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Tender Questions and Answers

Chris

Written by Chris Turner

|

May 10, 2024

"If I only had a list of all the tender questions and answers for my bids..." In this article we will assess how to properly answer the common tender questions and win your next contract.

When it comes to tendering, you need to become an expert at answering questions, being concise, ensure you cover key points and still sell the benefits of your business!

By understanding tender questions and answers you can plan for your next bid and improve your bid library.

If you need more support answering your tender questions, you may benefit from our:

  • Bid Templates, which are written draft responses to act as a starting point for your tender answers. Written by our professional team of bid writers and covering 4 key sectors, health and social care, facilities management, professional services and construction
  • Bid writing courses; and
  • Bid writing support. You can get a fixed fee bid writing quote now, by emailing over your documents - hello@thorntonandlowe.com. If you would prefer to discuss your requirement first, please call on 01204 238046.

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Health & safety tender questions and answers

Health and Safety

Purpose:

A statutory requirement for all organisations employing five or more persons.

Is your organisation a safe one to do business with?

Typical Scoring/Assessment:

Typically Pass/Fail as this is a legislative requirement. Responses will be rejected if they cannot meet this requirement (unless you have less than five employees in which case you are not required by law to have a documented policy). Certain questions may be given a weighted scoring, for example the RIDDOR statistics will often be compared to the national average for an organisation of a similar size and industry, and your performance may be ranked on that basis.

Tender questions and answers - information typically requested:

  • Health and Safety (H&S) Policy
  • Details of your organisations health and safety advisor/consultant
  • Details of any enforcement notices or prosecutions served on the organisation or any of its directors/managers by the HSE or Local Authority in the last 3 years.
  • Example supplementary questions you may also be asked:
  • Details of the individuals with overall executive responsibility for H&S
  • Details of the person responsible for carrying out risk assessments.
  • RIDDOR statistics (number of fatalities, major injuries, reported cases of disease in the last three years).

HANDY TIPS:

  • Write a health and safety policy for your business which is signed and dated by the individual with overall executive responsibility for H&S for your organisation.
  • Carry out and record findings of appropriate risk assessments.
  • Record all RIDDOR incidents and details, including corrective actions taken.
  • Make sure all employees understand the policy and have a copy.
  • Review the policy annually and whenever there are changes in your business such as premises move or new equipment.

Health and safety is both a key ITT or tender question as well as being a requirement when completing a PQQ.

WHERE TO FIND SUPPORT:

www.hse.gov.uk

Winning public sector contracts

Risk management tender questions and answers

Risk Management

Purpose:

The purpose of this section is to establish whether the organisation is aware of the risks to its objectives, and to find out how resilient the organisation is to withstand unexpected disruptions to its operations. They also want to know what security systems you have in place to protect information.

Key tender questions:

  • Has the organisation identified all the key risks associated with its business?
  • Have they taken the necessary actions to ensure the organisation can provide the services being contracted? Does the organisation know how it will respond to disruptions and is it well prepared?
  • Has the organisation recognised security risks to information and implemented a system to mitigate against these?

Typical Scoring/Assessment:

Either Pass/Fail or scored based on the organisation’s progress towards achieving a recognised Risk Management approach, business continuity plan or information governance policy.

Tender questions and answers - information typically requested:

  • A copy of your Risk Management approach/policy
  • A copy of your Business Continuity Plan
  • Example supplementary questions you may also be asked:
  • Business Continuity Exercise reports for the last and next 12 months
  • A copy of your Information Security Policy.

Handy Tips:

  • Write a policy for each of these areas and keep them in your PQQ file.
  • Create action plans which show how these policies will be or are implemented within your organisation.
  • Make sure all employees understand your policies and have access to copies.
  • Monitor your efforts and review your policies annually and whenever there are changes in your business.
Carbon reduction graphic

Environmental management tender questions and answers

Environmental Management

Purpose:

Sustainability is now a key issue in many of our contracts, and Buyers are keen for our potential suppliers to have a commitment to sustainable environmental practices. A written policy is only required to be 1-2 pages and should always reflect your business processes.

Key tender question:

  • Can this organisation help us reduce the impact of our operations on the environment?
  • Can you supply your carbon reduction plan?
  • What are main environmental impacts of delivering this contract and how will you mitigate them?

