- The NSW Government follows standard procedures when it tenders for work.
- The details of any tender must be published on eTendering.
- There are several ways government approaches the market and may use open and closed methods.
- You’ll often only be asked to tender for a closed method if you’re already part of a prequalification scheme.
- Agencies need to give you details of how to apply when they publish a notice of tender.
- They must also keep the tender open for a minimum period of time, depending on its nature.
How the NSW Government runs tenders
Tenders have traditionally been the main way NSW Government approaches the market and awards contracts.
- The agency must publish the details of every upcoming tender on eTendering. When they do, they must give as much notice of the tender as possible.
- Anyone can view the website and see open tenders. If you want to receive email notifications on upcoming opportunities then you must register on eTendering.
- Once you’ve registered, you can also respond to tenders and apply for prequalification schemes.
There are also specific ways of tendering that the government can choose to use. We’ve set out some of the more common ones below.
Open request for tender (RFT)
An open tender is one that is publicly advertised and you can access and apply on eTendering.
In an open RFT, anybody can submit a tender response. Each tenderer must show they satisfy the evaluation criteria and meet any specific requirements.
Request for proposal (RFP)
Typically, in an RFP, the government agency knows the final outcome it wants but it’s not sure of the best solution for providing it. The agency asks for you to provide a proposal on how you’d solve the problem. It may also include criteria which it will use to evaluate your expertise, experience and capacity to deliver.
An RFP can often be a good opportunity for you to suggest an innovative solution to the tender.
Request for quote (RFQ)
In an RFQ, an agency asks you to provide a price quote for specific goods or services.
To be part of an RFQ, you'd usually already have an existing contract to be part of a prequalification scheme.
In a limited tender, an agency approaches you directly or as part of a select group of suppliers.
You might have the opportunity to participate in a limited tender if you’re on a prequalification scheme and have a specific skillset. Otherwise, the agency may have already held an open tender but hasn't awarded a contract.
Expression of interest (EOI)
In an EOI, the government tries to work out whether there are any suppliers capable of providing a good or service and whether they’re interested in performing the work.
You usually won’t have to respond with a detailed response or price quote. Instead, if the agency believes you’re qualified based on your response, they may invite you to tender.
How to respond to a government tender
Agencies will provide you with all the information you need to respond to a tender by publishing it on eTendering.
Most tenders come with strict time limits and agencies can't usually extend these.
You can read about the minimum tender periods in the guidance for government buyers.
- How to supply to government: Read an overview of supplying to government based on your business type and the buying methods we use.
- SMEs and regional businesses: Learn about how the NSW Government is prioritising SMEs and regional businesses and what you need to do to apply.
- Aboriginal businesses: Find out about how you can supply to government if you own an Aboriginal business.
- Contracts and prequalification schemes: Discover how our procurement arrangements work and why we use them.