The guide 1. Plan

Share information early

Share information about planned procurements to encourage innovation and interest from suppliers.

Why it's important

Sharing information early about your purchasing strategy allows you to:

  • alert suppliers of a contract opportunity, encouraging more bids
  • learn about new technologies or approaches in the market
  • give a diverse range of suppliers time to become aware of the opportunity
  • build better relationships with suppliers
  • inform and involve the public in your decision-making

Early market engagement or ‘pre-market engagement’ may be restricted in certain countries. When done carefully, however, its advantages outweigh any perceived disadvantages.

What it means

Sharing information early can include:

  • issuing a ‘request for information’ (RFI), a document alerting suppliers about potential opportunities and requesting information about their capabilities
  • inviting suppliers to an open meeting or event to discuss your procurement goals
  • visiting communities you wish to involve more in procurement

The publication of an RFI does not oblige you to buy anything or form any type of contract with suppliers.

Open meetings should provide an opportunity to discuss requirements and answer questions from suppliers in the presence of their competitors.

One-on-one meetings with suppliers should only be used after holding open events.

If you do meet one-to-one with suppliers you should:

  • ensure that you meet a diverse range of suppliers
  • ask each supplier the same questions and give them the same opportunity to respond
  • have a clear scope of the things you will be discussing - this will help protect the fairness of the process.

The advice you receive from suppliers may be used in the planning and other stages of your procurement providing that:

  • it does not distort competition by giving any supplier an unfair advantage
  • you share the advice with the other suppliers
  • you don’t exclude any suppliers involved in pre-market engagement
    later in the process

Do's and don'ts


  • be transparent about what you need and the process you’re following
  • engage with a diverse range of suppliers
  • inform the public about your procurement strategy


  • do not give any one supplier an unfair advantage by sharing information with them and not with others

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