Where to Find an NHS Tender Portal
Answering 6 FAQs about NHS tender portals and where to find them
You may be wondering where you can find an NHS tender portal if you’re thinking about tendering for business. Don’t waste time scouring various NHS tender portals. You can find all NHS tenders and more on Healthcare Tenders.
Where can you find an NHS tender portal?
When searching for a good NHS tender portal, consider finding a one, central portal that hosts all NHS tendering opportunities. Our Healthcare Tenders portal hosts all NHS tenders as well as other public and private sector opportunities. It takes regular NHS tender portals to the next level.
What makes the best NHS tender portal?
No reliance on CPV codes
When looking for a good NHS tender portal, you don’t want to be relying on inaccurate CPV codes. These are often mislabelled, allowing plenty of opportunities to slip through the net. Studies have shown that nearly 30% of CPV codes are tagged inaccurately.
The best NHS tender portals will manually upload any NHS tender opportunities they find. This allows you to see 100% of tenders that are available across the UK.
Results you can filter
NHS tender portals, ideally, will have results that you can filter. Filtering the results by keyword, budget or location, allows you to find the perfect opportunity for your business. NHS tender portals have tenders for multiple services, and not all of them are relevant to your business. Being able to filter results allows you to save time and skip the irrelevant opportunities.
Access to an Account Manager
Most NHS tender portals don’t offer ongoing support via access to an Account Manager. Tendering can be confusing, particularly if you’ve never done it before. Having access to an Account Manager can be reassuring. They’re on hand to answer any questions or queries you may have about the tendering process. They can:
- Advise you on procurement and tendering.
- Alert you when exclusive opportunities are published that are suitable for your business.
- Help you get the most out of the portal.
To make finding NHS tender opportunities for your business even easier, Healthcare Tenders sends you daily email alerts. These will include all of the live NHS tendering opportunities uploaded that day, saving you even more time.
What’s published on an NHS tender portal?
You may be wondering what business opportunities are posted to NHS tender portals. The NHS tend to procure a whole wealth of healthcare works, goods and services. It can vary from digital solutions to consumables and care workers to x-ray machines.
Often, there will be opportunities to secure a place on a framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system (DPS). These can be lucrative opportunities for your business, and they can run for years at a time. Securing a place on one of these systems allows you to build experience, safeguarding a reliable income for your business.
What are NHS Framework agreements and DPSs?
Framework agreements are often used to appoint multiple organisations to provide goods or services. The process is similar to an average tender. It will start when the buyer releases a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ). This a type of box-ticking exercise showing the buyer that you meet the minimum criteria they need for the contract.
If successful at the PQQ stage, you’ll then receive an invitation to tender (ITT). The buyer will give you the specification that details all the requirements for the work they need. A supplier will formulate a response persuading the buyer that they’re the best company for the job. Once the suppliers have submitted their response, the buyer will review them. Then, the successful applicant will be placed on a list of approved suppliers known as a framework.
Once the buyer has a need to procure other goods or service, they can hold a mini competition. This is when all the approved suppliers create an ITT response. As they’re already on the framework or DPS, they don’t need to complete the PQQ stage again. This saves both the buyer and supplier time, thus streamlining the process.
NHS procurement hubs manage, maintain and develop procurement framework agreements for public sector organisations and the NHS. There are four NHS procurement hubs and one of them is the NHS London Procurement Partnership (NHS LPP). The NHS LPP serves the health community in London and the surrounding areas.
What are the common themes within NHS tenders?
There are some common themes when applying to various NHS tenders. No matter the works, goods or services you’re applying to provide, you’ll need to remember the following.
You will be required to demonstrate relevant case studies of work you have completed to a similar scope. The buyer may ask for up to three examples within the last five years. Remember to keep them relevant and state how you overcame any unexpected challenges. Buyers want to be reassured that you have some experience in delivering a contract.
A buyer will expect you to have certain qualifications and accreditations relevant to your profession. They want to know that you are qualified for the job and have the capabilities to fulfil the contract. The specific qualifications required should be listed in the specification. You want to make sure that your business is aligned with best practice.
