Open Security Bids – 10 things to consider

Published25th January 2021 AuthorJohn Hudson

10 things to consider when applying for open security bids

There are a number of things to consider when applying for open security bids. Firstly, you might be wondering what the difference is between open and closed tendering.

  1. The difference between an open and closed tender process:

Open Tender

If a tender is open, it means that it is open to all qualified and interested bidders. If there is an open security bid, then anyone can submit a response to the invitation to tender (ITT).

Closed Tender

A closed tender is when only specific parties are invited to submit a final bid response. This could be an ITT that’s only accessible for those who have passed the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) stage. A closed tender gives buyers greater confidence that their requirements will be satisfied. A closed tender is more likely to be put out when there are more complex, or specialist contract needs. Due to this, only a limited number of businesses can meet these.

  1. Security Industry Authority (SIA)

For any open security bid, guards will need a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. They would need an SIA licence relevant to the nature of the job. For example, key holding, manned guarding or door supervision. The organisation will need to be registered with the SIA as well. The SIA is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the UK. They report to the Home Secretary under the Private Security Industry Act of 2001.

There are a number of licensable activities in which SIA licencing covers:

  • Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)
  • Security Guarding (SG)
  • Key Holding (KH)
  • Close Protection (CP)
  • Door Supervision (DS)
  • Cash and Valuables in Transit (CVIT)
  • Vehicle Immobilisation (VI)

There are two types of SIA licence:

  1. A front line licence

A front-line licence is a credit card-sized plastic card that must be worn, subject to the licence conditions. It’s required for those undertaking licensable activities other than key holding. It also covers non-front-line activities.

  1. A non-front-line licence

A non-front-line licence is a letter that can also cover key holding activities. It’s required for those who supervise, manage and/or employ individuals who engage in licensable activities as long as the front-line activity is not carried out.

  1. Qualifications and Accreditations

When applying for an open security bid, you might need to attach some additional qualifications and accreditations. These could be specific for the job at hand, for example:

  • ISO 9000
  • ISO 14001
  • ISO 45001
  • CHAS
  • SMAS
  • NSI
  1. Types of open security bids:

Typically, buyers in the private and public sectors put out open security bids when they’re looking for services such as:

  • Manned Guarding Security
  • Technological solutions
  • Fire Marshals
  • Dog Handling
  • Access/Egress Systems

These services may be delivered across different sectors including events, housing and education.

  1. The specification

You must read the specification. This may seem obvious but it’s crucial. You need to understand exactly what the buyer requires. You also need to make sure you can provide every single aspect of it. If they’re asking for an SIA accreditation and you don’t have one, then there’s no point in applying. You don’t want to waste time and money responding to a tender when you don’t meet the criteria.

  1. Health & Safety

Buyers want to be confident that the security services you’re providing are carried out to the highest health and safety standards. Specific health and safety questions could ask how you handle risk, conflicts and your out of hours procedure. How do you keep up to date with new guidance? How do you communicate this to your staff? You need to convey that all of these are aligned with best practice.

  1. The competition

As with any tender, you’ve got to consider your competition. You want to convince the buyer that you’re the best person for the job. Why are you the best security provider? What’s your USP? What will you do that your competitors won’t?

  1. Past examples

Buyers will always ask for previous case studies in order to establish your experience. You must select the case studies that are most relevant to the services you are bidding for. For example, you’re bidding to provide Manned Guarding services to an educational institution. For this, you should use three previous examples of providing these services to other educational institutions.

  1. Structure

Some open security bids will have a structured approach. Others can have a free-flowing proposal. Sometimes buyers can give you a structure with word counts, others can simply ask for a proposal. With free-flowing proposals it’s worth considering the following:

  • Make sure your structure is clear and coherent. Signpost each section clearly. This will make it easier to read.
  • You shouldn’t rely on assumptions. You should give specific details and examples to assure the buyer that you’ve given it thought. Ambiguity can cost you. You don’t want the buyer to assume the wrong thing, so it’s best to be clear.
  • Demonstrate your capabilities. Discuss factors that clearly indicate your competence. Prove to them you are capable of delivering what they’re asking for.
  1. The advantages of tendering for work

Many SMEs find the procurement landscape daunting. If you’re unsure of the benefits, let’s look at some advantages to tendering.

Guaranteed pay

In the public sector, suppliers can benefit from guaranteed pay once winning a contract. Public organisations are contractually bound to pay the awarded supplier. Obviously, this is one of the biggest advantages when tendering for work.

If you’re an SME and think only the big businesses can win contracts, the government has a target to help. The UK government has set a target to see £1 in £3 spent with SMEs. This is good news if you’re an SME as it means public sector businesses are actively awarding contracts to smaller businesses.

Gain experience

When applying to tenders, you must provide relevant past case studies of your work. Tendering for contracts as part of dynamic purchasing systems (DPS) or framework agreements is an effective way of building experience. Once you have some of these under your belt, you can then progress onto larger contracts.

Make Contacts

You need to make contacts in order to gain experience. Building relationships will help you gain experience and work with more buyers. This will help you in the future as you’ll be able to impress buyers with your previous experience. It’s good to have a foundation of contacts that provide opportunities for collaboration and inter-trading.


Securing a place on a long-term framework or contract can give your business sustainability. Here at Hudson, we’ve helped clients secure four years of income just from one win. This is surely an attractive prospect for any business owner.

Here are some past examples of open security bids we have sourced:

Manned Guarding Security Services

NHS Grampian- Scotland- Budget: Undisclosed


Provision of Manned Security Services at White Cross Business Park, Lancaster and Lancashire Business Park, Leyland – RFQ 15268418

Lancashire County Council- North West- Budget: £950,000


Supply of Manned Security and Keyholding Services

Sanctuary Housing Group- West Midlands- Budget: Undisclosed


Safer Streets: Home Security

BURNLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL- North West- Budget: £120,000


GB-Barnet: Security SStoSH

Barnet Homes Ltd- London- Budget: £500,000


So, you’ve found an open security bid that you’re wanting to go for. If you don’t know where to start, we can help. Our tendering experts at Hudson Succeed, are here to help your business grow. They offer four main services to help you with your open security bids. These are:

Tender Ready

A programme that’s perfect if you’re completely new to the tendering process.

Tender Writing

Our Bid Writers take care of the whole tendering process for you.

Tender Improvement

This service can help businesses who aren’t seeing successful results from their tendering efforts.

Tender Mentor

This can help you make sure your bid is the best it can possibly be. Our Bid Writers will provide feedback and guidance on a tender you’ve already written before you submit.

Find more open security bids via our sector-specific portal 

You don’t want to miss out on any opportunities for work due to mislabelled CPV codes. At Facilities Tenders, we source sector-specific opportunities via manual tracking. Our Opportunity Trackers manually search for the latest public and private sector security bid opportunities daily. They search through thousands of sources and upload them to our portal. This allows you to search for open security bids easily using filters to suit your needs. Be it budget, location or keyword.

When you sign up to Facilities Tenders, you’ll start receiving security bid opportunities straight to your inbox. You’ll have 24-hour access to our portal, and a dedicated Account Manager on hand to help. This saves you time and money, allowing you to get on with running your business.

Join Facilities Tenders

The security tenders on our portal include:

  • Events security
  • Manned guarding
  • Access control
  • Cark park attendants
  • CCTV
  • Intruder alarms
  • Out of hours security and more!

We also track opportunities for the following sub-sectors:

Book a free live demo today to learn how we can grow your business!

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