‘Love Your Tender’ was first published in 2009 in recognition of the increasing trend for public services to be delivered by the voluntary and community sector and the move from funding these services through grants to contracts.

Since 2009 this trend has continued and looks set to increase still further. However, the environment in which the voluntary and community sector is working has changed considerably and this is already having a major impact on small and medium sized organisations delivering front line services to children and young people. Policies and legislation based on a philosophy of ‘localism’ are being developed with Local authorities who in future will have their own improvement targets, agreed with the community (formerly referred to as Local Area Agreements and agreed with the Government). Community strategies are still in existence and, councils are being encouraged to include a social enterprise engagement
plan in their community strategies and may, in future, be obliged to include social, economic and environmental well-being in all their procurements.

Public sector funding has been severely reduced, especially to local authorities and this is having a major impact on the voluntary and community sector (VCS). The commissioning and contracting environment is becoming ever more challenging. Within the VCS, major changes are taking place in how capacity building is delivered nationally and the introduction of new financial models. The ‘localism’ agenda is encouraging the public sector to transfer services to staff mutuals, social enterprises and, in some cases, to be delivered by volunteers. At a local level, many children and young peoples organisations in the voluntary and community sector are already struggling to survive.

This second edition of ‘Love Your Tender’ retains and updates the essential guidance and good practice information on contracting, whilst adding information about new forms of funding available, updates on legislation and ideas on how to survive in an ever increasingly competitive world. In particular it intends to;

  • Explain about a typical contracting process.
  • Help you to decide if you are ‘tender ready’.
  • Signpost to additional resources.
  • Guide you through aspects of contracting that are especially tricky or need special consideration.
  • Offer helpful tips, exercises and checklists.

This guide consists of five sections:

  • Background information
  • Are you ready to tender?
  • Preparing your tender
  • Getting to grips with finance
  • Other useful information

Download Love Your Tender.