Some accreditations that could be relevant are:
- ISO 9001; 13485; 14001; 27001
- NVQs (usually level 3 or above)
As the NHS is a public sector, as with any public sector organisation the contract is awarded to the MEAT. The MEAT stands for the most economically advantageous tender, meaning the buyer looks at more than just price. The cheapest bid here does not win. The buyer assesses various factors within your quality response. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Technical ability
- Ability to deliver on time
- Proposed design of healthcare solutions
- Environmental benefits
Each aspect can either be looked at independently by the client, or in a mix with other considerations.
It wouldn’t be an NHS tender blog without mentioning the importance of social value within your tender response. The public sector builds upon MEAT by including a compulsory minimum weighting of 10% on social value. This is included within your quality response and, in some cases, can have a weighting of up to 30%.
Social value requires you to consider the environmental, economic and social aspects of the contract. Buyers will expect you to make promises that you can keep. Some examples of social values you could include in your tender response are:
- How your business supports COVID-19 recovery.
- The environmental considerations you’re taking to reduce waste and fight climate change.
- The equal opportunity policies you implement.
- How you’re tackling economic inequality.
How can I find the right NHS tender for my business?
The ultimate question of to bid or not to bid. You must ask yourself seriously before you consider applying to any tender if the opportunity is right for you. You must read the specification carefully, twice, just to be sure. Then, you must ask yourself the following:
- Do I have enough experience?
- Does my business meet the economic and financial threshold?
- Do I have the time and resources to produce a high-quality submission?
- Can I actually fulfil the contract if I’m successful?
These four questions should be the foundation of any tender you’re considering applying for. If the answer is no to any of the above, then it’s likely that the tender isn’t suitable for you. There’s no point wasting the time and money applying to an opportunity that isn’t right for your business.
Supply to NHS Portal/NHS Tender Portal
The Institute for Government states the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) spent £70 billion on procurement in 2018/19. The vast majority of this is on NHS spending. The NHS accounts for around 80% of all healthcare spending in the UK.
In England, most healthcare goods are bulk purchased centrally and distributed by the NHS Supply Chain. The NHS Supply Chain now manages more than 4.5 million orders a year.
A business can secure a pipeline of work by supplying a product to the NHS via portals. It can be quite a lucrative opportunity if you’re able to supply to the NHS portals.
How has NHS procurement changed since the COVID-19 pandemic?
The DHSC, Public Health England and NHS England are responsible for NHS procurement. Various stems within the NHS and government actually commission NHS contracts for tender. These include Local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and the NHS Supply Chain.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS England has taken on the CCG’s powers to purchase services. This allows them with a greater ability to support the provision of services across the NHS during the crisis. The CCG are still purchasing services as well.
During this emergency, the government has issued guidance on emergency procurement. This sets out the routes that government bodies can take to gain access to good and services rapidly. This allows for direct awards, for example, meaning there is no competition resulting in accelerated procedures. Therefore, businesses can supply to the NHS without being on a portal.
The NHS uses various procurement hubs to buy goods and services they need. You can apply to supply to the NHS on their portals.
The benefits of working with the NHS Supply Chain
If you’re questioning whether to supply to NHS portals, there can be multiple benefits. The NHS Supply Chain offers benefits to suppliers that no other route to market can provide. For example:
- Regional distribution centres that have over 9000 stocked lines, allowing for increased Supply Chain resilience.
- Specialist procurement conversations with suppliers. The Category Tower Service Providers (CTSPs) have buying teams that have specialist knowledge of their product areas.
- Suppliers are involved in the CTSP development of category and sourcing strategies, which are approved by their cross-functional teams.
- Reduced point of sales, providing a single route to market for suppliers instead of applying to each trust individually. This is a particular benefit for SMEs, lowering sales and marketing costs.
- The NHS Supply Chain has a dedicated Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) team that engage regularly with suppliers.
- A clearer route for innovative products into the NHS Supply Chain. It has better links and offers the opportunity for collaborations with national programmes such as the National Wound Care Strategy.
It isn’t just suppliers that benefit from supplying to NHS portals. NHS trusts also benefit from the NHS Supply Chain. For example:
- Savings that can be channelled back to frontline services.
