Basics Series: What are the different types of procurement process?

What are the different types of procurement process?

Many people will be aware of the different types of procurement process, certainly if you have looked on Contracts Finder (Contracts Finder) you will see many examples of the processes that can be used by contracting authorities.

What is an open procedure? –  An open procedure is usually a one stage process that requires the bidder to complete the selection criteria and the tender at the same time

What is a restricted procedure? – A restricted procedure is usually a two stage process using a PQQ and an ITT (see our previous post on terminology). The first stage is used to create a shortlist for the second stage ITT. It is common for an interview/presentation to be held after the ITT but this varies.

What is a Competitive Procedure with Negotiation? – A competitive procedure with negotiation is used where there is a complex or undefined specification. This process usually contains a restricted procedure within it to create a shortlist and narrow the field of bidders. The negotiation aspect takes place after the evaluation of the tenders but before the award of the contract. The negotiation will be documented in order to ensure transparency. It is not unusual for those bidding to be invited to submit revised tenders after the negotiation stage.

What is Competitive Dialogue? – Competitive dialogue is different from each of the processes outlined above but does contain elements of each. It is a flexible process in which a PQQ is issued to create a shortlist. Then, an ‘invitation to participate in dialogue’ is issued to successful bidders. This is to engage in discussions with those organisations who have progressed to the next stage. Once dialogue has been completed there is a tender stage (following on from the dialogue) which is then assessed and evaluated prior to the contract being awarded.

What is an Innovation Partnership? – An innovation partnership is specifically designed to promote innovation and research at various levels where there is a need for an innovative product, service or works that cannot be met by the market currently. The reality is that it is unlikely that this process will be used heavily because the procedures outlined above meet most of the need – though time will tell! (for an interesting read on this ‘innovation’ – Click Here)


Basics Series – Why do organisations compete for government contracts?

Why do organisations compete for government contracts?

 This might seem like a fairly basic question, however, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.

What are the disadvantages to competing for government contracts?

Knowledge – Knowing how to find government contracts can be very difficult and incredibly time consuming. Also, procurement in itself is a technical and complex process. If you don’t understand how a tender process works then it can be daunting and off-putting, particularly for an SME.

Resource – writing a tender for government contracts can be very time consuming and take up a lot of resource. It can seem like a wasted effort if the tender does not win.

Cost – aside from the human resource, there is also the issue of cost. Not everybody knows how to write a tender and so companies usually hire external consultants to help them. There is a cost to doing this which isn’t always recoverable. This can be particularly risky if there isn’t a high chance of success.

 So, what are the advantages to competing for government contracts?

Stability – Securing a government contract is a ‘safe bet’ in that the payment terms are good, they pay invoices regularly and the contracts are often for a defined value for a defined term thereby providing security. This is how an SME can increase business security.

Value – public sector contracts are usually large in value, certainly larger than most private sector opportunities. This means that the return on investment for bid writing or tender writing can be substantial.

Fairness – there is a strong initiative for small companies to compete for public sector contracts (Click Here) and so the system is now much fairer and there are clear opportunities for SMEs to win government contracts.

In summary, many organisations see tangible benefits of tendering for public sector work and once they understand how to write a tender and how to win government a contract; the rationale becomes clear.

If you would like us to support your organisation to win government contracts – get in touch by email to


Basics Series – Common Terminology

As part of our Basics Series, we thought that it would be useful to introduce some commonly used terminology and explain what it means.

What is a PIN?
A PIN is a prior information notice. It is not a tender but may give information on a future procurement process. It will outline the contracting authority’s purchasing intentions.

What is a Contract Notice ?
A Contract Notice is a document that informs potential bidders or tenderers that the opportunity is now live and that they can request documents and make a submission. The contract notice will usually contain information on the scope of the contract, geography, the type of procurement process, value and length of contract as well as the deadline date.

What is an EOI?
An EOI is an expression of interest and is often used in a multi-stage procurement process. It is used by a contracting authority to create a shortlist of potential suppliers.

What is an RFQ?
An RFQ is a request for quotation and will be used by the contracting authority to obtain the best possible price for a services, goods or works.

What is a PQQ?
A PQQ is a pre-qualification questionnaire and is used to gather basic information on the bidder and can be used in the scoring (depending on how the procedure is established). PQQ’s usually ask for financial, legal and insurance information along with any relevant experience, case studies, quality, environment and sustainability, business continuity and equality and diversity.

What is an ITT?
An ITT is an invitation to tender and is used to distinguish bidders from one another in the process. Each bidder will submit a unique ITT in response to the specification.

What is a Contract Award Notice?
The Contract Award Notice is a public notification announcing the outcome of the procurement opportunity.

If you have any specific questions or would like to know what a particular term or acronym means that hasn’t been covered here then please do get in touch at


Adult Skills Budget – Education

In the most recent budget, the Chancellor reaffirmed plans to devolving powers to local areas in a bid to address a lack of productivity. This devolution will take place in cities across the UK, now including London.

Devolution will have a big impact on funding for skills across the UK. It promises to be a departure from the centralised approach that we have seen in the past. The devolved funding agreements will permit greater flexibility for contracting authorities to be able to respond to local needs. Whilst there is ample criticism about the lack of top level strategic drive and direction, there is clearly an intent to devolve funding.

