So you’ve found the perfect public sector contract and you know that you’re company is able to deliver exactly what the purchaser is looking for, where do you go from there? Well the next step is to start the application process, but there are a number of different routes that a public sector tender application can take. Your first task therefore is to read the tender description carefully as it should always detail the exact requirements of the tender process and the deadlines that you will be expected to meet in completing your tender bid.
One of the common routes that you may have to take is to complete a PQQ which is a Pre Qualification Questionnaire. A standard PQQ will provide some in depth information about the contract and about the requirements of the PQQ, although this may feel like repeating information that you have already read (hence deciding to complete the PQQ) you may just pick up some important detail that could help your submission, so take your time and read it thoroughly. Once you’ve read all of the background information you will then be required to provide some basic general information about your company, its legal status and details of any potential conflicts of interest. The next section will ordinarily concern financial matters including banking arrangements and insurance details, and you will then be required to provide details of contractual matters. This means declaring if you have had any contracts terminated or if you have any legal proceedings in place or pending. And finally, you will be required to provide details of your technical and or professional ability to complete the work specified in the tender notice.
Another route which some organisations prefer to use is to complete a smaller version of the PQQ, which may just ask you to answer yes or no type answers to a list of questions within each of the main headings found in a full PQQ. For example;
– Does your organisation have an environmental policy?
– What is the largest size of contract that you have previously fulfilled?
– How many employees are there in your organisation?
From the completion of this smaller questionnaire public sector buyers are able to create a shortlist of suppliers that they consider eligible and suitable to complete the tender contract. If you reach this shortlist you may then be asked to complete a full PQQ, or alternatively a full tender proposal, which would also be the next step for suppliers shortlisted from a completed PQQ.
A full tender proposal requires you to write in detail about exactly how you can complete the contract in terms of resource, employee and technical capacity. You should also aim to provide a full project plan which specifies timelines, costs, named leads within your organisation and the processes in place to ensure risk avoidance and monitoring. Finally, your proposal should also provide examples of successes your company has already achieved, particularly if they are within the same field as the work you are writing your tender bid for.
Whichever route your tender journey takes, if you provide detailed information that meets or even exceeds the buyers expectations you will be in with a very good chance of winning that tender; and it doesn’t always come down to the best price.