Fact Checked

What Is a Tender Board?

Staci A. Terry
Staci A. Terry

A tender board is a division of a government that defines, operates, and governs the government procurement process. When a public sector organization or governmental body has work or services for outsourcing to a private company, the entity typically has to release a tender document, which sets forth the requirements for the bidding process. The tender board determines the types of conditions set forth in the bidding process, sets forth any applicable fees, and other terms such as price and time frame for the tasks to occur. At times, the tender board may require that the entity award the job to the lowest bidder or a bidder meeting other specific requirements.

The government procurement process differs significantly from one jurisdiction to the next, but a tender is usually necessary when the public entity in questions needs goods or services that exceed a certain value. Government procurements are a substantial portion of the economies of most nations, so these types of contracts usually are in relatively high demand. Since the government procurement process is to guard against government corruption and waste of resources, so the process is normally carefully monitored. The tender board helps ensure that a public entity does not unfairly favor one or more private companies over others and also makes it possible for a greater, more diverse selection of companies to have equal access to government contracts. Government procurement processes can also assist companies who traditionally do not receive the majority of government contracts, such as companies owned by women and minorities.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

One example of a tender board in a developing nation is that of the Namibian government. The tender board of Namibia gives preference for public jobs to bidders that are local companies. Most recently, this tender board has required that all bidders for government contracts must obtain unskilled and semi-skilled laborers from within Namibia. If a company does not meet these requirements, the company will not be eligible for any Namibian government jobs for work or services. The nation of Zambia and the Kingdom of Bahrain are other examples of nations worldwide that utilize tender boards.

In developed countries, the tender board tends to be better established and more comprehensive in its regulation of government procurements. In the United States, the government procurement process operates under the auspices of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, whereas European Union nations follow community law that regulates all government contracts. The European Union maintains a list of online public tenders and provides for electronic procurement procedures as well.

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Discussion Comments


@miriam98 - Why would business tenders ever specify that the winning bid will be the lowest one? Whatever happened to the adage that you get what you pay for? I would hope that these are low priority or low impact projects. I can’t imagine anything of seriousness being awarded to the cheapest bidder.


@nony - I don’t think that’s exclusively the domain of the procurement office actually. It’s the politicians who decide on these projects. They determine that they are important and the procurement office sets in motion the tender process for writing the tender for bidders.

The procurement officers just do what they’re told. Taxpayers need to vote out politicians who vote for wasteful spending in my opinion.


@Charred - If tender management is practiced so much in the federal government, why do we still have so much government waste and fraud and corruption?

Endless are the tales of pork projects that do little more than satisfy the needs of special interest groups. Why doesn’t the procurement office weed out these mindless programs that waste taxpayer money on frivolous pursuits?


I used to live in the Washington, D.C. area, working for a local software company there. As you might imagine, the nation’s capital is the source of many government contracts. Our company was almost exclusively built on contracts we bid on and won from the federal government.

I wasn’t in on the details of the bidding as such, but I do know that there were people who went over the request for proposals and any other tender information, and submitted appropriate bids.

One thing that helped us win some bids was our diversity quotient, if you want to call it that. We were more than 50% Asian American owned, and that helped. Of course it helps that you do a good job and have a good track record too, which we also had.

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