Tender Trends – Public Vs Private Sector

29th April 2019

Our Tender Writers Explain Trends in the Public & Private Sector

As Tender Writers, we work day in and day out producing content across multiple different sectors. As a result, we get to know the ins and outs and understand the common trends which are occurring in the world of tendering. Some of the trends we are noticing in both the public and private sector are set out below.

Public sector tendering 

Public sector tendering refers to contracts which involve the spending of public money. Due to this, public sector tenders must comply to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, and, if contracts exceed certain thresholds, they must be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). There are a lot more rules and regulations surrounding public sector contracts vs those in the private sector. The trends in public sector tendering that we are noticing are as follows:

Increases in open procedure tendering:

Traditionally, buyers have tended to opt for restricted procedures in tendering, whereby there is a two-stage process. This includes a PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire) or an SQ (selection questionnaire) as the first stage and if suppliers are successful in their submission then they will progress the second stage of tendering, the ITT (invitation to tender). It is now a lot more common for tenders to include an open procedure whereby bidders complete one document which includes both stages combined into one.

The benefits of this as Tender Writers are: 

  • Quicker turnaround periods – Due to the two stages being combined into one, turnaround periods can be quicker than the more traditional two-stage process.
  • More opportunities for organisations – Organisations of all sizes can have the opportunity to submit tenders, increasing the chance of innovative proposals/solutions. This can be extremely beneficial for sectors like the creative industry, where suppliers can increase the number of creative and innovative tenders they receive.
  • Opportunities to assess the full tender from the outset – With an increase in open procedure tendering, suppliers are capable of making more informed decisions regarding whether or not they are capable of satisfying the entire tender requirements. As Tender Writers, this can be essential in ensuring that the opportunity is right for you, especially when some opportunities can be very large. For example, let’s say you are going for an opportunity in the construction sector for Quantity Surveying, these tenders can often be in excess of 20,000 words. As Tender Writers, knowing this opportunity is right for you can be vital in time management when tackling tenders this large.

The downsides of this as Tender Writers are:

  • More to complete from the outset – This can mean that you may need to complete more from the outset. As previously stated, some buyers may be looking for in excess of 10,000 words worth of proposals. This may mean that an opportunity you wish to go for requires you to complete a heavy workload in what can be a busy month for you. For example, you may be a cleaning company who has a busy month of scheduled deep cleaning coming up and a tender is released which is suitable for you and the deadline is just not doable. Here at Hudson, we offer a Tender Writing service which can alleviate this for you.
  • Longer evaluation periods – Due to this procedure allowing for greater numbers of submissions to the ITT stage, this can mean more competition will need to be evaluated alongside your tenders. As a result, this can mean evaluation periods can be much longer. For example, let’s say you are a tech company writing a lengthy proposal for website development and the buyer has 30 other proposals to evaluate, this will mean the evaluation period may be greater in length.

As a result, as Tender Writers, it is key to break down each opportunity you are going for to understand whether or not an open procedure is being applied, as this will greatly affect the amount of work you will be required to complete within a given timeframe.

Added value/social value:

It is becoming more and more common for buyers to ask what social value/added value you can bring to a contract in public sector tendering. As Tender Writers, it is vital that you can outline what makes you stand out from the crowd. Top tips for ensuring you fulfil these requirements are:

  • Speak about local benefits you can provide – This is vital in writing successful social value questions. Look into key aims for the area that you are creating proposals for. Often local areas will have a social value charter which outlines their strategic goals for ensuring social value is met. For example, let’s say you are writing a proposal for cleaning a local sixth form college. What values and aims does the local area have? It might be the case that unemployment is low, as such, can you provide jobs for local people or work experience for young people? By inputting this kind of information in your proposals you can increase your chances of scoring highly in social value questions.
  • Speak about your unique selling points – This can be key in showing the client you can go above and beyond. Successful Tender Writers have the ability to ‘big up’ an organisation’s key areas of expertise and know how to tie this in successfully to what the buyer is looking for. For example, let’s say you are submitting a tender for recruitment in the manufacturing industry. Here, it will be key in speaking about your experience in carrying this out and the clients you have worked with.

