Writing a Tender Brief

A brief should be a clear written instruction of the job you want done.  It should outline what you expect from the successful contractor, supplier or consultant. Make your brief clear and precise.  Any misunderstanding at this stage will only lead to one or both parties being dissatisfied with the job and make it a waste of time in the long run.

What to include in your brief

Title and introduction

Give the job/commission/study a title and begin the brief with an introduction that includes relevent details about the history and background to the project. You can also include further details of work previously carried out by your group (where relevant). These may typically include studies and reports which you can make available to provide background information.


Set out the objectives of the project and be specific about the work to be carried out by the consultant. 

For example:

  • to consult members of the community on...

  • to report on the present condition of...

  • to compile three year financial projections for the management of...

  • to recommend whether estate purchase is viable and highlight any potential risks to the community...


Ask the consultant how they propose to do the work. Will it be desk-based and/or field research? Set out who should be included in any consultation.

Schedule and Deadlines

Be clear about the completion date, and the dates for interim or draft reports.


Be upfront about the budget available for the job and how this would be paid.


Set out how you want to be kept informed of progress:

•    agree someone who will act as the contact for your group
•    make clear the number of copies you will require for draft and final reports
•    how do you want the final report presented?  For example, on disk, bound hard copies etc


Ask for evidence that will demonstrate competency to undertake the work.

Submission Detail

Set out who proposals should be sent to and the documents that you require. For example you may want them to submit a proposal which includes methodology, personnel, experience (and/or CVs), how many days the job will take, a breakdown of costs and timetable.

Closing date

Always set a realistic deadline and make sure that it is clearly stated on the brief.