With tendering opportunities becoming increasingly competitive, holding relevant industry accreditations, certifications and memberships can be an excellent method to distinguish yourself from other competitors and maximise success; and may also be requested by procurement authorities.
Below we take a look at some of the common certifications, accreditations and memberships our bid writers and clients come across, alongside explanations of their benefits.
What certifications, accreditations and memberships are available?
Notable certifications, accreditations and memberships commonly requested as part of the public sector procurement pass/fail requirements include:
- ISO 9001 – the international standard for quality management systems. Based on a series of quality management principles, including customer focus and continual improvement, this will provide assurance that you are capable of delivering a high-quality service which strives to continually deliver improvements.
- ISO 14001 – the international standard for environmental management systems. Possession of this certification will demonstrate that your organisation is taking a proactive approach to minimising the impact your services have on climate change.
- ISO 45001 – the international standard for health and safety at work. Whilst not required by law, ISO 45001 will demonstrate that a structured framework of mechanisms is in place to ensure you provide a safe workplace and positive culture.
- Safety Schemes in Procurement, including Constructionline, Contractors’ Health & Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS) and SafeContractor, which will demonstrate that you align with PAS91 standards, and that the organisation meets industry/legislative requirements around health and safety, risk management, equal opportunities, diversity and environmental management practices.
- Cyber Essentials certification, a government backed scheme designed to demonstrate that an organisation has the required measures in place to protect your systems against a wide range of cyber-attacks.
Depending on the contract opportunity, the tendering organisation may also need to be a registered member of industry-specific bodies. Examples that we commonly encounter when supporting our clients include:
- Lift and Escalator Industry (LEIA): a common membership held by organisations undertaking services within the lift industry, e.g. installations, servicing and repairs. A LEIA membership will demonstrate to the authority that the tenderer’s organisation has stringent quality and health and safety management systems in place.
- National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC): a common membership for organisations working with electrical installations. Among various schemes members can apply for, being a NICEIC approved contractor will demonstrate that all electrical work undertaken complies with BS7671 building regulations.
- NFRC: the UK’s largest roofing trade association who audit all members for quality assurance and apply a strict code of practice which companies must adhere to. As part of the NFRC, roofing contractors receive various membership benefits, including the use of the NFRC logo, access to the NFRC Competent Person Scheme, and free advice and support.
- Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA): the UK’s leading association for asbestos removal contractors who help steer the industry and drive excellence. Additional membership benefits include access to high-quality training and qualification programmes, expert specialist advice, and guidance on applying regulations and legislative requirements.
For specific industries, tenderers will also be legally required to be members of certain bodies. For instance, providers of personal care in England would need to be registered with CQC, the Care Inspectorate in Scotland, or the Care Inspectorate Wales in Wales.
By holding various certifications, accreditations and memberships, tendering organisations can expect to realise various benefits, including:
- Maximising the number of opportunities you can tender for, by ensuring compliance with various minimum requirements.
- Enhancing your organisation’s competitiveness in tenders by instantly distinguishing you from bidders who do not hold similar certifications.
- Realising efficiencies in the tender process. For example, a Safety Schemes in Procurement accreditation such as SafeContractor can sometimes result in exemption from PAS 91 forms.
- Providing authorities assurance that you maintain robust quality, environmental and health and safety procedures, which will contribute to the successful delivery of services you tender for.
Certifications and memberships can also provide organisations access to expert and technical advice concerning your industry, meaning you can draw on support to overcome issues, as well as identify innovative pieces of equipment or working practices that can be implemented to deliver efficiencies, improve health and safety, and provide clients added value.
Tender writing support
With extensive experience writing tenders, our team can offer consultatory support during the initial tender planning and storyboarding process, ensuring our clients are aware of pertinent requirements and are informed of any certifications, memberships etc. they may wish to obtain to maximise their chance of success. Contact our team today for a free consultation.
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