posted: May 31st, 2012
Over the next few months we are going to be highlighting some of the key benefits of using Thornton & Lowe to support or lead in the development of some of your tenders (PQQs, ITTs), bids and proposals.
1. Our structure
When developing your quality responses (whether that be for a PQQ or an ITT) ensuring continuous improvement is essential. Our structure ensures this:
- Bid Writer/ Tender Writer. Our highly experienced Writer would evaluate your response question by question examining structure, amount of detail, evidence, if it is tailored to the specific authority. They would then develop the responses to achieve the highest marks possible.
- Industry Specialist. This would then go to our specialist from within your sector who has often worked for sector leaders/ your competitors. Areas include Cleaning, Construction, Domiciliary Care, Grounds Maintenance, Healthcare, Highways and Infrastructure, IT, Print, Recruitment, Security, Telecomms and Waste Management. They have a real commercial understanding of what is expected and how to drive your proposal forward against the competition.
- Management Team. This 2nd draft is then evaluated and approved by our Management Team before it is returned to the client.
This process ensures:
- Several highly experienced people have been able to make comment on the response and improve it where appropriate. Some are from commercial backgrounds, others are ex public sector procurement professionals.
An in-house Bid Writing Team or an individual Tender Writer (whether directly employed or sole trader) could not provide this level of service and expertise.
We can simply use this process to improve your draft response or develop your PQQ, ITT and tender responses from scratch.
Contact us on 0845 862 0154 or complete the quick contact form and let us support you with your tendering.
posted: May 30th, 2012
As a professional tender writing and evaluating company we understand the importance of putting ourselves in the position of the buyer when repsonding to PQQs (pre qualification questionnaires) and ITTs (invitations to tender). Put yourselves in the buyer’s position and consider what their requirements are, and what benefits they are looking for. This will let you build your response to make the PQQ/ITT stand out from the competition, and increase your chances of success.
As a professional , one of the most common errors we see on PQQs and ITTs is the buyer’s question not being answered fully. Within the PQQ document, it is essential to understand what the buyer is asking, why they are asking it, and to try to work out what they are looking for. Once you have taken the time to do this, you can begin to construct a solid robust answer that will only further your chances of success.
For support with tendering, contact us on 0845 862 0154.
posted: May 29th, 2012
Often when completing a PQQ or ITT (tender) an authority, whether that be the Local Authority, Council, Housing Association, MOD, NHS etc. will ask you to attach some key policies and procedures. These can differ but largely include:
- Health and Safety Policy
- Equality and Diversity Strategy
- Environmental Policy (or management system)
- Quality Policy (or management system)
- Business Continuity Plan.
These are often pass/fail questions. So if you have them in place and they are appropriate and up to date you will pass that particular section of the tender (PQQ or ITT). We do find however that these sections can hold a weighting – so you are scored on the quality of your documentation. We provide different documentation, which is in line with best practice but one the main areas we have noticed some suppliers are regularly scored down on in this area is their system for document control and updates. For this reason please note when attaching strategies, policies and procedures for a PQQ or ITT your documentation should:
- Be dated and signed
- Clearly reference what version it is (e.g. version 3 – which shows you regularly update the policy)
- And why it has been updated – so what changes were made. E.g updated in line with Equality Act 2010.
Having this clearly stated at the start of your document will reflect well upon the organisation and can be a quick win in terms of maximising marks:
|Reason for raised issue
If you would like any help with policy development, please contact us.
posted: May 28th, 2012
Entitlement to Feedback
The New Remedies Directive (2009):
Another clarification of the existing rules lies in what must be said in the notice to be given to losing bidders when a decision to award is taken and the fact of this decision is communicated to losing bidders in order to start the standstill period running (i.e. before the contract is entered into). The new regulation 32(2) requires that in such communications it must be stated:
(i) what were the award criteria (and any sub-division thereof)
(ii) what were the reasons for the decision, including the characteristics and relative advantages of the winning bid and the scores obtained (if any) of the individual party receiving the notice and the winner of the contract or the party being awarded the framework;
This follows the principles of being, open, fair and transparent. You need to know you have been treated fairly in the process and in order to judge that you need a reasonable level of feedback.
posted: May 27th, 2012
The National Computing Centre website discusses the barriers that restrict SMEs in the IT industry from supplying the public sector.
“The first and most obvious barrier to SMEs bidding for public sector contracts relates to the 10% rule, which often excludes SMEs at the first hurdle – the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) stage. This rule is rarely addressed upfront in tender documentation and, as a result, many SMEs invest effort in bidding for business they will never win due to a simple financial check – namely, the total bid price exceeds 10% of their prior year’s turnover…”
“The other barriers that exclude SME suppliers from public sector bids are based around lack of knowledge…”
For the full article, click here.
posted: May 26th, 2012
Requirement Specific Questions
Purpose: These questions will be added by the Buyer and will be specific to the contract which you are bidding for.
