Guide

Tender for public sector contracts in Northern Ireland

The procurement process in Northern Ireland

Once you have seen notification of a Northern Ireland public sector tender you may be interested in, you should read the tender information carefully and follow the instructions issued on how to proceed.

Pre-qualification

There may be a number of pre-qualification stages that you may be asked to go through before being invited to submit your tender. Information on your current financial position, previous experience and references will be sought. All responses are evaluated and will form the basis of deciding whether you will go through to the next stage.

Submitting the tender

The tender is your opportunity to show that you are the best supplier for the job. The public sector looks for best value for money - a combination of cost and the optimum ability to meet the contract's requirements. You should complete the tender documentation carefully, making sure you prove that you can provide this 'best value' and show how you would intend to do it.

You may also be required to prove that you meet quality assurance standards.

Contractual arrangements

Most Northern Ireland government contracts are based on standard contract documents, covering one-off purchases to long-term agreements. 'Call off contracts' allow orders to be placed with you for a defined time period. 'Framework arrangements' allow organisations who have met the standards in a tendering process to be called upon without a new tendering process each time. Framework arrangements are typically in place for a specific period of time, usually three years. Contracts can be extended for a further two years. 

For more information about the tendering process and advice on boosting your chances of success, read prepare your business to tender for contracts. The rules covering tenders can be complex. See Northern Ireland public sector contract rules.

Construction & Procurement Delivery

In Northern Ireland, Construction & Procurement Delivery (CPD) has responsibility for the public procurement policy.

This policy is designed to ensure all tendering processes are:

  • accountable
  • competitive
  • consistent
  • effective
  • fair and free of discrimination
  • legal
  • transparent