CPV: meaning, how it works and examples

23rd December 2022

Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV): meaning, how it works and examples


Want to find out about CPV meaning, how it works and discover examples? Keep reading this blog to find out everything about  CPV!


CPV Meaning

Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) is a system created by the European Union (EU) to standardise the classification of goods/services. It was designed as a tool for promoting and increasing transparency and efficiency in the public procurement process.


CPV Structure

Now you know the meaning of CPV, what does it look like?

Every CPV code relies upon a nine-digit structure, with each digit or group of digits defining a category for classification. Generally, if a code has many zeros, it identifies a less specific product/service. If more numbers from one to nine are involved, it is more likely to be a specific or niche product/service.

Nine-digit structure of identifications:

1st two digits: Divisions

Three digits: Groups

Four digits: Classes

Five digits: Categories

Next three digits: Extra details

The ninth digit: Verifies the previous digits








Medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and personal care products



Medical equipment



Imaging equipment for medical, dental, and veterinary use



X-ray devices



X-ray table


Note: eight digits form the main code.

Here, you can see that by identifying your chosen division and progressing to the individual item, you can narrow down your search and gain an accurate CPV code. However, it must also be noted that is a simplified version.


Main Vocabulary and Supplementary Vocabulary

The CPV system uses the main vocabulary which defines the contract type and supplementary vocabulary which adds extra information about the contract. Supplementary vocabulary consists of an alphanumeric code with additional wording allowed to provide extra information regarding further product/service specificity or its destination upon purchase. The alphanumeric code may be formatted as a single letter (corresponding to a section) and four digits (defining its parts).


How to use CPV?

To gain access to business opportunities, you must be registered to receive them. Then, when an opportunity is broadcast across the UK, registered companies interested in code 45221115-1 (construction work for steel bridges) for example, will be notified.

However, in 2022 CPV codes have somewhat complicated the tendering process. This is because UK procurement is so vast, there is a CPV code for every product/service you can think of that is mainstreamed in the UK/EU. Also, it is apparent that a lot of buyers are either not aware of this, are using codes incorrectly or not using them at all.


Is CPV important?

CPV can make sourcing opportunities for your business easier. It can help suppliers across the world to find projects that meet their abilities.

However, at Hudson, we NEVER rely on CPV codes, so you can be sure to find legitimate opportunities in the right place. Once you find the right opportunity, you can look at the documents and see if you are eligible. If you hire a bid writer, they’ll be able to do this for you.

Furthermore, we filter through all opportunities in many sectors across hundreds of notification platforms daily to ensure our customers receive the bespoke opportunities that apply to THEM!

The majority of national portals have electronic algorithms that scour and publish opportunities based on CPV codes alone, meaning that a quarter of these are not being publicised as effectively as they can be.


Is CPV still used after Brexit?

The short answer — Yes. CPV is a recognised framework used in the procurement process. Therefore, while CPV was mandatory within the EU and although EU laws no longer apply in the UK, it is still a much-used system.


How can we help?

Now you’re a bit more familiar with CPV meaning and what’s required for the tendering process, you may be looking for some writing support. Outsourcing a bid you’ve found to bid writing specialists can help you secure that next contract!

Here at Hudson Succeed, we pride ourselves on being bid writing experts. We have an 87% success rate and over 60 years of bid writing experience. We offer four levels of bid writing support to suit every business need. You may not need the whole bid written for you; you may simply need it to be proofread before you submit it.

We can help with that.


Our services include:

Tender Writing

Once you’ve found the perfect bid for your business, send it our way. Our Bid Writers can take care of the whole thing for you they’ll even submit it on your behalf. They’ll let you know what they need from you, providing you with a full Tender Writing breakdown.

Tender Ready

Our Tender Ready 4-week programme is perfect for businesses that have never tendered before. A Bid Writer will work with you to ensure you have everything in place to tender successfully. Tender Ready offers your business:

  • A 12-month subscription to one Hudson Discover
  • Access to Global Bid Directors and Senior Bidding Professionals.
  • An Organisation-wide Bid library, including 3 case studies, 5 CVs and policies.
  • Additional flexible benefits.

Tender Improvement

If you’ve been tendering but aren’t seeing success from your current efforts, our Tender Improvement package can help. Our Bid Team will assess your previous responses and tender documents. They will work with you to improve for future submissions. This package includes a 12-month subscription to a Hudson Discover portal and additional tendering development services.

Tender Mentor

If you’ve written your tender response and need it double-checked for errors, Tender Mentor can help. A Bid Writer will proofread your work for any inconsistencies, grammar, or spelling mistakes. They will also ensure it’s in line with the specification before you submit it. This is a great way of improving your skills and understanding of how to polish your tender.


Contact us:

Contact us to find out how we can help your business SUCCEED!


Additional support:

Do you only require assistance with PQQs or SQs? We can help!

Simply submit the relevant information regarding the work you need and we will provide a quote for the work agreed upon.

We provide support at all levels of the bid writing process, so if you simply need it proofread before you submit it, we can also help with that!


Discover Elite

Upgrading to Discover Elite can optimise your tendering efforts!

Our two new time-saving tools can improve competitor awareness and success rate when bidding for a contract:

The Ultimate Time Save Package (for those on the go!)

  • Five tender breakdowns per month.
  • Annual subscription to two sector-specific portals.
  • Dedicated account manager.

The Become a Pre-Bid Master package

  • All of the above.
  • Seven tender breakdowns per month.
  • Bid Strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager (minimum five years experience). Also, the bid strategy will be managed by our Global Bid Director.


Our other divisions:


Wanting to impress a buyer? Our creative content agency Vocal is always on hand to help!

Our Vocal team are never afraid to be heard – we’re a loud bunch!

From micro-businesses to large organisations, we provide ways to make your business stand out from the crowd. We can transform your bid into a professionally designed tender document!

Vocal specialises in:


Our online virtual learning environment for Education, Enterprise and Home Learners is currently being used to power our platforms – Tender VLE and Procure VLE (Coming soon).

We believe in learning at your own pace, wherever you are!


Find more helpful tips and advice in our blogs. We cover topics including:

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