Further competition

What is a further competition?

Once you have selected the agreement and lot (if applicable) that you want to buy from you can carry out a further competition. This is where you invite all eligible suppliers listed under the agreement or lot to bid for your contract.

Generally in public procurement further competition is the preferred route to market. This is because it offers a fair and open competition while ensuring you get the best solution and competitive pricing for your needs.

Who can use

All public sector and non-profit organisations can run a further competition under any agreement or lot which has more than one supplier.

You can buy anything from stationary to complex facility management contracts.

However, further competitions work best for more complex goods and services. For example, a refurbishment or construction project. 

For more information, take a look at our list of current agreements.

For some agreements, such as a dynamic purchasing system you can only award a contract following a further competition.

  • low-value purchases where the time and cost of running a further competition is disproportionate to the goods and services supplied 
  • niche goods and services which may only be offered by specialist vendors and not available through CCS agreements

First you will need to find an agreement which meets your needs. Then you will be able to run a further competition through that agreement.

There are 2 types of further competition:

One stage further competition: You will need to invite all suppliers on that agreement to bid for your opportunity and assess all bids that are submitted.

Two stage further competition: You can shortlist the suppliers to find the ones most suitable for your procurement using a capability assessment tool. Only the suppliers on the shortlist will be invited to bid for your opportunity.

You can use CCS’s free eSourcing tool to run your further competition. If you’d prefer, you can use your own organisation’s eSourcing tool. There are 5 stages to running a further competition.

1. define your requirements

This is where you determine exactly what your needs are and what you want to achieve from the contract. For example, how long do you want the contract to last and whether it is a one-off purchase or a long-term arrangement. For more information, read how to write a specification.

You’ll also need to prepare an invitation to tender (ITT) along with a draft contract. These may be provided in template format as part of a agreement’s schedule documents.

2. invite suppliers to bid for your tender

Use your preferred eSourcing tool to send your ITT to eligible suppliers. You must invite all suppliers under the relevant agreement or lot unless you have created a supplier shortlist or completed an expression of interest (EOI).

If the commercial agreement allows, you can shortlist the suppliers to find the ones most suitable for your procurement using a capability assessment tool.

Some agreements allow you to send an expression of interest (EOI) to all suppliers. This allows you to find out how many suppliers are interested and also narrows down the number of suppliers you need to invite to further competition. 

3. evaluate supplier responses

This is where you look through all the supplier responses and evaluate them to determine which supplier best meets your needs. You will use the award criteria you set out during the ITT stage to evaluate and assess their answers.

For more information, read how to evaluate bids

4. award your contract

Use the score you gave at evaluation stage to identify the winning supplier. Before you can award the contract to them you must notify all suppliers of the result.

You should dispatch all award letters and letters to unsuccessful bidders at the same time.

5. include a 10 day standstill period

The standstill period should be at least 10 calendar days. During this time the contract award process is suspended. This gives unsuccessful bidders an opportunity to consider feedback, request further information or call for a review of the decision. 

Once the standstill period has passed you can begin your contract with the winning supplier.

Speak to your commercial team / legal advisors if you need advice to decide if this is appropriate for your procurement or not.

The time between starting a further competition and awarding a contract will depend on the complexity of your requirements and the number of bids you evaluate.

Producing your requirements and Invitation To Tender (ITT) documents can take from a few days to a few months.

Typically, you should allow at least several weeks to complete your further competition process. If you are running a further competition that is assisted by a CCS call-off team, there is a 30 working day service level: 

  • 10 days to prepare tender documents
  • 10 days for suppliers to submit responses
  • 10 days to evaluate responses and recommend an award

Related articles

Browse all further competition news articles

You might also be interested in:

Information for buyers and suppliers

Find helpful information to help you start buying or supplying.

Learn moreInformation for buyers and suppliers

You might also be interested in:


Find explanations for common terms and abbreviations used in public procurement.

Learn moreGlossary