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How to go out to tender

You must follow the tender process if the budget for your project is £5,001–£25,000 (excluding VAT).

If you work in The Communications and Engagement Team or Facilities Directorate, please view the TEAM-Communications SharePoint site for threshold information.

This page tells you how to go out to tender. For information regarding the full tender process please see the Getting quotes and choosing a supplier page.

Before you go out to tender, you should review the Supplier Framework Skills Groups page to find the correct skills group to service your brief. The suppliers then decide whether to pitch for the work and explain their reasons if they decline. 

If you are not sure which Supplier Framework Skills Group can service your brief, please fill out the supplier briefing tool and send it to the Comms production team at so we can guide you on which suppliers will be most suitable. 

We recommend that, if you are going out to tender, you use the email template on this page. 

Note: Please retain all of your records for audit purposes.

How to use the tender email template

  1. When emailing the tender to the agencies who can service the brief, please add the agencies addresses using the bcc section. This is so that the agencies cannot see who else you have contacted. This keeps the process fair.
  2. We recommend using an email subject heading such as: [Insert Project Title] -[Insert your faculty/department].
  3. Please copy and paste the text in the Tender email template section into your email and update the fields as appropriate. Add your brief as an attachment.
  4. All clarifying notes for commissioners within the email are placed within square brackets and can be removed from the email before you send it.
  5. The timings section sets out the various stages involved in the tender process. You will need to add the dates you wish to work to for each stage. The pitching and appointing process will take 10 working days so please allow this time in the project schedule. One of the stages is to allow interested agencies to contact you, the commissioner, with clarifying questions. The following section provides best practice on the clarifying questions stage. 

Best practice for clarifying questions:

NOTE: You must share any answers you provide that relate to factual information to all agencies.

If you receive clarifying questions from any agency, we recommend that you categorise them into three types: 

  • The facts about the project
  • Creative 
  • Strategic

You can answer all questions an agency puts to you.

You must share any answers you provide that relate to factual information to all agencies involved, but you should not share any other answers you provide, for example to questions about the creative treatment. Examples of factual information: the number of social media edits or an updated banner measurement etc.

We recommend agencies schedule a call or meeting with you and that you allocate 15 minutes per agency to discuss the clarifying questions.

Tender email template

Dear suppliers,

We hope you are well. Please see below, details of your invitation to pitch for a project.

Budget (excluding VAT): £
Commissioner’s name:
Commissioner’s email:

Please see the attached brief.

Number of suppliers sent this brief:

Please note – at this initial stage, a full creative response / deliverables are not required. To aid the commissioner to select a supplier, please reply with an initial proposal for the work which should include:

  • A quote/outlined costs (please include handover of final project files)
  • Initial considerations and your approach
  • The value you can add to the brief / outline relevant experience or case studies of similar work.

You can find University identity guidance for font use and core colour palette on the University's communications and engagement website.


The pitching and appointing process will take 10 working days. Please allocate this time in the project schedule.

  • [Commissioner - insert date here] 
    Agencies need to respond to the commissioner with: confirmation of an intention to pitch, or notification that you wish to decline the opportunity. [Commissioners: this should be at least 2 working days from sending the brief].
  • [Commissioner - insert date here]
    On this date, the commissioner will be available to answer any clarifying questions on the brief via a call or face-to-face meeting.  Note to agencies: Please contact the commissioner to request a call for the date provided within the timings. The commissioner will then share feedback (facts only) to all agencies who have agreed to pitch.
  • [Commissioner - insert date here]
    The commissioner will circulate factual clarifications (if any). [Commissioners: we suggest giving yourself a day to answer questions and circulate questions from any agencies to the full list of agencies asked to bid. The source of the questions should be anonymised].
  • [Commissioner - insert date here]
    The deadline for agencies to confirmation of your intention to pitch, or notification that you wish to decline the opportunity. (After receiving the answers to the clarifying questions).
  • [Commissioner - insert date here]
  • Final deadline for agencies to send their response/pitch. Please share with the named commissioner. [Commissioners: we recommend allowing 2-5 days from the point you share answers to clarifying questions and this date. You should allow a minimum of 2 days for basic briefs, typically for more complicated projects, allow up to 5 working days].
  • [Commissioner - insert date here]
    The date by which the commissioners hope to appoint the selected supplier.
  • [Commissioner - insert date here]
    The commissioner will provide feedback to unsuccessful bidders and disclose the number of suppliers who pitched for the work. [Commissioners: It is really important to provide feedback to unsuccessful bidders as it helps them to improve their processes which in turn increases the quality of the work.]