The Northern Ireland public sector spends more than £2 billion each year buying goods, services and construction work. Local businesses in Northern Ireland have the opportunity to compete to become government suppliers.
Public sector bodies need to buy goods, services and expertise in the same way as any organisation does. Successful public sector tendering means that you will have a long-standing, stable customer who must pay their bills within the agreed credit period.
Some of the areas that public sector organisations spend the most money on each year include:
- construction work
- maintenance to government properties
- medical equipment and supplies
- energy (eg electricity, gas, oil)
- facilities management
IT hardware, software and services
office furniture and equipment
Individual government departments and public sector bodies also buy specific skills and services relevant to their function. For example healthcare equipment and professional services will be purchased by the Department of Health.
Understanding your potential customers
It's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the nine Northern Ireland government departments and what they do, particularly if you offer specialist goods or services.
The government also has a number of executive agencies linked to departments.
Across Northern Ireland district councils also use tender competitions to buy products and services.
There are also a number of non-departmental and cross-border public sector bodies that offer contracts to buy goods and services from local firms.
Public sector organisations make their buying decisions based on strict rules and procedures.