- More time enabled for core clinical activities.
- Greater NHS clinical involvement in purchasing decisions.
- More effective introduction of new products, particularly those with a focus on innovation.
What is the supplier code of conduct?
All suppliers for NHS tender portals must adhere to strict laws and ethics standards. It must comply with all laws applicable to its business, particularly for the following:
- Child Labour
- Forced Labour
- Compensation and working hours
- Health and safety
- Business continuity planning
- Improper payments/bribery
- Business partner dialogue
- Compliance with the supplier code of conduct.
Can SMEs join the NHS Supply Chain?
The UK government has an ongoing initiative to award 33% of all government contracts to SMEs by 2022. This applies to the NHS and they are keen to remove barriers to enable ease of trading with SMEs. Thus, ensuring that all suppliers, no matter their size, have equal and fair access to supply opportunities within the NHS.
The NHS Supply Chain has been structured to simplify the engagement with those who have expertise in their product category. SMEs will benefit from a quicker route for the evaluation of innovative products. These should offer more measurable benefits to patients or the health care system. It must compare and improve routine practice in the UK through HealthTechConnect.
How can I supply to NHS tender portals?
There are a number of actions you can take to learn more about becoming a supplier for the NHS Supply Chain. In order to supply to an NHS tender portal, you must first create an account online. You will be required to create a username and password to log in to your account.
You can also contact the Supplier Relationship Management Team or view the Procurement and Savings Calendar. This calendar will give an overview of contract launch activity, framework renewals and mini competitions all in one place.
Alternatively, you can sign up to our Healthcare Tenders portal. Here, you can find all NHS tendering opportunities and more in one place. An on-hand Account Manager can give you advice on the right opportunities for your business. They can also answer any question you may have about how to supply to the NHS tender portals.
Join Healthcare Tenders
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Upgrade to Discover Elite to save even more time
Discover Elite can help optimise your tendering efforts even when you’re busy! An on-hand Account Manager will carefully consider which tenders are most suitable for your business. They can give you advice on how to supply to the NHS portal. This will help improve your bid success rate and competitor awareness.
The Ultimate Time-Saving Tool includes:
- An annual subscription to a maximum of two Discover portals of your choice. This option is perfect if your business overlaps two industries such as Healthcare and Technology, for example.
- Up to five bid breakdowns per month to help you make your bid or no-bid
- Weekly phone calls with your dedicated Account Manager to discuss viable healthcare leads and tendering opportunities.
- Award and pre-market engagement notices monitored on your behalf.
- Public and private buyer portal management including registering, password management, downloading documents and assessing viability based on your bid strategy.
Become a Pre-Bid Master package includes:
- All of the above.
- Up to seven tender breakdowns per month.
- The development of a bid strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager with a minimum of 5 years of experience. It will also be managed by our Global Bid Director.
Contact us for more information.
So, now you know more about NHS tender portals and where to find them. You may be wondering how to win an NHS tender. If writing isn’t your strong suit, we can help.
Our sister company, Hudson Succeed, are experts in bid writing. They have 50+ years of bidding experience and an 87% success rate. The team provides four levels of bid writing support to suit all your tendering needs. Whether you’ve never tendered before, or simply need someone to proof your response – they can help.
If you’ve found an NHS tender you want to go for but don’t know where to start, Tender Writing can help. Just send the specification over and one of our Bid Writers will provide you with a full Tender Writing breakdown. They’ll write the response for you, and even submit it on your behalf!
If you need a fresh set of eyes to look over your NHS tender response, Tender Mentor is for you. Our Bid Writers analyse your response, notifying you of any errors before you submit.
If you’ve been tendering but aren’t seeing any success the Tender Improvement programme can help. Our Bid Writers will assess your previous tender responses and work with you to develop improved content.
The Tender Ready package is for those who are completely new to the tendering process. This package offers:
- An Organisation-wide bid library.
- Access to Global Bid Directors and Senior Bidding Professionals.
- Additional Flexible Benefits Options.
- A 12-month Discover subscription to Healthcare Tenders.
Get in touch to gain further insight into our services and see which opportunities can benefit your business.
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