Market engagement methods

There are a range of buying methods for purchasing goods and services. The method selected will be determined by the nature of the goods or services required. 

If the goods or services are on an existing NSW Government contract, agency contract, prequalification scheme or other standing panel arrangement, then goods and services can be purchased directly from approved suppliers.

If the goods or services are not covered by an existing NSW Government contract, prequalification scheme or other standing panel arrangement, then the market engagement method can be determined by the value of the purchase, the terms of an agency's accreditation and by direction of the NSW Procurement Board.

For further information, please refer to the NSW Procurement Policy Framework and Board Direction 2013-03.

Market Approaches Guide

The Market Approaches Guide (PDF, 603KB) builds on the NSW Government Procurement Policy Framework's principles-based approach to engaging suppliers and service providers.

The guide replaces the Tendering Guidelines, the Selective Tendering Guidelines, and the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation Tendering Manual under the policy framework.

The guide helps agencies identify the approach to market that best fits their requirement, providing high-level advice on the major types of approaches to market. The guide also provides high-level advice on tendering periods, number of quotes or tenders, external involvement, disclosures, eTendering and procurement principles.


Approaches to the market by buyers cover a range of methods including:

Expression of interest

Where the supplier market or products and services are dynamic or not well-known, this method can help test the market to determine if the products or services are available and which suppliers provide the required services.

Request for tender

The traditional method of approaching the market through an open tender that is advertised to all suppliers in the market and allows those suppliers to provide a response to determined specification for the supply of defined goods or services. Terms and conditions are also provided as part of the tender documentation.

Need help?

NSW Procurement's tender management services can assist buyers to deliver tenders to the market quickly and efficiently, providing best practice in tendering and incorporating both NSW Government and the agency’s tendering policies. These services can be delivered in one of three tailored packages to meet an organisation's specific tendering requirements. Contact the NSW Procurement Service Centre for more information about the tender management services available.

Direct negotiation

Direct negotiation can be utilised when the supplier market, products and services are well-known. The supplier market may be small and specialised in nature with limited opportunity for competition. Agencies should refer to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) guidelines for managing risks in direct negotiations.

Request for quotation

A request for quotation (RFQ) can be utilised to seek quotes from a pool of suppliers on an existing NSW Government contract, agency-specific contract or prequalification scheme. RFQs are usually used for goods of higher value or volume purchase or services that do not have a defined price. NSW eQuote enables agencies to issue and manage their online RFQs.

Prequalification schemes

Prequalification schemes provide flexible arrangements to provide a pool of prequalified suppliers for goods and services. Prequalification schemes are typically less rigorous in their evaluation process, requiring suppliers to satisfy certain criteria. They are also flexible allowing new suppliers to be added during the period of the scheme.

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