Health and Safety:

As time progresses, we are seeing more and more buyers being more stringent with the questions they ask regarding Health and Safety, as well as the policies and accreditations that suppliers must submit. Examples of this are as follows:

  • Grenfell Disaster – Following the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster it is becoming a more and more common practice of buyers to ask suppliers to showcase what changes they have implemented into their practices to mitigate the risks associated with the causing of disasters like this. For example, we are seeing it more common that buyers must refer to the government’s Independent Review of Building Regulations Fire and Safety: Final Report as published by Judith Hackitt in 2018. This can be particularly relevant if you operate within the property, construction or social housing sector and as an organisation, in general, you must be aware of this. Successful Tender Writers must showcase their organisation’s ability to fulfil these requirements.
  • More technical specifications/questions – As time progresses, we are seeing more and more trends in specifications including more technical requirements for suppliers in the public sector. It is key as Tender Writers that you fully assess this and ensure you have processes in place to ensure you can adhere to the buyer’s requirements. For example, we are seeing it more and more common in cleaning tenders that buyers have specific processes in place for preventing cross-contamination. It is vital as Tender Writers that you have clear processes in place to ensure you can develop high-quality responses.

Private Sector tendering 

Private sector procurement is carried out in the context of for-profit organisations that are privately owned. They are therefore subject to fewer regulations than those who operate within the public sector.

Key trends across the private sector are:

  • Budgets – Private sector buyers will often look for suppliers who can provide the contract at a competitive price. As a result, this can mean it can be more difficult for Tender Writers as pricing may often outweigh the quality side of submissions.
  • The value of strong relationships – In private sector tendering, it can often be influenced heavily by strong working relationships. As Tender Writers, it is therefore key you submit responses which are of exceptional quality, as you need to be able to show to buyers what it is you bring to the table that goes above and beyond their current suppliers/ones they have worked with in the past.
  • Quality/accreditations – Much like public sector tendering, Tender Writers in the private sector must display exceptional ability with regard to quality and their accreditations. Buyers will often look for accreditations such as those set out by The International Organization for Standardization (ISO). For example, buyers who have a strong focus on the environmental impacts of their work will look for Tender Writers who can display strong levels of Environmental Management that supplement or show an ability to adhere to ISO14001.
  • Sourcing opportunities – It can often be more difficult to source opportunities in the private sector as unlike the public there does not have to be a legal requirement for buyers to publish their opportunities. As a result, it can be more difficult as successful Tender Writers in finding opportunities, however, if you know where to look or can build the right relationships, this can be beneficial as your competition can be reduced.

How to find suppliers for private sector work

Did you know that you can advertise a private opportunity such as this via our opportunity tracking portals? What’s more, you can manage, respond and receive submissions free of charge, regardless of whether you are an existing customer or not.

Too busy to manage the project?

Let us take over! We will advertise and manage the tender opportunity on your behalf. This service includes uploading the opportunity, answering clarification questions and managing the submissions, all you need to do is choose a supplier!

Sound good? Here’s the best part. You can advertise your private sector tenders on any of our 11 sector-specific portals, including:

For example, if you are a Marketing Agency and you require a new piece of hardware, you can advertise this opportunity via our Technology Tenders portal. We already have hardware suppliers who are actively searching for opportunities on our site. Put your opportunity in front of them and instantly access engaged suppliers.

One of our main goals across all of our 11 platforms is to encourage inter-trading to simplify the tender process from beginning to end.

6 tips for best practice from our tender writing experts

Writing winning bids can often be difficult and time consuming for any business looking to expand via tendering. With tenders ranging from often-smaller PQQs to larger ITTs and RFPs, tenders can sometimes require 10,000 words or more. Writing tenders that are compelling, specific and technical enough to showcase your business in the best possible light can often be difficult when trying to balance other key aspects of your organisation. With that in mind, here are some tips to set you on the right track towards becoming successful Tender Writers:

  1. Find suitable bids:

First things first, you should find a suitable bid for your business. This is a crucial first step – if the bid isn’t suitable for you, then you have little to no chance of winning.

To help with this, Tender Writers suggest creating a checklist. By asking yourself the following questions, you can determine whether or not a bid is right for you.

  • Do you have enough experience?

In many cases, the buyer will describe the level of experience they expect to see from successful suppliers. As a general rule, however, you should have two to three case studies from the past five years. Also, these contract examples should be similar in size, scope and complexity to the contract you’re bidding for. If they aren’t relevant, then don’t include them in your tender response.

  • Is it financially viable?

For suppliers, this is one of the most important aspects of the tendering process. You need to find a contract that is financially viable for your business. In other words – will you be making a profit?

If you won’t be making a profit after completing the work, then what’s the point? Ultimately, you should only tender for contracts that will further your business and help you reach your goals.

  • Do you meet the required financial standing? 