Key questions for the Buyer:
This will depend completely on the questions being asked by the Buyer, but it is a chance for the Buyer to ask for some pertinent information from you which may be crucial to the good, works or services being delivered. Therefore they will be looking to see how highly you score against these questions in terms of meeting the requirements of the contract.
This is down to the Buyer to decide and will be stated within the question text. The questions will typically be given a weighted scoring, but the Buyer may set a minimum level which you must score out of the total to Pass.
Information typically requested:
This list is not exhaustive but gives you some examples of additional information which may be requested over and above the standard pre qualification questions:
- Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks for members of staff – particularly if the contract involves children or vulnerable adults.
- As a minimum standard for most care contracts, evidence of your organisation’s registration with the Care Quality Commission (for contracts relating to Adult’s services) or Ofsted (for contracts relating to Children’s services).
- Copies of your policies on Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults.
- Evidence of Partnership working.
- Evidence of any products/services your organisation offers which are covered by Eco-Labelling Schemes.
- Membership of Constructionline, or Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS)
- Food Safety Management policy (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP))
- Policies regarding Genetically Modified food, approach to allergies and special diets, food additives, flavourings and colourings, Organic and Fair-Trade products.
- Policy relating to Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).
- Further information on recruitment and selection, training and development and evidence of continued professional development.
- Identification of any potential conflicts of interest that may arise in the light of other current or previous projects.
posted: May 25th, 2012
Purpose: To identify your organisation’s current eProcurement capabilities to ensure that your organisation can meet with eProcurement requirements. eProcurement refers to electronic methods used to purchase goods, works and services in order to maximise the benefits to both the authority and suppliers through efficient processes and prompt payment.
Please Note: If an alternative approved system is utilised for a contract, for example for Social Care, and Construction related contracts, the Buyer will amend these standard questions as applicable with the appropriate requirements for that contract. Information on particular P2P processes for specific sectors such as Social Care can be requested from Purchase to Pay (P2P)
Key questions for the Buyer:
- Is the organisation able to accept email orders (which have been sent via IDeA:marketplace) to a single email account?
- Does the organisation have a web browser facility capable of accessing IDeA:marketplace?
- Can the organisation submit electronic invoices via IDeA:marketplace?
- Can the organisation accept purchase cards (PCards)?
Pass/Fail. If you cannot meet the minimum standards but your organisation is currently developing its IT capabilities which will enable your organisation to meet with the requirements from the date of commencement of the contract then explain this and detail what action you are taking. That way, your PQQ response will not necessarily be rejected as a fail to meet minimum standards because you can show you are working towards it.
Information typically requested:
- These are straight forward Yes/No questions about your current eProcurement capabilities.
- Ensure you have reliable access to the internet, and a web browser.
- Set up a single email account for your organisation if you do not have one. Please note that one single email account must be provided for the organisation. For example multiple email addresses for different depots within/ across an organisation are not accepted.
- Familiarise yourself with IDeA:marketplace, information on which can be found on our website and or within the draft eProcurement specification which accompanies the PQQ.
- Ensure that you read the questions fully and that you are aware of the eProcurement requirements of the contract.
- Take appropriate actions to meet these requirements before you respond to a PQQ.
posted: May 25th, 2012
A recent article published on www.publicservice.co.uk comments on the Federation of Small Business’s report on how SMEs may be struggling to win new public sector work:
“Small firms across the UK are still struggling to get work in the public sector, the Federation of Small Businesses has warned, despite claims from ministers that the playing field is being levelled and that the government is making it easier for SMEs to win contracts…
41 per cent of those bidding for government business failed to secure any business, the FSB added…”
For the full article, click here
posted: May 24th, 2012
An article on www.publicservice.co.uk reports:
“Much is already being done to help small businesses bidding for government contracts, but the Cabinet Office’s new push needs to bear fruit soon, write Graeme Young, partner, and Victoria Moorcroft, solicitor, in the EU and competition team of national law firm Dundas & Wilson
In February 2011 the Cabinet Office set government targets to award 25 per cent of government contracts to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A year after the initiative was announced, the Cabinet Office came under fierce criticism for failing to meet those targets. In a similar vein, a recent report concluded that small businesses were being shut out of procurement in Scotland…”
posted: May 24th, 2012
Great news for our care sector client! They have been successful with their application to CHAS (Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme). They wanted this as it is often asked for in tenders for public sector contracts and if you have it you then don’t need to complete the health and safety section, saving valuable staff time.
We assessed what they had in place, identified the gaps and worked with them to ensure that their application would be compliant.
If you would like advice on improving the efficiency of your tendering processes.