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Article Details

Published Date: 12-06-2024
Author: Ciaran Brass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
Connect with Ciaran Brass

Bidding for public sector contracts is a crucial part of expanding your business and growing your revenue. However, without a sound bidding strategy you may struggle to produce competitive and successful tenders.

A strong and well-developed bidding strategy mitigates a disorganised, scattershot approach when tendering for public sector contracts while also maximising your chances of a successful bid and a contract award.

Due diligence on tender opportunities

Completing initial checks and due diligence on specific bidding opportunities is central to a strong and informed bidding strategy. Central and local government authorities publish government contracts and government tenders on two websites – Contracts Finder, for contracts of a slightly lower value, and Find a Tender, for larger or more lucrative contracts.

In the invitation to tender (ITT) document for each tender, you will find the following details:

  • Minimum qualification criteria such as insurance levels, industry-specific accreditation and number of years spent trading
  • The number of successful suppliers who will be awarded the contract or a place on the framework agreement and the overall value of the contract
  • A submission ‘checklist’ of documents to be returned, and any pre- or post-bid activities such as site visits or supplier presentations
  • Final deadlines for receipt of clarification questions and the tender submission, with the time of day often varying from bid to bid.

By making note of the above, you will be able to make an informed decision on whether or not to bid.

Make an informed ‘bid/no-bid’ decision

. As part of your bid/no-bid decision, read all documents in the tender pack in full and consider if your organisation can meet the following:

  • Demonstrating sufficient experience in current or previous contracts of a similar size and scope of requirements, effectively evidencing your competency and capability
  • Delivery of all workstreams or aspects of the contract across the contracting authority’s different assets or geographic areas
  • Whether you can fulfil the requirements of the specification and contract-specific KPIs, particularly for time-bound KPIs
  • Staffing and resources such as plant, materials and equipment will be in place to deliver from the first day of the contract, or can be procured via your supply chain in advance of the ‘go-live’ date.

After making the decision to submit a bid, it is crucial to move quickly – most tenders only have a four- to six-week window from release of a contract notice to the submission deadline. Consequently, it is also crucial to be proactive in implementing an established bid pipeline, particularly for important contracts or framework agreements.

Align tender responses with the buyer’s priorities

Many infrequent bidders believe all tenders are the same, and once you have completed one submission this material can be copied and pasted for all relevant tender responses. While there can be efficiencies from previous bid material on file – particularly contract examples or case studies – each tender is different, and each buyer will have different priority areas for an individual contract. Giving due attention to these priority areas is crucial to creating a winning bidding strategy.

As an example, most quality elements of a bid will include a response around customer care procedures. However, the priority areas or emphasis may change, and high-scoring responses will ensure all aspects of the question have been comprehensively addressed. Examples:

  • Communication during each stage of works/services, ensuring customers and residents are aware of works being carried out and the scope involved
  • Details of complaints resolution procedures and escalation to provide a satisfactory outcome for customers and the contracting authority
  • Added value or innovation for customers to ensure they are receiving the best possible value for money
  • Measures for dealing with vulnerable customers, such as those with a disability, the elderly or individuals who speak English as a second language.

Equally, whilst some social value responses will have similar content, each authority usually have their own preferred initiatives and commitments. To gain maximum marks from the evaluator, it is critical your bidding strategy aligns with these individual initiatives.

Implement strong quality assurance processes

Each tender exercise is a competition, and each bid must leverage your organisation’s experience, competency and capability to deliver the works or services to produce the strongest possible submission.  An internal bid manager or senior member of the team should review each element of your submission, verifying the following:

  • All bid responses comprehensively address the question, are readable and well-formatted, making it easy for the evaluator to award marks to each response
  • Impactful persuasive evidence supports quality responses – for instance, statistics on KPI performance, screenshots of your job management system or photographic evidence from a previous project or contract
  • All tender return documents, including SQs and PQQs, form of tender and pricing schedules have been filled accurately and in full
  • Tender-specific supporting evidence and appendices, such as diagrams or flow charts, CVs of key personnel and Gantt charts satisfy the evaluation criteria.

Quality assurance is crucial to a strong bidding strategy and a winning submission. Even the most talented bid writer will benefit from an additional pair of eyes to dissect difficult questions and produce persuasive, evidence-based bid responses. Our bid review service allows clients with an internal bid team to gain feedback on initial drafts of responses, with suggestions for enhancements and improvements ensuring a high-quality, competitive submission.

Support development of your bidding strategy

As part of our bid training courses, we train delegates on how to develop and refine their bidding strategy. This is inclusive of all aspects of the tender process, from sourcing opportunities, making an informed ‘bid/no-bid’ decision and implementing robust bid management processes.

If you would like to learn more about the bid training services we provide, our sales and marketing team are available for a call and a free, no-obligation quotation at or 0800 612 5563.

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