A Guide to the Different Types of Blue Light Tenders

Public services such as ambulance, police, fire and rescue services are among the most critical service arteries in the United Kingdom. These service areas ensure the well-being, safety and overall protection of the general public, making them some of the most valuable, and perhaps, relevant support authorities for both central and local governments. 

Over the last several years, public spending on these service areas has seen increasing growth due to higher public demand, and a change in the country’s national priorities, including counter-terrorism and cybersecurity. 

Most recent annual funding settlements revealed that fire and rescue authorities in England received roughly £2.5 billion in funding; while state funding for police service would total more than £1.75 billion for the financial year ending 31 March 2024. 

Other blue light services concentrated in the healthcare sector, which mainly includes ambulance services have witnessed a similar increase in overall funding from the Department of Health and Social Care, which oversees the NHS, and operates numerous ambulance and emergency medical services. 

Today, the NHS is one of the biggest employers in the world, with more than 1.7 million full-time employees working across a range of services, and having roughly 18,095 ambulance staff and close to 200,000 support and technical employees as of 2022. 

Latest Blue Light Tenders

United Kingdom-Livingston: WLC Void Works Framework

£7200000

West Lothian Council

WLC wish to set up a framework of contractors to assist with getting void rental properties to a lettable condition. This will mainly be housing, but may include commercial properties

United Kingdom- Lewes: STORM Command & Control System Support and Maintenance

Office of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner

On-going support and maintenance for STORM Command & Control system

Verastream Licence and Support

£130000

Northumbria Police

24 month licence and support for Verastream which can be accessed via https://sell2.in-tend.co.uk/blpd/home.

UK-London: Event services.

The Royal Parks Ltd

Event services. The Royal Parks is conducting an Early Market Engagement exercise prior to the Invitation to Tender for potential providers keen to submit a bid proposal to create an event which can operate up five days in Kensington Gardens. The contract period will be for up to 3+2 years,...

Provision of Outdoor Metal Storage

£40000

Fife Council

Fife Council provides notice of a possible upcoming opportunity for the provision of outdoor steel storage solutions including sheds. Key deliverables are: Police approved Certified anti-theft features including locks and hinges Fire resistant materials Guaranteed weatherproofing Minimum 10 year warranty Recyclable materials

Understanding Blue Light Contracts

Blue light services, which include fire services, fire brigade, policing, and ambulance services are among the most well-funded and highly advanced public systems that provide countless new opportunities to private businesses and corporations selling goods, materials, and other services related to blue light organisations.  

Seeing as blue light tenders play an important role in supporting and enhancing the efficiency of ambulance, police, and fire services, understanding the various intricacies of blue light contracts is one of the first steps any business owner needs to take before submitting a potential bid. 

In the United Kingdom, blue light contracts can vary from entity to entity and are often directed towards the overarching national priority of the central government. Steady demand and ongoing growth now provide opportunities for new suppliers in the following areas:

  • Policing and counter-terrorism

  • Refurbishment of fire equipment and safety systems

  • Cybersecurity and technology advancement

  • Medical and ambulance services

  • Border security

  • Natural disaster response

  • Supplies to all emergency services

These areas provide procurement opportunities for businesses in the Information technology (IT); software and cybersecurity; defence; and medical equipment industries. In recent times, the central government’s narrative has shifted to creating public systems that are more efficient through the use of digital infrastructure, and to make them more accessible and convenient to use. 

In-Depth Analysis of Ambulance Tenders

The NHS has dedicated a multimillion-pound investment to new ambulances and emergency services as new technology becomes available on the public market. This forms part of the NHS Long Term Plan to direct capital investment towards creating more efficient systems that can better support paramedics and ambulance staff. 

This long-term strategy makes it possible for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to bid for potential ambulance contracts or any relevant blue light tenders that become available. 

Some areas of interest include: 

  • Ambulance maintenance 

  • Ambulance and emergency support staff 

  • Internal construction and refurbishment 

  • Emergency services consulting 

  • Project management 

  • Supply chain management 

  • Suppliers to all emergency services

  • Data analysis and data capturing 

  • Administration and payroll services 

Out of all of these, ambulance tenders remain the most lucrative tender opportunities for SMEs and companies that can provide the necessary goods, materials, and services to further improve existing and upcoming ambulance services within the framework agreement.

