Freedom of Information request tool

Send Freedom of Information (FOI) requests straight to contracting authorities from our expired notices, Advance Tender Alerts and contract award notices.

Effortlessly request procurement information

Our Freedom of Information request tool is included as standard with all Tenders Direct subscriptions. Users can send anonymous requests directly from Expired Notices, Advance Tender Alerts, and CANs.

Our tool prepopulates an editable email to the relevant department within the contracting authority, and includes a link to the original tender notice.

The email contains common information requests, which you can fully edit to your specific needs. The pre-formatted fields include requests for:

  • Copies of successful tenders
  • Final pricing of successful bidders
  • Expiry date of awarded contracts
  • Approximate renewal dates
  • Number of bidders who submitted responses
  • Name of all bidders who submitted responses
  • Rank of all bidders who submitted responses
Everything you need to find and win public sector contracts can be found on Tenders Direct

Available as standard with all Tenders Direct subscriptions

The FOI tool can be found on all Expired Notices, Advance Tender Alerts, and CANs.

How can FOI requests help my tendering?

If you are conducting public sector market research, FOI requests can allow you to get access to information that would otherwise be unavailable. The most prominent reasons to submit an FOI request are:

A Contract Award Notice has not been published
If no Contract Award Notice (CAN) has been published, a common occurrence for Low-value tenders, an FOI would allow you to request all of the information you require for your market research.

You need access to more specific information
If you require access to information that would not be included with Contract Award Notices (CAN), such as names of other bidders or copies of winning submissions, an FOI request is the only channel you can use to request it.

You believe a procurement has broken the rules
If you have been involved with a procurement which you believe did not fully comply with Public Contract Regulations 2015, an FOI request will give you access to the information needed to review your assumptions.

What is an FOI request?

Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA), you have the right to request access to any information recorded by a public body – this includes information about procurement contracts and awards.

Public bodies are obligated to make any non-confidential information available to anyone who requests it, within 20 days of the request. As the public sector uses taxpayer money to make decisions, access to this information ensures there is accountability for how the money is spent.

What should you do before submitting an FOI request?

We recommend first engaging in dialogue with contracting authorities to request information. This can help you build relationships with buyers, while also allowing you to ask a greater range of questions and access information not covered within an FOI request. However, there are some instances where formally making an FOI request first would be beneficial.

When should you not submit a FOI request?

Submitting an FOI request should, in most cases, be a last resort.

If you are conducting market research, and the information you request can already be accessed via a publicly available CAN, you will likely not get a response. You would also save yourself time, as buyers have 30 days to respond to your request.

If you are bidding for a tender, it would not benefit you to try and request information from the buyer through an FOI request. All relevant information for the tender should be within the provided documents. If there is something missing or needs clarification, there are transparency rules meaning all questions should be answered by the buyer publicly and made available to all bidders.

If you already have a relationship and clear lines of communication with the buyer, an FOI request might be less efficient than asking. Whether you submit an FOI directly, or anonymously via Tenders Direct, you are restricting the level of information you can access. Making use of existing relationships and communication channels can have numerous benefits – such as enhancing relationships, access to wider market information, and details of upcoming procurements.