Typical Scoring/Assessment:

Either Pass/Fail or scored based on the organisation’s progress towards achieving external accreditation. Therefore your response may not be rejected for having not implementing these, but you may score zero in comparison to an organisation who is either developing them currently, or already has these systems and processes set up and fully operational.

Tender questions and answers - information typically requested:

  • A copy of an environmental management policy. (Meaning processes and procedures to ensure that the environmental impacts of the organisation are properly managed, including meeting legal requirements).
  • Carbon footprint and carbon reduction plan
  • Details of any accredited environmental management system.
  • Example supplementary questions you may also be asked:
  • Details of any prosecutions or breaches of environmental law in the last three years.
  • Details of any notices served upon your organisation by any environmental regulator in the last three years.
  • Details of any remedial actions you have taken.

HANDY TIPS:

  • Write an environmental policy.
  • Complete a carbon reduction plan.
  • Consider ISO4001.
  • Create an action plan which shows how the policy will be implemented within the business.
  • Make sure all employees understand the policy and have a copy.
  • Monitor your efforts and review your policy annually.
  • Promote your green credentials.

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Quality assurance tender questions and answers

Quality Assurance

Purpose:

To reassure the buyer that your organisation has the management systems and processes in place to consistently deliver the goods/services asked for in the contract.

Key tender questions:

  • Can I depend on you to provide the same levels of service consistently?
  • Will you satisfy customers?
  • Are your staff motivated enough to provide a good service?
  • Detail your quality processes and procedures?
  • Detail your approach with an example of continuous improvement.

Typical Scoring/Assessment:

Either Pass/Fail or scored based on the organisation’s progress towards achieving a Quality Assurance policy. Therefore you may not be rejected for having not implementing it, but you may score zero in comparison to an organisation who is either developing it currently, or already has these systems and processes set up and fully operational.

Tender questions and answers - information typically requested:

  • Details of any quality assurance accreditation or processes/procedures you implement, including a statement on how your organisation manages quality of the goods and services it produces.
  • For Social Care contracts in particular, the Buyer may replace the quality assurance questions with appropriate alternatives, for example CQC or Ofsted requirements.

HANDY TIPS:

Write a quality policy for your business. The policy should be relevant to the nature and scale of the work to be undertaken and set out responsibilities for quality management throughout the organisation.

List the systems and procedures that you have in place in your business which are key to your customer delivery.

Describe all your operating processes and the checks and balances in place at each stage to ensure quality. (Draw a diagram or flow chart, or use post it notes to help you)

Use a feedback loop to ensure continuous improvements.

Equality and diversity tender questions and answers

Equality and diversity

Purpose:

The Equality Act 2010 aims to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and allows public sector organisations to foster good relations when exercising their functions. The Act establishes a new Single Equality Duty on public authorities. This consolidates the three existing public duties on race, disability and gender. Additionally, it covers age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment.

Key tender questions:

  • Is the supplier compliant with its statutory obligations under the Equality Act 2010?
  • Is the supplier committed to non-discrimination and the advancement of equal opportunity in your business processes, (not only in recruitment, but also selection and promotion and in the process of supplying your goods/services or works)?
  • Does the supplier foster good relations when running their business and providing services?

Typical Scoring/Assessment:

The Additional Core questions for the PQQ are government approved and are all Pass/Fail, so if the supplier cannot answer ‘Yes’ to them or supply comprehensive evidence where required their response may be rejected.

In order to PASS the supplier’s Equal Opportunities Policy must meet the minimum standards below which correspond with the size of their organisation:

  • Number of Employees
  • Minimum Standards expected

Less than 5 employees

If the supplier has less than 5 employees they are not obliged to have an Equal Opportunities Policy. Should the supplier be awarded the contract, a declaration that the supplier will endeavour to reach our minimum standards below is required, should the number of staff they employ increase during the life of the contract.

5 - 49 employees

i). An Equal opportunities policy must be attached which will be assessed in respect of race, gender and disability, and additionally, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment The policy must take into account service delivery and employment and must cover at least:

  • Recruitment, selection, training, promotion, discipline and dismissal.
  • Discrimination, harassment, and victimisation, making it clear that these are disciplinary offences within the firm.
  • Identification of the senior position with responsibility for policy and its effective implementation.

