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Article Details

Published Date: 10-01-2024
Author: Ciaran Brass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
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Tendering for contracts can be complex and confusing for first-time or infrequent bidders. We take a look at some common queries we receive from clients to provide clarity around tendering, navigating tender documents and how to produce a high-quality and competitive tender submission.

Our team of expert bid and tender writers aim to make tendering for contracts as smooth and easy as possible, from interpreting tender documents down to navigating e-portal submissions. We provide summaries of complex topics in clear, simple language, with our scope of works outlined at the beginning of the project and exclusions or responsibilities of the client also explained thoroughly.

What type of contracts are available for tender?

Bid and tender exercises exist across all sectors and industries, due to the amount of time, effort and information included in a submission. A tender exercise allows the buyer to gather a great deal of information about potential suppliers prior to engaging them in works or services, thereby minimising the level of risk involved.

Executive Compass exists to support companies bidding for contracts by completing the tender document on their behalf, allowing clients to benefit from expert support and experience based on over 7,000 PQQ, SQ and ITT submissions.

Examples of some of the most frequent industries in which we work includes (but is not limited to):

Due to the existing rules and regulations for public procurement such as the Public Contract Regulations 2015, the majority of our bid and tender support is for clients bidding into public sector contracts. However, we also have experience in completing private sector submissions, making us ideally suited to support regardless of the industry, sector or type of buyer.

Are there any minimum criteria or eligibility in order to bid?

To facilitate an open, fair and transparent procurement process, central and local government bodies are obligated to ensure that qualification criteria for public sector tenders is not unnecessarily high or unachievable.

This is particularly relevant for small- and medium-sized businesses. One of the main objectives of The Procurement Act 2023 was ‘opening up public procurement to new entrants such as small businesses and social enterprises so they can compete for and win more public contracts’.

Consequently, some examples of minimum criteria or eligibility may include:

  • Registration with an industry-specific body, such as the Care Quality Commission, Security Industry Authority or British Institute of Cleaning Science
  • Your last two years of audited accounts or alternative evidence (such as a note from your bank or commercial forecast) demonstrating you are financially healthy
  • Contract examples of a similar size and scope to the tendered works or service, evidencing your technical and professional ability against the requirements of the specification
  • ISO-certified quality/environmental/health and safety management systems or the ability to demonstrate equivalent processes and procedures.

Additionally, you may be required to upload your organisation’s formal policies as part of a pass/fail criteria. Although the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 have reduced the administrative burden on bidders and introduced self-certification in most instances, double-check whether copies are required – failure to do so may result in disqualification.

What documents are required for a tender submission?

There are no hard and fast rules regarding what should be included within a tender pack. Contracting authorities are at liberty to include as many or as few as they deem necessary – as a rule of thumb, however, key documents will comprise the following:

  • Invitation to tender (ITT) document, explaining the reason for the tender exercise, timetable for procurement and important top-level information for the submission, such as if TUPE processes will apply
  • Contract specification outlining the required quality standards, time and frequency of works/visits, any specified parts/materials, and applicable KPIs over the contract term
  • A pricing schedule requiring you to submit a list of prices to which you will be held over the contract term
  • Standard selection questionnaire requesting standard company information, data responses, and normally several narrative responses around technical and professional ability and processes for data protection and health and safety
  • Quality question set containing forward-facing questions on how you will deliver the contract to a high standard – for example, information on resourcing, quality in delivery, business continuity planning and any value for money you can offer.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and it is highly likely more documents and appendices will be included within the tender pack. For example, if a housing association uses a particular contractor portal, there may be a document included giving a breakdown of each asset by address and postcode, allowing bidders to reference this in their response.

The deadline is quite soon – how do I know it will be ready to submit?

New clients are often surprised at how short the tender submission window is, with a typical timescale of four to six weeks from the opportunity being advertised on Find a Tender or Contracts Finder. However, our bid and tender writers and bid managers are highly familiar and experienced in working to these sorts of deadlines, and will ensure adequate time is given to the quality question set while still ensuring sufficient time for you to review our work and suggest changes or amendments to material.

Should the tender be unusually large or complex, we may assign more than one writer to your project, supporting a compliant and timely submission in advance of the deadline. This will also allow us to apply our normal quality assurance processes to the quality responses we complete on your behalf, ensuring the strongest possible submission.

Executive Compass bid and tender support services

Executive Compass offers a broad range of bid and tender support services, designed for the requirements of the tender and your own organisation’s needs. This includes the following:

  • Bid and tender writing services, where our team of bid writers take the document off your hands and produce bespoke, high-quality responses based on input from your subject matter experts
  • Bid review services, where our quality managers and reviewers will conduct a line-by-line review of quality responses and suggest improvements or enhancements to content
  • Bid writing training services tailored to your organisation’s needs, based on your level of experience and tendering strengths and weaknesses.

Depending on your requirements, the above services can also be combined or adjusted (for example, a part-review, part-writing service) creating a truly bespoke service. If you would like to learn more about how we can support you, our sales and marketing team are contactable at 0800 612 5563 or via email

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