In the past the only way a council could purchase anything was through tendering. Councils were required by law to make so many companies aware of any new contracts coming out – they did this with tender notices in local press etc.

The council would send big Tender documents out to any company interested and in these huge 40–60-page documents that the company needed to complete with account details, liability, referrals and full specs on products and services.

It was very time consuming as it took 4 weeks to complete these documents and another 6 weeks for the councils to go through each tender form. Plus it used up an immense amount of paper.

Because every tender went through the council’s central purchasing department, no matter how many companies applied, the contracts went time and time again to the same companies – normally the favourite suppliers of the central purchasing department.

Now, if the contract falls below £100k, they do not have to go through the tender process and can purchase and source company information online.

The 6 main areas of the public sector are:

Councils/Local Authorities: Each council contains approximately 40-50 individual departments

Central Government: Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Office, Foreign Office, Department of Media, Sports and Culture, Treasury etc

National Health Service (NHS): Hospitals, GP surgeries, dentists etc

Emergency Services: Police, Fire, Ambulance, Coast Guard etc

Department for Education: Schools, colleges, universities etc

The Ministry of Defence (MOD): Armed forces