Where will public sector organisations publish tender notices if there is a ‘no deal Brexit’?
  • How might the procurement process change, and what will the effect be for supply chains?
  • Where will suppliers be able to find tender opportunities?
  • What steps will businesses need to take to continue to supply services to EU Member States?

Download your copy of the factsheet here.*

To view the latest procurement news and updates, visit BiP Solutions’ dedicated news and Brexit pages.

*Updates will follow to reflect the changing situation.