Generally, Tender Writers advise bidding for contracts that are worth more than 50% of your annual turnover. Buyers ask about this to ensure that your business has the necessary resources to meet their requirements. If you don’t meet the financial standing, you’ll struggle to deliver the work.

  • Will you need to outsource any work?

Outsourcing work to other suppliers is perfectly fine. However, if you need to outsource more than 50% of the work, the buyer might ask for more information For example, why should they choose your business over prime deliverers with a larger workforce?

  • Will the contract help you meet your company’s goals?

Will completing the work help you meet your business’ goals? For example, your financial goals or your plans for expansion and growth? If the answer is ‘no’, then there is little point in bidding for the contract.

In many cases, it can be difficult to answer these questions alone. Especially for businesses that are new to the tendering process. If you’re trying to find contracts for your business and need a second opinion, then Tender Writers can help!

Tender Writers know the tendering process inside and out. They can assess the buyer’s specifications and your suitability for a bid. So, if you’re struggling to find new business opportunities, then professional Bid Writers can certainly help!

  1. Digest the specification:

Buyers are looking for exceptionally written responses which showcase a Tender Writer’s ability to accurately reflect their specified requirements. Having the necessary experience in place to deliver a contract is not enough if you haven’t fully read the specification and broken down its requirements. Top tips for shredding the specification are:

  • Break down what technical requirements the buyer is looking for. Outlining that you can fulfil what they are looking for will showcase that you’ve spent the time and effort to read over the specification.
  • Look at what questions are being asked. By doing this, you can break down what each question is requiring with reference to the specification. Successful Tender Writers have the ability to respond to question in a specific manner and avoid including unnecessary information.
  • Look to mirror key aims from the specification. Breaking down what the key aims are of a project will allow you to mirror this in your responses, showing a willingness to buyers that you want to fulfil their aims.
  1. Assess the work involved:

Although this sounds simple, this is vital to ensuring success as Tender Writers and cannot be overlooked. Ensuring you breakdown precisely what is needed will ensure that the opportunity is right for you or your business and will ensure you can deliver to the requirements specified.

The way in which you can break down opportunities are as follows:

  • Log into the relevant portal and register interest in the opportunity you wish to go for.
  • Download all of the documents. This is key to ensuring that you do not miss anything. Sometimes, key information can be located in small print in documents you wouldn’t expect and missing this can lead to you being excluded from the selection process.
  • Go through every document carefully. The information you will be looking for is as follows:
  • Contract value, this is vital to ensure you are financially capable of delivering to the buyer’s requirements.
  • Key dates: Often tender documents will state dates for things such as site visits and attending these can be crucial to becoming successful Tender Writers.
  • Tender questions: You need to ensure that you read the questions carefully and know exactly what is required from you. Making note of what the buyer is asking you from the outset will ensure you hit the ground running from the get-go.
  • Specific policies that you will need to attach: This is key – buyers will specifically request you attach certain policies or certificates/accreditations and if you either miss this or do not have the necessary documents you will be excluded from the tender process, regardless of how well you respond to questions.
  • Turnover requirements: No matter how detailed and specific your responses are if you simply do not meet the turnover requirements for the contract, you will not proceed further. Making a note of this at the outset will save your business time, effort and ultimately money moving forward.
  1. Create in-depth tender plans 

Success as a Tender Writer is heavily dependent on how detailed and in-depth you plan your time and responses. If you develop your tender responses in-house, finding the necessary time to develop responses can often be tricky when working in a busy environment. Key tips to becoming successful Tender Writers and planning carefully are:

  • Plan ahead: Leaving things to the last minute will mean your responses have not had the time or effort put into them that the buyer will ultimately be looking for.
  • Plan your responses: Having your responses set in place from the outset will mean you are fully prepared to develop detailed and intricate responses that stand out from the crowd.
  • Factor in time for editing: Your responses are not going to be perfect straight away. Some tenders can be in excess of 10,000 words and leaving no time for reviewing/editing your work is a sure-fire way to make mistakes. Leave enough time in your plan to have a colleague proofread your work, allowing you enough time to make sufficient edits to your responses.
  • Take account of all key dates: This is essential and will come down to how carefully you break down the opportunity. Successful Tender Writers always take account of clarification deadlines and will ensure they have extracted as much information from the buyer as possible.
  • Assess your workloads: Do you have a heavy workload the week that this tender is due in? If so, it is advisable to make sure you plan ahead and have your responses completed ready for submission prior to this time period. Failing that, outsourcing your tender writing could be a solution. Read our blog outlining the benefits this will have for you and your business.
  1. Go above and beyond

