As mobilisation questions and corresponding mobilisation plans are one of the most commonly encountered quality topics within a bid or tender opportunity, it can be tempting to submit a generic response for every submission. Although it can be beneficial to refer to a tried and tested mobilisation model or toolkit to structure your response, it is crucial to tailor the response to the opportunity, scope of works and your organisation’s relationship and position with the purchasing authority to receive maximum points from the buyer’s evaluators.
Broadly speaking, mobilisation refers to sequential and time-bound activities which must be completed (usually in collaboration with the purchasing authority’s representatives) prior to the contract start date. This can include holding contract-specific inductions for relevant staff, ensuring requisite training has been completed, integrating job management systems to facilitate client access and establishing social value commitments with authority representatives via pre-start meetings.
However, a variety of factors will shape how a response is planned, written and ultimately scored. Rather than outline what a mobilisation question should include, we will instead focus on integrating persuasive content to align with the wording of the mobilisation question, thereby adding specificity and detail to a standard response.
Carefully scrutinise the wording of the question for clues on the mobilisation timeframe
Although mobilisation is typically defined as the period from contract award to the commencement of service delivery, purchasing authorities may extend the scope of mobilisation into the contract term. In these instances, mobilisation is conflated with implementation of the service – this occurs particularly when the provided service is complex, such as delivering works to thousands of properties or assets, or if there are extenuating circumstances, such as a sequential programme of works.
If the question set mentions implementation within mobilisation, it is beneficial to emphasise that an identical management team will be retained from the mobilisation period, thereby facilitating a seamless transition into the first few weeks or months of commencement.
Even with a tight word limit, it is strongly advised to include specific dates for activities which align with the purchasing authority’s definition of mobilisation. For example, if service delivery is scheduled to commence six weeks from the contract award date, all activities should be labelled with a specific date or week to ensure maximum clarity. Failing to align responses with the timescales referenced by the buyer could risk only partially answering the question or submitting a generic response, and therefore receiving fewer marks from the bid evaluators.
Similarly, examine the wording of the question to determine if it reveals the buyer’s priorities
The question set can also provide clues as to which elements of mobilisation have been prioritised or are preferred by the purchasing authority. This can be indicative of previous issues in service delivery or feedback from the previous providers regarding particular challenges, such as servicing a large geographic area. Regardless, careful and diligent attention must be observed for any potential clues, which may include references to TUPE arrangements, ensuring staff have the required training and certifications or the location of your operational base.
Once these clues have been identified, it is beneficial for them to be featured substantially as part of the mobilisation response. For example:
- TUPE: emphasise your experience in successfully integrating TUPE-qualifying employees. If you do not have previous experience with TUPE, demonstrate your understanding of the process, who will hold ultimate responsibility for its execution, and consider indicating when and how you have worked with other contractors or subcontracting partners on similar contracts.
- Training and certification: discuss not only the training and certification held by management, but also day-to-day operatives, including any identically trained staff not assigned to the contract who may temporarily deliver works during periods of high demand.
- Operational base: Demonstrate your strong local presence by featuring the exact location of offices or depots in addition to a resource-mapping exercise, which effectively explains how a local presence will allow you to attend any sites or assets in the authority’s area within a certain time.
Similar to the first section, carefully scrutinising the wording of a question and any bulleted points will aid in providing clues to the authority’s preferences, translating to higher marks on mobilisation questions from evaluators.
If you are the incumbent provider, leverage your existing advantages
Even if your organisation is the incumbent provider for the contract in its current form, you will still be required to outline your methodology for mobilisation, particularly if there are changes to the specification, scope of works, or geographic area. However, there are distinct advantages to your position as the incumbent which can be referenced, thereby enhancing the overall persuasiveness of the response and assuaging any concerns from evaluators. This can include:
- Emphasising the training and experience of the current contract-specific staff, demonstrating the requisite competence and that only refresher training will be necessary during the mobilisation period
- Outlining risks and mitigations inherent to the contracted service, and how your organisation has previously deployed mitigation measures in the past to reduce the risk of non-compliance
- Identifying long-term targets of the purchasing authority, such as digitisation or streamlining working practices, to show how you will integrate and align their goals with your own organisational approach
- Evidencing previous compliance with KPIs such as customer satisfaction, first-time-fix rate or response times to demonstrate familiarity with the authority’s working processes, assets or service users.
As the incumbent, your organisation will be well positioned to demonstrate how the mobilisation period will be seamless, low-risk and on time ahead of the contract start date, due to previous experience.
Investigate whether the contract will provide a new or significantly altered service
On the contrary, the authority may have decided to release the tender as an entirely new or significantly revised service as a response to a new stream of funding or feedback from residents, service users or other stakeholders.
This will afford the opportunity to demonstrate your industry-specific experience and expertise and persuade evaluators why they should trust you to implement this new service. Consequently, consider emphasising the following aspects:
- Experience with similar contracts or frameworks where you have helped to usher in a new service or offering as a supplier during previous agreements
- Conducting meetings during mobilisation which includes residents, service users or other subcontractors, building trust between stakeholders and facilitating a smooth entry into the project workstream
- Innovative working practices which will enhance the proposed service and bring benefits to the authority and its residents or service users, such as offering consultative advice free of charge during the mobilisation period.
By evidencing how your previous experience will provide the authority with stability and minimal risk, the mobilisation period is more likely to proceed smoothly into the commencement of service delivery.
With over 7,000 bid and tender submissions, the vast majority of which include a response or method statement on mobilisation, Executive Compass are well placed to support with a variety of bid and tender services. To find out more, contact a member of our sales and marketing team today at 0800 612 5563 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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