What is public procurement?

what is procurement

Welcome to our Basics Series of news updates and blog publications. We understand that accessing public funding can be incredibly difficult and frustrating at times and so the purpose of this series is to take away a little of the pain and help you to understand more.

Put simply, public procurement is the process through which the public sector buys goods, works or services. This can be from other public sector bodies but mostly involves purchasing from the private sector. Public sector spend comes from our taxes and so the Government is keen to ensure value for money.

Procurement needs to take place when a business contract reaches a certain value:

  • Supplies & Services – £164,176
  • Works – £4,104,394

For small lots:

  • Supplies and services – £62,842
  • Works – £785,530

What is a tendering? (and a tender, bid and bidding)

To tender and to take part in tendering or bidding is to take part in the procurement process. A contracting authority (like a local authority or the NHS) may submit a tender/contract notice for companies to bid for. An organisation may then tender for the work by submitting a tender document in response to the contract notice (sometimes called a tender notice). This process is called tendering. ‘bid’ is often used interchangeably with tender, likewise, bidding is used interchangeably with tendering.

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