Becoming a successful Tender Writer is not simply about demonstrating how the buyer’s requirements will be fulfilled, (although this is a good start). Going above and beyond what the buyer is requesting will ensure you stand out from the crowd. Of course, this has to be within reason, it is no good offering the buyer the world when you are incapable of delivering this. Key tips for creating added value that will remain within your company’s reach are:

  • Being environmentally friendly: Businesses like to see that a company takes measures to ensure they are operating in an environmentally friendly manner. Let’s say you have recycling schemes at your business, or use environmentally friendly company cars, or only source products from sustainable suppliers – all of this will add to your response and show to the buyer that you are the right type of company to work with.
  • Helping local economies: Businesses are always looking for suppliers who are willing to show eagerness to help the local economies that they work with. This doesn’t have to be much, simple acts such as sourcing from local suppliers or hiring local employees is enough to show you are willing to provide value to local economies. If you are capable of doing so, showing that you are willing to take on local apprentices is always a good way of showcasing added value.
  • Supporting COVID-19 recovery: Since the pandemic, buyers are particularly interested in how their suppliers will support COVID-19 recovery. This could include anything from hygiene initiatives to creating new job opportunities.
  1. Create detailed and specific responses

Successful Tender Writers will always ensure that their responses are detailed, specific and to the point. Developing vague and ‘fluffy’ content is a sure-fire way to be off-putting to buyers. Top tips for remaining specific are as follows:

  • Sometimes less is more: Tender questions can often have no word limit; however, suppliers should not take this as a reason to write as much as they possibly can. Of course, you need to cover off all key points and this may take up a lot of words but going over the top and writing 1,000 words of additional content to make your response look more detailed is not a good tactic. Keep it concise and increase its readability factor.
  • Read over the specification again and again: If a question is asking you something technical and specific, read over the corresponding information in the specification and make sure you are mirroring this. Addressing irrelevant information will show to the buyer that you haven’t spent the time needed to look over the tender documents.
  • Detail your experience: If a question is asking you about specific experience, make sure you are going into sufficient detail about how that experience is similar to what the buyer is looking for and what benefits it will bring to the contract.
  • Have someone proofread your content. Two pairs of eyes are always better than one when it comes to being specific. A colleague may know more about a certain aspect of the industry or processes than you and may be able to go into greater detail than what you can.

Tender Writing Services

Tender Writing services are a vital enhancement to any business that wishes to grow and develop.

Balancing busy schedules and ensuring the effective growth of your business is a difficult process. Even more so when tackling tenders that can be extremely large in size and scope.

Our Tender Writing services are suitable for any business. It will help take the weight off your shoulders, ensuring your submissions stand out from the crowd.

How our Tender Writing services operate:

Our Tender Writing services are entirely bespoke to your business needs. Each tender may differ in size and scope, ranging from Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQs) to Invitation to Tenders (ITTs), or even sometimes Request for Proposals (RFPs). 

The steps we take in our Tender Writing services are as follows:

  • We assess how much work is involved and ascertain how long this will take our bid writing specialist to tackles.
  • As well as this, we carry out a full breakdown of the tender to ensure that we get everything we need from you. This can include any case study information, accreditations or company processes you have that helps strengthen responses.
  • The team develop a time-bound action plan which outlines all activity and collaboration regarding our Tender Writing services.
  • We then take all of the time-consuming elements of tender writing off of your hands. We manage the tender writing, clarifications and submission processes giving you that necessary time to focus on your everyday business needs.
  •  The team follow up all notifications of contract award and will handle all correspondence and feedback on your behalf.
  • Finally, we undergo a free assessment of your long-term bidding needs, providing you with various bespoke Tender Writing service packages going forward.

The benefits of this:

  • The team will find opportunities that are right for you and your business’ needs.
  • Our Bid Consultants specialise in providing services to a wide array of clients in multiple sectors and hold the skills to tackle ANY industry.
  • No matter the size or complexity, our Tender Consultants team have the capacity to deliver under pressure.
  • Our Tender Writing services ensure that all aspects of the tendering process are covered, ensuring that your response goes above and beyond the buyer’s requirements.
  • The services are entirely bespoke and will be tailored to your requirements. This may include shared writing responsibilities between us and you.
  • We can help your business discover new opportunities and succeed in the future, providing you Writing Services moving forward.
  • Our bid writing is backed by many years of experience on both sides of the procurement table.
  • We also have an in-house design team who specialise in making sure tenders stand out from the crowd, by designing professional and high-quality responses, corporate literature and CVs to strengthen your submissions.

