The guide 2. Inform the market

Advertise the opportunity

Advertise your requirements openly to ensure the widest range of suppliers are aware of the opportunity.

Why it's important

You should advertise procurement opportunities as widely as possible, including internationally, so that all eligible suppliers can apply for the work.

This will help ensure:

  • transparency
  • equal treatment
  • competition

What it means

In most cases you should use the ‘open’ procurement process described in ‘Choose an approach’. This means posting the opportunity on your department website and using other channels such as online and print media to advertise it.

You should include:

  • the time by which any interested supplier must respond if they wish to be considered
  • how the supplier should respond, for example filling in an online form or emailing an attachment in a specific format
  • the level of detail you need - give a maximum word count to avoid suppliers writing too much
  • links or access to supporting information, including your requirements and evaluation criteria
  • links or access to your contract terms and conditions

Adverts should be accessible to the widest range of suppliers, including small and medium-sized enterprises. This may involve posting the advert in several places and using different venues or events to publicise the opportunity.

You should only restrict or remove information from the advert when there is a legitimate reason to do so, for example risks to intellectual property or national security. Where this is the case you should:

  • only remove information that is legitimately sensitive
  • give a clear and detailed justification for its removal
  • state for how long the information is considered sensitive
  • disclose the information at the moment it ceases to be sensitive

Once your opportunity has been made public you should allow suppliers adequate time to prepare bids. The response time should reflect the nature and complexity of the procurement.

For example you might have one deadline for suppliers to submit questions, say 10 days after the publication of the advert, followed by a closing date for submissions two weeks after that.

Do's and don'ts


  • advertise opportunities widely, including internationally
  • make all procurement information available, free of charge
  • allow suppliers enough time between you advertising the opportunity to bid submission


  • do not restrict or remove any information unless it is legitimately confidential or commercially sensitive