Understanding pre-market engagement

Taking the time to carry out pre-market engagement is recommended as part of your preparation for a future contract. Ask your procurement advisor what would be helpful.

'Good' pre-market engagement

CPD recently asked a group or private sector suppliers to describe what good pre-market engagement looks like. They recommended the following: 

  • carry out pre-market engagement before you have completed your business case
  • actively seeking supplier views on important issues or decisions which influence value for money on a project or programme
  • ask tailored rather than generic questions
  • use pre-market engagement to inform your strategic approach to a complex project or programme (for example if you are considering splitting the requirement into a number of different procurements)
  • use pre-market engagement to inform how you write the Specification of Requirements, and to ensure the procurement route chosen, and the tender documents, are appropriate and well-developed (addressing key issues raised by suppliers)
  • consider conducting your pre-market engagement in two stages - firstly to inform the strategic approach, and secondly to inform the preparation of tender documents
  • have a feedback mechanism that helps suppliers understand where and how their participation in pre-market engagement has informed the way that the project is being taken forward

Further information

For public sector customers in the NICS departments or agencies, a helpful course on carrying out pre-market engagement is available from Centre for Applied Learning - find out more on the Links system. 

For other public sector officials, ask your Centre of Procurement Expertise for advice. 

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