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Article Details

Published Date: 29-11-2023
Author: Ciaran Brass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
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With only a few weeks left before Christmas, it is crucial to ensure you have sufficient resources in place for any bid and tender submissions falling during the holiday period. With many staff members taking annual leave, many bidder organisations struggle to meet tender deadlines at this time of year.

The tender process does not usually adhere to seasonal peaks and troughs, even during the Christmas holidays. Authorities and buyers will want to award contracts and begin the mobilisation period in the new year, ensuring a smooth transition into service delivery.

Increased levels of sick leave during the cold and flu season pose further issues when bidding for contracts with inflexible submission deadlines. Without careful forward planning, you may end up understaffed and without the necessary resources to complete and submit your ‘business-critical’ tender.

For successful tender submissions during the holiday period, it is essential to plan ahead and determine your approach to resourcing submissions, and whether external support is necessary.

Planning ahead for bid submissions

The majority of public sector tender opportunities have a five- to six-week window from the contract notice going live to the submission deadline. Occasionally, this can be as short as two or three weeks – for example, a mini-competition to join a call-off contract.

This underscores the importance of monitoring and managing your in-house capacity, particularly during the holiday period, to determine whether you can complete the submission in accordance with timescales or if you require external support. A lookahead schedule, project pipeline or indicative planner which assigns resources to the tender is a crucial element of your forward planning, and can support your ‘bid/no-bid’ decision.

Adequate forward planning will also impact the overall quality of your tender. A common mistake from newer or less experienced clients is a mad rush to submit at the last minute. Hurried submissions will naturally mean less time is spent on the quality element of the submission, leading to reduced marks from the contracting authority’s evaluating team. Although a ‘copy-and-paste’ approach may save time in the short term, it is unlikely to lead to a contract award – particularly when your competitors have been planning for the opportunity several weeks or months in advance.

Preparing to meet tender deadlines

To ensure advance preparation for upcoming tender deadlines during the holiday period, we recommend implementing the following processes:

  • Monitor contract notices daily or set up alerts on the government’s Find a Tender and Contracts Finder websites and procurement portals such as NEPO or Pagabo, ensuring nothing is missed and allowing adequate time to prepare your tender submission.
  • Keep track of contracts coming towards their end date – knowing approximately when a contract notice will be released allows you to provisionally schedule tenders in advance and, if necessary, arrange for external support.
  • Organise a bid library of all submissions and feedback – ensure that your bid team or external writing support have access to your bid library and resources to support a high-quality submission.
  • Arrange for contingency or supplementary support if required – an existing relationship with a professional bid writing service ensures help can be arranged and tailored to the requirements of your organisation and the tender opportunity.

Our bid and tender support services

In cases where you find the need for external support, it is important to choose the right company and service. At Executive Compass, our 14 years’ experience and team of over 20 full-time, directly employed bid writers makes us ideally suited to provide high-quality support with bid and tender submissions during the holiday period. In addition to wider bid management support and advice, the scope of our support includes the following:

  • Full bid and tender writing service: You can outsource the full completion of the quality element of your tender submission to one of our professional, highly experienced bid and tender writers. Simply provide us with the necessary information during our client interview and we will prepare a bespoke tender submission tailored to your organisation’s processes, procedures and unique selling points.
  • SQ, PQQ and tender review services: For clients who are suitably experienced with the tender process or have their own in-house bid team, a full review service provides you with feedback suggestions and enhancements to your tender prior to submission. An objective, third-party review by a professional bid writing company can be especially beneficial for a ‘business-critical’ or must-win submission, ensuring the strongest possible response.
  • Partial tender writing service: If you have enough staff to write most of the bid but still need assistance with certain aspects – for example, social value – a partial writing support is ideal and can also include a full review. Our team of bid writers are highly skilled at adopting the style and tone of a range of documents, ensuring your final submission is a coherent, cohesive and professional document.
  • Interim bid and tender writing: Should you require support with multiple tender submissions or a particularly large tender involving multiple bid writers or coordinators, a fixed amount of interim support may be the best option. One of our highly trained and experienced bid writers will integrate with your bid writing team to provide end-to-end support from answer planning sessions, drafting quality responses and preparing for the final tender submission.

For larger tender submissions or those requiring certain subject matter expertise, we can tailor and combine different elements of support – for instance, a partial review and partial writing service – to create a truly bespoke bid and tender service.

If you would like to discuss more on how we can support you with bid and tender writing cover over the holiday period and beyond, contact our team today via email or alternatively on telephone 0800 612 5563.


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