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STAR Procurement Bid Writing for Frameworks

Chris turner

Written by Chris Turner


Jan 16, 2023

Bid Writing for STAR Procurement Frameworks & Tenders

STAR Procurement (Stockport, Trafford and Rochdale) is managed by a Joint Committee and now represents Rochdale, Stockport, Trafford and Tameside Councils, as well as NHS Tameside and Glossop, and NHS Trafford CCGs.

They manage £1.2bn per annum!! If you are based in Greater Manchester this is an organisation worth engaging with, understanding how they work, what’s important to them, and how they buy or procure their works, services and goods.

As a Greater Manchester-based professional bid writing business, we help a lot of our local clients get awarded onto frameworks and win tenders managed by STAR Procurement. We work on over 500 tenders and frameworks each across a wide range of public sector buyers, and we have to say, STAR Procurement opportunities are our favourite…

What does STAR Procurement buy?

As a commercial organisation spun out of the councils’ own procurement teams, they buy everything local councils buy but as they represent 4 – their volume is a lot higher than most.

As a brief overview, this includes:

  • Health and Social Care
  • IT Software and Services
  • Transport Services
  • Traffic Management
  • Security Guarding
  • Cleaning Services and Supplies
  • Grounds Maintenance Pl
  • Consultancy Services
  • Financial Services
  • HR & Training
  • Environmental Services
  • Construction
  • Repair & Maintenance
  • Utilities
  • PPE
  • Office Supplies
  • Young People’s Support Services
  • Wifi
  • WAN
  • Firewall & Web
  • Supply of Plants & Shrubs
  • Street Lighting
  • Health & Safety
  • Heat Source Pumps
  • Servicing of Lifts
  • Servicing of Fire Alarms
  • PAT Testing
  • Office Furniture
  • Fleet Management
  • Waste Shredding
  • Food Inspection Services
  • Telecoms
  • Print Management
  • Road Resurfacing
  • Civil Engineering

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How to work with STAR Procurement?

STAR Procurement use The Chest Portal, which you can register with here. You can find information on their council partners, such as contract registers, all purchases over £500 and there tender and framework opportunities.

They actively encourage you to engage with them so you can also register and share your details directly with them via their website. The STAR Procurement Supplier Company Information Form can be found here.

STAR Procurement will work with their council partners to either run individual tenders for them, set up frameworks which all can use, or source specific frameworks they can use from elsewhere but then STAR will then manage the mini competitions.

For the tenders they manage, they advertise initially using Prior Information Notices (PINs). This is a chance to understand the opportunity and engage prior to the tender notice. This is important because once the tender goes live they will not be able to speak with suppliers, other than via clarification questions through the portal.

We interviewed STAR Procurement and asked them what they would recommend a supplier do once they are awarded one of their frameworks. For full details see our STAR Procurement Framework Manager Case Study.

STAR Procurement Bid Writing Tips

Supporting the local, Greater Manchester, the community is very important to STAR Procurement. This Social Value is built into their procurement approach and there is expectation suppliers have a strong Social Value offering, which may include volunteering, hosting events, offering apprenticeships, and work placements, employing locally and using local suppliers and working towards net zero and other sustainability initiatives. For initial guidance, view our detailed and practical guide to Social Value here.

There are a number of activities that we will continue to perform to give local suppliers and SMEs the best possible opportunity to supply and provide services to our partners.

When writing a STAR Procurement bid it is important you fully understand the requirements and needs of the buyer. If have read the documents and still aren’t sure; then you need to post a clarification question via the CHEST Portal.

We would always recommend initially assessing the PASS/FAIL or compliance questions. E.g. financial standing. By following their guidance – do you create a PASS? If not, it is worth posting a question and highlighting your position and if this is acceptable. Typical PASS/FAIL bid questions include:

  • Financial standing
  • Technical ability
  • Industry accreditations
  • Health & Safety
  • Environment
  • References
  • Plus, more general requirements such as working within their policies, e.g. modern slavery.

If you can produce a PASS you know it is worth investing in the pricing and the all-important tender quality method statements, which require a bid writing focus. Within these award questions or weighted tender questions, it is very important to fully answer the question. They will tell you how they will evaluate it so it is important you refer to this guidance when reviewing your draft bid response. Are you answering all elements of the question, are you meeting their requirements from the specification? Are hitting the ‘top score’ guidance – e.g. fully answer the question, no reservations, fully evidenced and adding value.

Structure your answers so they quickly assure the STAR Procurement team that you are both compliant and offering added value or innovation. This doesn’t need to be overly complicated, we would recommend:

  • Breaking the response up using subheadings which reflect the sub-questions of the tender
  • When writing your response, try and focus on benefit, feature and evidence – and in this order. So, highlight the benefit to the council, then describe how it works, then evidence who else it has worked for or what it has produced
  • Reference the specific requirements from the specification or requirements to reassure those evaluating the bid that this is specific to them
  • Check your figures! A bid which refers to customer satisfaction of 99% in one response and then 85% in another will be a red flag. And this is the same for staff numbers and KPIs. Sense check
  • Get the bid reviewed by someone who has not been involved in its creation. This fresh pair of eyes can often highlight small errors but also challenge whether the question has been answered
  • Monitor clarification questions and answers. These can often change substantial elements of the tender such as word counts (which need to be followed), use of supporting documents and even the scope of the requirements.

Please see our bid writing top tips here, which will also help you secure your place on STAR Procurement frameworks and tenders by allowing you to improve your bid writing and increase those all-important quality scores.

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Bid Writing Support for STAR Procurement Frameworks and Tenders?

As a professional bid writing consultancy, based in Greater Manchester, we fully understand the requirements of STAR Procurement. We have had successes for our clients winning work across facilities management, healthcare, construction, professional services and IT. If you are looking to ensure your quality response is going to score as high as possible and ensure your STAR Procurement bid is compliant, Thornton & Lowe can help. If you have a draft bid response for a live tender but want an expert bid consultancy to review the tender to add value, challenge or even take your first draft and return a final draft ready for submission, contact us now.

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"We engaged with Thornton & Lowe whilst looking for a company that could provide us with expertise and support in managing and the writing of bids and Tenders. We have found working with the team at Thornton & Lowe to be 1st Class - they are organised, have great attention to detail, and have created some superb-looking packs for us. I would highly recommend Thornton & Lowe to any company looking for support and guidance in bid writing." TieTa UK

To view feedback from our existing clients, click here.

We have produced several case studies demonstrating what we have achieved for clients bidding into the public sector, which can be found here.

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