Introduction to scheme and programme

The objective of the Get Set to Tender training programme, kickstarted in 2022 by Devon County Council, was to support Devon based organisations including micro businesses, SMEs (Small, Medium Enterprises) , VCSEs (Voluntary, Community or Social Enterprises) and CICs (Community Interest Companies) to become Local Authority Procurement Ready and enable them to bid for opportunities in the public sector and in turn support the local economy of the communities they work in.

To achieve this objective, the programme we put together provided these organisations with the support, advice, information, and signposting required to understand procurement; confidently tender for contracts; and establish or support local supply chains. The Get Set to Tender support programme was delivered through workshops and also 1:1 sessions using Eventbrite to host.

Our contract to provide support to SMEs and VCSEs was originally awarded from January 2022 until end January 2023. However, due to increased interest from eligible organisations towards the later months of the programme, Devon County Council extended the contract by a further month to the end of February 2023.

Training: Workshops & 1:1s

The content of the workshops and 1:1s was specifically tailored to relay introductory information to attendees, in a meaningful way that would provide a good basis of understanding.

Plain English, explanatory language was used to ensure participants did not require a prior knowledge of terminology or jargon to fully participate and benefit from the scheme. Jargon and terminology was explained, demystifying procurement and tenders and making the whole topic of procurement more accessible and understandable.

Practical/interactive elements of the workshops were well received!

During workshop 1, attendees business industry and CPV codes were used to demonstrate how to search for and filter contract notices on Find a Tender Service and Contracts Finder.

During workshop 2, attendees were encouraged to put pen to paper, taking into account what they learned during the workshop, to create a writing plan for a typical tender question. Many attendees had the confidence to share their writing plans with their workshop group during the session.

What Worked Well?

  • Subject Matter Specialist presenters
  • Virtual remote delivery using MS Teams

Attendees reported improved confidence in approaching tendering and have used what they learned to submit successful tenders and grant applications!

Positive Attendee Feedback

“I attended all 3 events and they were very informative, I have a better understanding of the different types of contracts, what the buyer looks for and how to best present our tender. I would definitely recommend.”


“Thanks so much for linking us up with the Get Set to Tender programme. Darren and I just went on the first workshop and it was brilliant. It’s exactly what we needed! I had no idea this kind of thing existed. We’re so grateful.”


“My 1-1’s with Vicky have been superb! My confidence has grown massively around how to tackle approaching and securing funding streams. Her out the box thinking as well as listening skills steer you into unknown exciting territory. Thanks Vicky!”


“It was informative and helped clarify some pre-conceptions I had about tendering. But didn’t learn as much as I was expecting to. Have signed up to the other two workshops in July and August as a result.”



This was a fantastic programme to be involved with and we are thrilled to have helped so many small businesses in the Devon County Council area – we hope to be able to deliver many more useful training sessions in the years to come.

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