Why is this essential?

  • The tendering world can often be intimidating and challenging, particularly to business attempting to get their foot in the ladder.
  • Tender Writing is sometimes time-consuming, especially for any SME looking to grow. Tenders can often be 10,000 words plus of content. Balancing this with your business’ development can be very tricky.
  • Due to the complex nature of many tender requirements, it is essential to ensure that your responses comply with buyers’ demands. Buyers often stipulate certain requirements and ensuring these are fulfilled is vital to succeeding.
  • Formatting your responses so they are uniform is a key factor to any successful submission. Whilst this may seem simple, many responses fail to address this and consequently, buyers can be put off. Our Tender Writing services include a comprehensive package that ensures all formatting and design are to the highest standard.
  • Vital to success in tendering is ensuring that your policies are to the highest standard and can consistently help you win contracts. Our Tender Writing services will ensure that all policies, corporate literature, CVs and case studies are to the highest standard to help your business consistently grow and succeed.

In conclusion

Overall, public sector trends can be more current due to ongoing updates with regulations and incidents which can affect the way in which you are required to create your responses. On the other hand, the private sector tendering is much more set in stone and tends to be focused more heavily on profit. Whichever tender it is you are looking to tackle, our team of industry bid management experts can provide you advice and take the stress off your hands.

Get in touch with our Hudson Succeed team today. Alternatively, head over to our Tender VLE platform, a world-first in providing you with a free virtual learning environment about all things tender related.

How Hudson Succeed can help 

Still have questions? Why not call our Bid Writing Consultants? We’re always happy to help!

We have over 60 years of bid writing experience and an 87% success rate. Whether you’re completely new to tendering or aren’t seeing results – we can help. There are four bid writing packages available:

  • Tender Writing

Once you’ve found a tender you’d like to go for, send it over to us. One of our Bid Writers will write the tender response for you. We’ll provide a full Tender Writing breakdown and even submit it on your behalf.

  • Tender Mentor

Tender Mentor can give your tender response a once over before you submit. Our Bid Writing Team will analyse your response, notifying you of any errors and opportunities for improvements prior to submission.

  • Tender Ready

During the Tender Ready service, our team will create professional policies, procedures, and case studies in your company branding. If you already have this content, we will review everything carefully to ensure that nothing is missed. This service also helps businesses who are new to tendering with terminology and industry knowledge.

  • Tender Improvement

The Tender Improvement package can help those who have tendered before but aren’t seeing results. Our Bid Writers will assess your previous responses and work with you to develop improved content.

Get in touch to find out how we can help your business grow.

Need help searching for tenders?

Now it’s time to find a contract opportunity for your company!

You may be wondering where you can find a tender for your business. There’s no shortage of websites offering multi-sector tendering opportunities and leads.

Ideally, you should be searching for a sector-specific site that posts all unique, public and private sector opportunities.

Our sister company, Hudson Discover, has 11 sector-specific tendering portals.  One centralised and easy-to-navigate portal can help you save time, streamlining the process.

Once signed up, you’ll have access to your own dedicated Account Manager. They’ll be able to answer any questions you may have about public sector contracts. You’ll also get an email alert when new and relevant tenders are uploaded to your sector.

A subscription to one of our industry-specific portals will include:

  • Unlimited portal access. You can browse your industry’s portal to your heart’s content. See the hundreds of opportunities that are available, intuitively categorised and easily accessible.
  • A daily email bulletin. When you sign up to a portal, you’ll receive an email alert when new tenders are uploaded.
  • A dedicated Account Manager. They’ll handle any questions or queries you may have about the portal.
  • A free 20-minutes phone consultation with a Bid Writer. Our expert bid consultants will chat with you about anything tender related.

What opportunities can I expect from a tender search on a Hudson Discover portal?

We host all kinds of tenders in both the public and private sectors. These are inclusive of, but aren’t limited to:


Our support doesn’t end there! Our creative content agency, Vocal, are on hand to help.

The Vocal Team are not afraid to stand up and be heard. And we make sure our clients aren’t either! From small, micro businesses to large organisations, we are vocal about the things that make your business unique.

Our creative service is dedicated to growing your business through striking and thought-provoking content. We’ll take your bid and give it a complete makeover. With professionally designed tender documents, you’re sure to make an impression on the buyer!

Our team specialise in six areas, including:

If you’d like to know more about what we can do for your business, introduce yourself to the team!

Contact us to find out more!

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

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