What to expect from tender specifications

Published 22/07/2022
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Understanding tender specifications can improve your chances of success…here’s how Tender specifications are probably the most important part of any bid proposal. You need to ensure that you fully understand what you are reading when it comes to the tender documents. Basically, the tender specifications are there to provide you with a detailed description of the overall contract. It will outline the purpose of the contract, what is required and the solution the buyer is seeking. It will also go into detail about what is required from you, the supplier, to win the contract. In this blog, we go through some of the common tender specifications you could see when responding to a bid.
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What is included in tender specifications?

Here is a breakdown of some of the common tender specifications that you can expect within a tender document:

Description of the contract

This is where the buyer will briefly outline the intent of the contract. This will highlight what will be involved in the contracts, and the services it will require. There will also be a general description of the contract. This is to give you context of why the buyer issuing the tender, and what they are expecting from you.

Service requirements

This tender specification will define, in detail, what the requirements are for the contract. But it will also highlight what you will need to do to meet them. This will outline the following:

  • Timescales
  • Budgets
  • Quantities (if it requires the delivery of a product)
  • How the products/services will be delivered
  • Quality expectations
  • Contingency plans
  • Reporting structures, and who will be the contracting authority.

You may find that the tender specification is split into two sections: functional requirements, and performance requirements. This will be down to the buyer, and how they want to establish their specifications.

Functional requirements – define the desired result of the contract, highlighting what the overall goal is. The buyer will be looking to see if you put forward any innovative solutions that will meet their requirements effectively.

Performance requirements - goes into detail about the inputs and outputs of the solutions that will be put into place. For example, it will look at the standards of the products. Ensuring it meets to the relevant European Standards (or equivalent).

Mandatory requirements (if any)

With some tender specifications, you may find that there are mandatory requirements. These will be essential criteria defined by the buyer that you will need to meet when responding to the tender. If you do not, you may be rejected early in the process. An example of this would be security regarding company information. If your services require data handling, then the buyer will want reassurance that their data is well protected.

Contract length

The buyer will clearly highlight the length of the intended contract. They will also inform you if it is a recurring contract, so that you can tender for it again. You will also need to state what your exit plans are. This is the plan you will have in place when the contract is coming to an end.

Sustainability considerations

This is to ensure that your services/products are in accordance with the Programme for Government commitments. Buyers will want to see detailed plans to ensure their sustainability targets are met.

Contract management plans

For this tender specification, the buyer will be looking to see your management plans for the duration of the contract. Will there be a need for regular meetings? Is there a requirement for regular reviews? These are just some of the questions you will need to answer.


So, by now you should probably have a better understanding of what tender specifications are. But also, what the buyer is looking to see within your tender response.

Here is a recap of some of the tender specifications you could come across:

  • Description of the contract – will outline the intent of the contract.
  • Service requirements – what the buyer requires from the supplier.
  • Mandatory requirements (if any) – that you need to be able to provide to the buyer, this is non-negotiable.
  • Contract length – so you know how long the contract will run and when you need to reapply if it is recurring.
  • Sustainability considerations – outline how you will meet the buyer’s sustainability goals.
  • Contract management plans – how will you manage the contract.

Now you know what to expect from tender specifications, you can begin to prepare your bid proposals.

Want to improve your win rate? – Enter Hudson Succeed

Understanding tender specifications is one thing but knowing how to respond to them can be tricky. Why not consider a professional bid writer to help you with your response? By outsourcing to professionals, you could improve your chances of winning contracts.

We have over 60 years of bid writing experience and an 87% success rate. Whether you’re completely new to tendering or aren’t seeing results – we can help. There are four bid writing packages available:

  • Tender Writing 

Once you’ve found a tender you’d like to go for, send it over to us. One of our Bid Writers will write the tender response for you. We’ll provide a full Tender Writing breakdown and even submit the bid on your behalf.

  • Tender Mentor  

Tender Mentor can give your tender response a once-over before you submit it. Our Bid Writing Team will analyse your response, notifying you of any errors and opportunities for improvements prior to submission.

  • Tender Ready 

During the Tender Ready service, our team will create professional policies, procedures, and case studies in your company branding. If you already have this content, we will review everything carefully to ensure that nothing is missed. Once the programme is complete, you’ll have access to three days’ worth of bid consultancy. This can be used for bid writing, tender reviews, or general advice and guidance.

  • Tender Improvement  

The Tender Improvement package can help those who have tendered before but aren’t seeing results. Our Bid Writers will assess your previous responses and work with you to develop improved content.

Get in touch to find out how we can help your business grow.

Need help with searching for tenders?

There’s no shortage of websites offering multi-sector tendering opportunities and leads.

Ideally, you should be searching for a sector-specific site that posts all unique, public and private sector opportunities.

Our sister company, Hudson Discover, has 11 sector-specific tendering portals. One centralised and easy-to-navigate portal can help you save time, streamlining the process.

You’ll also get an email alert when new and relevant tenders are uploaded to your sector. 

A subscription to one of our industry-specific portals will include:  

  • Unlimited portal access. You can browse your industry’s portal to your heart’s content. See all the opportunities that are available, intuitively categorised, and easily accessible.
  • A daily email bulletin. When you sign up to a portal, you’ll receive an email alert when new tenders are uploaded.
  • A free 20-minute phone consultation with a Bid Writer. Our expert Bid Consultants will chat with you about anything tender related.  

What opportunities can I expect from a tender search on a Hudson Discover portal?

Hudson Discover hosts all kinds of tenders in both the public and private sectors. These are inclusive of, but aren’t limited to:

  • Open tenders
  • Restricted procedure tenders
  • Competitive dialogues
  • Negotiated tendering procedures
  • Innovation partnerships
  • Single supplier contracts
  • Framework agreements
  • Dynamic Purchasing Systems.

Discover Elite

If you want to streamline the process even further, you can sign up to Discover Elite via your chosen portal. With this service, a dedicated Account Manager will find live bids on your behalf. They’ll speak with you weekly to discuss opportunities that may interest you. This is especially helpful for those with little time to spare due to busy schedules.


Our support doesn’t end there! Our creative content agency, Vocal, are on hand to help.

The Vocal Team are not afraid to stand up and be heard. And we make sure our clients aren’t either! From small, micro-businesses to large organisations, we are vocal about the things that make your business unique.

Our creative service is dedicated to growing your business through striking and thought-provoking content. We’ll take your bid and give it a complete makeover. With professionally designed tender documents, you’re sure to make an impression on the buyer!

Our team specialise in six areas, including:

  • Copywriting
  • Marketing
  • Branding
  • Websites
  • Design
  • Illustration.

If you’d like to know more about what we can do for your business, introduce yourself to the team!

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About The Author

Hudson is a global provider of tendering and business development solutions. The Hudson Group is split into eight strands, allowing us to help businesses at every level. No matter the size or industry, we help companies, both nationally and internationally, to reach their full potential. Our team has decades of experience, helping companies to find and win the contracts they want to deliver. Last year alone, we secured over £300 million in direct contract wins for our clients.

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