Competitive tendering

Competitive tendering is a system introduced in the UK during the 1980s to force publicly run organisations to request bids from a number of different firms for contracts to supply goods or services.

The aim was to drive costs down and improve the efficiency of state funded organisations, including central and local government departments.

One of the first examples of the use of competitive tendering occured in 1983 when the NHS started to use competitive tending in the provision of  ancilliary services, including hospital catering, cleaning and laundry services.