However, due to the growing demand for these materials, goods, and services, competition remains one of the biggest challenges for many private sellers. Thus, it would be beneficial for private sellers to ensure that they align their procurement strategy with the requirements of the desired ambulance contract and highlight their expertise and experiences in the field.

A-Guide-to-the-Different-Types-of-Blue-Light-Tenders-DCI

Navigating Police Tenders

Another blue light procurement opportunity is police tenders and service contracts. Both central and local governments have been working on increasing budget allocation to this specific service area, with cybersecurity and counter-terrorism being the two main focus areas. 

Just as with other blue light contracts, police tenders can follow several routes, often creating immense challenges for businesses looking to bid for specific police contracts. 

Businesses looking to become police suppliers would need to:

Complete an SSQ 

An SSQ or Standard Selection Questionnaire is the first step to applying for any police tenders or contracts. In this questionnaire, service providers will need to ensure that they meet the financial and technical criteria as specified by the tender. 

Additionally, suppliers will be asked to provide information regarding their expertise and provide proof related to any relevant experience they may have. During this process, service suppliers need to carefully review all the prerequisites of the tender, and ensure that their business aligns with these demands. 

Fulfill additional requirements

Once a service provider has been shortlisted, they will then be invited to apply for an available tender. Police service agencies will typically look to award a contract to a supplier that can provide the best value for money, meets the relevant technical criteria, and can provide social value. 

Environmental requirements 

On top of having to provide relevant information relating to experience, some police agencies will require service providers to elaborate on how they will support the broader goal of reducing environmental impact. 

Currently, some agencies have a forward-looking plan to reduce energy and carbon emissions, improve air quality and biodiversity, and reduce waste. Private suppliers will also need to provide a well-detailed forward-looking environmental management plan. 

Crucial Insights into Fire Brigade Tenders

Fire safety has always been one of the most crucial public bodies in the UK. However, following the incident of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the Fire Protection Association (FPA) now urges both public and private entities to increase their awareness of legal requirements and service management demands to improve fire safety for all residents. 

Improved fire regulation and safety changes have further encouraged the public fire brigade to enhance their understanding and use of advanced technology, critical equipment, and the various framework agreements.

These changes bring new opportunities for suppliers to bid for fire brigade tenders and related fire service tenders. However, these improvements now require businesses to follow a stringent set of rules and guidelines when bidding for any fire service contract. 

Some of these requirements include: 

  • Hold the necessary accreditations such as FIRAS & IFC.

  • Provide proof of relevant fire safety and management experience. 

  • Potentially undergo a security clearance check. 

  • Provide a well-detailed proposal to resolve fire service-related issues. 

  • Understand new regulations and changes that may occur during the contract duration. ‘

  • Have a thorough understanding of floor plans, and schematics, if relevant. 

  • Provide clarification regarding staff training, experience, and expertise. 

  • Conduct a forward-looking fire management strategy. 

Additional requirements could also include, if applicable: 

  • Provide evidence relating to IT infrastructure. 

  • Understanding of technological equipment and service management. 

  • Ensure the provision of employee training for using digital tools. 

  • Demonstrate a robust understanding of existing health and safety processes. 

  • Conduct an assessment to ensure minimum risk to the general public and employees. 

Fire brigade contracts can provide long-term business opportunities. However, the stringent rules and regulations that need to be adhered to can often create multiple obstacles for less-experienced service suppliers. 

fire services procurement

Optimising Your Bid for Success

To ensure that your business can increase its intake of blue light tenders, here are a few expert tips to follow that may help optimise your bid strategy. 

  • Provide clarification regarding your expertise and any relevant experience.

  • Ensure a well-detailed proposal is submitted. 

  • Ensure that your business meets all the requirements of the blue light contract.

  • Clearly state any third-party accreditations and certifications. 

  • Provide an effective service management strategy. 

  • Conduct market research using DCI procurement tools

  • Craft a proposal aimed at high-quality service delivery. 

  • Deliver a forward-looking plan that highlights possible solutions to existing problems. 

  • Provide market insights supported by valuable data, and market analysis. 

DCI Contracts provides businesses with practical advice, and industry expertise to assist them in creating a winning proposal that helps them maximise their chances of securing blue light tenders across the United Kingdom, Europe, and abroad. 

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