This is a point that organisations involved in training such as schools, colleges, private training providers and third sector organisations should be looking to engage upon. Localised access to funding presents opportunities to engage and deliver much more effective and localised services. Those organisations who can demonstrate, in the right way, what they are good at will thrive under this new regime.

If you would like information on how JGP Consultancy can help with securing adult skills funding then please get in touch:


Onerous Procurement…

SME’s are often worried about procurement and tendering for work. It can be a daunting process and one that places a disproportionate amount of risk upon the supplier. The Government have recognised this in its latest paper, ‘Onerous Practices in Procurement and Contracting’. The Crown Commercial Service, the Governments procurement arm, states that this risk transfer is not acceptable. It has published guidance to try to reduce the imbalance.

Buying organisations, including local authorities, NHS and government agencies, will need to do the following:

Pre-Market Engagement

Conduct effective pre-market engagement – this is a critical part of the procurement process and is this engagement is permitted under procurement law. Pre-market engagement is common practice for many larger companies and often leads to disenfranchisement within SME’s because there is a belief that most contracts are ‘sewn up’. The reality is that SME’s can take part in pre-market engagement too, it is just knowing how and when to do it. It is also important to choose the right contracts to pursue, especially for a SME.

Accurate Data

Ensuring accurate and reliable data is available. One of the most difficult aspects for an SME is the inability to accurately gauge workload when dealing with public sector contracts. There is now an obligation to reduce the inaccuracy of data.

Risk Management

Put in place mechanisms for identifying and managing risks. This is particularly important where a contract is broken up in to lots. SMEs can be brushed off because of overzealous risk management from the contracting authority. The new guidance redresses this by ensuring that risks should be considered and proportionate.

If you would like information on how we can help you with any of the above, please get in touch:


HS2 Route – more opportunities for procurement?

js30864208The second phase of the contentious HS2 route is now confirmed by the government. This presents major procurement opportunities for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to tender for work.

The completed network will continue on both the East and West Coast Main Lines. This will include the following areas: Liverpool, Stafford, Preston, Wigan, Warrington, Glasgow, York, Darlington, Carlisle, Durham, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Costain Group Plc, Skanska Construction UK, Morgan Sindall plc, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK), Laing O’Rourke Construction, and J Murphy & Sons have jointly received a £900m contract to deliver the works.

These companies will build upon their existing supply chain. This means that new procurement opportunities will arise for work that is due to begin next year. Our advice to anyone considering tendering for work on the HS2 project would be to contact a bid professional to support you through the process. JGP Consultancy can provide bid review and critical assessment or a full writing service, depending on your needs.

The economic benefits of HS2 are widely speculated but will be significant; creating 25,000 jobs during construction phase (and 2,000 apprenticeships) as well as supporting the wider economy which, according to some estimates, could be up to 100,000 jobs.


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.


Launch of Basics Series

basics-series-2We are committed to supporting the knowledge and understanding of procurement. In particular, we focus on how small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can access public funding. We call this, the Basics Series.

We will publish regular updates on our News section of our website. The updates will ensure you know about and fully understand procurement. The Basic Series is a useful point of reference for tendering, procurement and information on how to write a bid or tender response.

Later this week we will launch our first publication entitled ‘What is procurement?’ – keep a look out for it!

If you would like to find out more about our services or how we can help your organisation to access public funding and public sector contracts then feel free to get in touch:


The Tender Process for HS2


The HS2 procurement process is likely to be much more significant than previously thought. There is now the opportunity for a ‘2 in 1’ offer. The winner of the West Coast Mainline Contract will also be offered the chance to operate HS2. This is a significant step that shows a clear plan from the procurement authorities to promote collaboration on the two lines.

The front-runners for HS2 are Virgin (joint venture with Stagecoach, UK), FirstGroup (UK), SNCF (France), Abellio (Holland) and Arriva (Germany).

After the first stage of the bid, the companies above will need to consider the following:

Companies will need to establish what makes their offer unique and, particularly in the current climate, value for money. They need to carefully consider things like customer satisfaction and data reporting. HS2 is a new project and so the Government will have strict reporting conditions.

They also need to consider the infrastructure technology to be used; carefully weighted and researched responses will be critical to any successful response. The level of research in this type of tender is monumental, as is the quality. A good tender response should have a robust reference to data and independent research from official sources.

The third consideration for the process will be to focus on the specification outcomes. Bidders need to offer meaningful examples in order to showcase their service. All Front runners are experienced companies in rail service delivery and so understand the importance of good bid writing.

If you would like to find out more information about how to get involved with HS2 or form part of its supply chain, feel free to get in touch with us to find out more. E:

The HS2 Official Supplier guide can be found here: HS2 Supplier Guide

The HS2 Official Procurement Portal can be found here: Procurement Portal


Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) – Now Open


The register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) opened for applications on Tuesday, 25 October. It will close at 5pm on Friday, 25 November.

You need to register on the Skills Funding Agency’s (SFA) e-tendering portal, Bravo, in order to apply.

If you would like assistance in applying for the Register then please contact us to find out how we can help. JGP Consultancy Services has extensive experience of supporting education sector clients with applications to SFA, EFA and DWP.