NAVCA Blog - Influencing local government
The following blogs were posted within the "Influencing local government" category.
Submitting a Tender: Back to Basics
As invitations to tender for Healthwatch start to trickle out, I thought I’d have a look at a few of the basics needed to submit a good bid and highlight some of the areas where mistakes are often made:
Show you’re a safe bet
At the PQQ stage the contracting authority needs convincing that your organisation has the capacity, systems and experience to be able to deliver the contract. Your job is to show you are a ‘safe bet’. Therefore if you cannot answer some of the questions as required, you need to provide extra information to explain your response or provide an alternative. Give them something to show you are capable of delivering that contract.
For example, if professional liability insurance is required and you don’t have it, don’t just tick the ‘no’ box. Get quotes and state in the PQQ that you will have the insurance in place before the start of the contract, provide the details as per the quote and don’t forget to cost this into your bid.
Focus on the stated needs/outcomes
A tender submission should:
- Show that you understand what the contracting authority requires (the outcomes)
- Propose solutions to meet/exceed those requirements
- Clearly state the evidence or experience that enables you to know your solution will work
One of the most common mistakes bidders continue to make is to propose solutions to different needs (outcomes) than those that are required. You have to provide a solution to what they want, not to what you want to achieve or what your services currently offer.
Structure and language
All too often the central idea or proposal the bidder is trying to get across is hidden. Write an executive summary, encapsulating your offer and key messages. Include it in the bid if you can. If not, refer to it as you write the tender.
Use language that is concrete and specific. Your bid needs to be about what you know, through evidence and experience, and what you will do, rather than what you believe or what you will aim to do.
Be aware of using generic language; statements like flexible opening hours and a variety of locations don’t provide enough detail. Be specific.
If you have to do a presentation, don’t lose focus at this stage. You still need to concentrate on how your offer meets the buyer’s needs. Don’t make changes to your offer at this stage and don’t lapse into general marketing. If it is not clear, ask the contracting authority the purpose of a presentation and how it will be evaluated.
NAVCA is extending our tender review service to members bidding for Healthwatch contracts. This offer provides up to two days of free support that would normally be charged at £980. For more details, see the link above.