How you communicate the policy to your employees and customers?

ii). Effective implementation of policy in firm’s customer service and recruitment practices, to include open recruitment methods such as the use of job centres, careers service or press adverts.

iii). Regular reviews of policy.

iv). Regular monitoring of numbers of job applicants from different gender, disability and ethnic groups and systems in place to monitor , age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment.

Tender questions and answers - information typically requested:

  • Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy
  • Details of any unlawful discrimination or breach of equality law, or any formal investigations carried out on your organisation in the last three years.
  • Copies of recruitment, training and promotion instructions, documents available to employees and trade union, and recruitment advertisements or other literature, which demonstrate how your policy is communicated to staff and recruits.
  • Example supplementary questions you may also be asked:
  • Monitoring data on recruitment, training, promotions and customer satisfaction.
  • Do you have any evidence of how your policy on equal opportunities has affected the employment of people with a disability?
  • Would you be willing to assist an authority in increasing employment opportunities for people with a learning disability, and if so how?

HANDY TIPS:

  • Write an Equal Opportunities and Diversity policy statement which meets all the criteria above and includes all current legislation below, and integrate it within your business.
  • Create an action plan which shows how the policy will be implemented within the business.
  • Make sure all employees understand the policy and have a copy.
  • Collect evidence to show how your policy works in practice, for example, recruitment adverts, employee handbook, application forms.

WHERE TO FIND SUPPORT:

www.equalityhumanrights.com

APPLICABLE LEGISLATION:

Equality Act 2010

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Professional capacity tender questions and answers

Professional Capacity

Purpose:

To enable the Buyer to understand the organisational structure, key personnel/managers assigned to the project, their qualifications and seniority. It is also an opportunity to see what other resources you intend to draw on, including any intent to sub-contract, or employ apprentices in order to help deliver the contract.

Key tender questions:

  • Are the staff qualified and competent?
  • Does the account manager have staff senior enough to make quick decisions?
  • Can this organisation offer any added value for the Council through employing local apprentices or implementing work placement initiatives?

Typical Scoring/Assessment:

The Buyer will develop a suitable scoring mechanism depending on the information they are requesting. They may give a score to each question which assesses the extent to which the level of seniority, qualifications and experience of the staff is relevant to the nature of the work we are tendering for.

Apprenticeships

Due to the current push to increase the number of apprentices Buyers will be looking to score more highly those suppliers offering work placements, because it offers added value to the authority and benefits the community.

Volunteers

Volunteering is an important expression of citizenship and a powerful force for change. Volunteers can make a unique contribution to society and must be valued, supported and well managed during delivery of services.

Local Business

It is important to contracting authorities that suppliers show an awareness of how they can support the local economy through the contract, for example recruiting local labour and sub contracting to local SME’s.

Employment of People with a Disability

Authorities are committed to improving quality of life, reducing the demand upon public services and supporting the local economy by increasing employment opportunities for people with a disability. People with learning disabilities in particular are under-represented in the workforce. If the contract you are tendering for is within an industry which is likely to support roles which provide an entry to the job market, this should be considered as you develop your PQQ response.

Tender questions and answers - information typically requested:

  • Outline of the organisation’s management structure
  • Details of staff responsibilities/job titles/relevant qualifications and experience/length of service
  • CVs
  • Details of any apprenticeship schemes, work placement opportunities, volunteer placements, local recruitment initiatives, and local subcontracting being proposed.

HANDY TIPS:

Make sure staff assigned and staff CVs provided are relevant to the contract. Use your formal job descriptions as a guide to entering staff responsibilities.

WHERE TO FIND SUPPORT:

www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Social Impact

Social value tender questions and answers

For social value we have written several specific articles on this such as “The Importance of Social Value in Tendering” and Social Value in G-Cloud, which is a specific CCS framework.

Our Bid Templates across 4 key sectors, all include a bespoke social value answer.

Answering tender questions: writing a winning business proposal

These tender questions and answers are all key requirements when writing a business proposal, ensuring you don’t fall into common bid and tender writing mistakes.

While these tender questions and answers cover many buyer’s requirements, they are especially focused on answering public sector tenders.

For further advice on bid writing and preparing tender questions and answers, see our Bid Writing Ultimate Guide.

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