The Difference Between Public and Private Security Bids

Published20th January 2021 AuthorJohn Hudson

Three Myths Surrounding Private Security Bids

Public and private security bids are often used when companies are looking to outsource security services. They are after the expertise and experience that a dedicated security company provides. This ultimately saves them money and training costs from directly employing security personnel. Both public and private security bids can increase your business prospects, helping you to further develop a security service business.

What’s the difference between public and private sector procurement?

Public Procurement

Public procurement is conducted by not-for-profit (NFPs) organisations, also known as the public sector. It’s often affiliated with the government both local and central.

Private Procurement

Private procurement is completed within for-profit organisations (FPs). This happens within privately-owned companies who are looking to outsource their needs. This is known as the private sector.


The budgets of private and public procurements are often the biggest difference between them. Public procurement that’s driven by governments tend to have a lot less flexibility on how they spend their money. The private sector has a lot more flexibility within budgeting.

Due to this, it’s easier to procure goods and services based upon their price and competitiveness. As there is an underlying focus on procuring to increase top-line value, there’s a need for wiggle-room. At the end of the day, the private sector wants to make a profit. This means they tend to favour the most economically advantageous tenders (MEATs). The public sector also prefers MEATs. However, the private sector can choose a supplier without the regulations that the public sector is bound by.

For any private security bids, guards will need a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. You need to have an SIA licence relevant to the nature of the job in hand. 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.

SIA licencing covers the following activities:

  • Manned Guarding
  • Key Holding
  • Vehicle Immobilising

The SIA doesn’t currently licence the following activities, although the Private Security Industry Act 2001 allows for:

  • Security Consultants
  • Precognition Agents
  • Private Investigation Activities

Tendering for work in the private sector

Several myths are surrounding private and public sector tendering. If you’re a small and medium enterprise (SME), these myths might put you off the tendering process. We hope we can straighten some of these out.

Myth 1 – “You have to be on the inside to get access to private sector opportunities”

It can be easy to understand why some people might think this. There can be fewer opportunities within the private sector, and they can be even harder to find. This is particularly relatable when talking about private security bids.

Luckily, our talented team at Facilities Tenders are skilled at finding both public and private sector tendering opportunities. They then upload them onto our portal, so you don’t have to trawl through thousands of sites.

Myth 2 – “There are no rules or governing principles for the private tender process”

You might think that when comparing it to public procurement. Luckily, this isn’t actually the case. Although significantly less strict than public procurement, which has strict rules and regulations, there’s still important legal principles that apply. Particularly when turning over a specific amount.

Myth 3 – “Private sector tenders don’t use structured tender processes”

This isn’t strictly true. Like public procurement, private tenders can use basic ITT formats, RFTs, RFPs or similar. However, there’s one big difference. Even if the contract is worth more than the EU threshold, you’re not lawfully required to fill out a PQQ. You may be asked to fill out a simplified form concerning your basic company information. But it’s highly unlikely to be as detailed as the requirements for public procurement.

The disadvantages of private procurement

Despite these myths, there can be some disadvantages to private procurement. The private sector is not bound by the same rules and regulations that the public sector is. As mentioned above, they can choose a supplier without having to implement a fair process such as PQQs.

There is another disadvantage of private procurement that’s worth thinking about if going for private security bids. This is a matter of payment. There aren’t as many regulations around payment as the public sector, like the prompt payment code.

These points are worth thinking about when going for a private security bid. There are obvious advantages when going for public security bids instead, such as more opportunities. However, if you’re concerned about how to complete a private security bid, don’t worry. It could be a fairly simple process. But if you have any qualms, we can help.

Here at Hudson, we have over 40 years’ experience across a variety of industries and an 87% success rate. Our Bid Writing Team can help you! Whether this is your first-time tendering, or if you simply need someone to take a look at your bid response. We have four packages to suit your needs:

Join Facilities Tenders

At Facilities Tenders, we source sector-specific tenders on a daily basis from thousands of buyers, across the UK.

We know you’re busy! Our goal is to save you both time and money by manually searching for new business opportunities for you. We’ll send you daily alerts when new tenders are released. You’ll have 24-hour access to our portal, and a dedicated Account Manager on hand to help.

We track opportunities for the following sub-sectors:

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

A subscription with Facilities Tenders can offer you:

  • A team of opportunity trackers sourcing public and private security bids from 1000s of sites.
  • A dedicated account manager on-hand to answer any questions or queries you may have about the process.
  • No reliance on CPV codes or algorithms. Our team manually upload each tender, making sure that you have access to all public and private security bids.
  • The ability to filter bid opportunities by keyword, budget, location and more.
  • Discounted support from Hudson Succeed, our bid writing division.
  • 20-minutes of free consultancy every month with our bid experts.

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