Search and bid for a public contract
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The procedure for bidding for a public tender varies depending on the type of contract and the contract value. The standard way of awarding contracts is through competitive tendering. Within competitive tendering there are different types of procurement procedures.
Search for a public tender
The value of the contract, and for tenders below certain thresholds (lower value tenders), the place where the buyer is located dictates where the tender is published.
Tenders covered by EU rules
For higher value tenders, public authorities are obliged to publish notices on the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) portal. Basic information is published in the 24 official EU languages but the full procurement notices only need to be published in one official EU language.
Tenders not covered by EU rules
For lower value tenders, the public authority that launches the tender usually only publishes it on their national public procurement portals. If you are interested in taking part in these tenders you will have to monitor the portals of the countries that interest you. You can also register for alerts, when available.
Tenders from EU institutions
Mid-value and higher value tenders from EU institutions, agencies or other bodies are published on the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) portal. All notices from the EU institutions are published in full in the official EU languages.
Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) portal
The Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) portal is the online version of the Supplement to the Official Journal of the EU where all higher value European public procurement tenders are published. You can browse, search and sort procurement notices by subject, country, purchaser and more, and if you register on the portal you can save your personalised searches and set up email alerts.
Contracting authorities and entities publishing in TED must use a Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) classification. The classification number used can make it easier for you to find notices you may be interested in.
When bidding for a public tender published on TED, in most cases, you must submit your offer electronically.
During the procurement procedure purchasers may request you send them certain documentation relating to your status or experience. You can use the e-Certis information portal to help identify certificates requested by the purchasing authorities from another EU Member State. The functions on the e-Certis platform are available in all EU languages, but example documents are only available in the original languages of use.
Supporting documents about your professional situation
When you submit an offer for a tender that is published in TED, you have to declare that your business has the professional and financial capacity to be able to implement the contract you are bidding on, by filling out the digital form known as the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD).
You do not need to provide any documents about your professional situation at the stage of submitting your offer, but be aware you will need to provide these documents as proof if you win the tender.
If your company doesn't have the required capacity to bid for a tender, you have the option to submit a tender by pooling your resources with your business partners.
Mistakes when submitting offers
When preparing an offer you should make sure that you have fulfilled all the requirements as stated in the tender documents because errors or omissions when submitting your offer could well lead to rejection. There are no concessions if you apply after the deadline.
Deadlines for submitting tenders
The time limit set by purchasers should be sufficient to give you reasonable time to prepare offers; the minimum time limit can differ depending on the type of the procurement procedure.
You have at least 30 days from the publication date of the contract notice to submit a tender if a prior information notice wasn't published. If a prior information notice was published, the time limit should be at least 15 days.
You have at least 30 days from the publication of the contract notice to send your request to participate.
The shortlisted candidates then have at least 25 days to submit their tenders, from the date when the invitation to submit the tender was sent if a prior information notice wasn't published. If a prior information notice was published, the time limit should be at least 10 days.
Competitive negotiated procedure
You have at least 30 days from the publication of the contract notice to send your request to participate. The shortlisted candidates then have at least 30 days to submit their initial tenders.