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Overview on selling to government

Knowing how the public sector buys its supplies and services can put your business in a stronger position to win contracts. It can also help you decide which opportunities you should be going for - and understand the procurement processes that are used.

The learndirect website offers a free online course - Winning the Contract - that will help you develop the skills and knowledge needed to bid successfully for public sector contracts. It explains:

  • the advantages and disadvantages of dealing with public bodies
  • how contract values affect the way new opportunities are advertised, and the processes used to evaluate bidders' responses and award the contract
  • the different approaches to working with the public sector - such as forming consortia and social enterprises, and subcontracting from existing suppliers
  • how to use Contracts Finder and other services to search for contract opportunities
  • where to find other useful resources, including government publications and 'meet the buyer' events

Access the free Winning the Contract course on the learndirect website - Opens in a new window.

How the course is delivered

Winning the Contract has been developed with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The course is divided into six modules, each covering a particular topic. It takes a maximum of four hours to complete all six modules. Your progress is saved whenever you exit the course - giving you the flexibility to learn at your own pace.

The entire course was reviewed and updated in spring 2011, based on feedback from small businesses, government buyers and social enterprises.

You can start the course straight away and use it at any time - provided you have access to a computer with an internet connection. The course is available for six months from the date you first access it.

Subjects covered in this guide

Print options - What are my print options? - Opens in a new window Email options - What are my email options? - Opens in a new window



Sales and marketing



Overview on selling to government





What opportunities are available?


Where to find out about contracts


The procurement process


Procurement regulations for public sector contracts


The role of e-procurement

Current section

Winning the Contract - a free online public procurement course


Resolving public sector tendering problems