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Article Details

Published Date: 17-02-2015
Author: Executive Compass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
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You have found a contract your company would like to win, expressed an interest and downloaded the PQQ and associated documentation. You know the deadline for submission, and where it needs to be submitted. You have marked the submission date and time in your diary to make sure you do not miss them. So far, so good.


We recommend you approach the project in a structured way. Firstly, you should begin by reviewing all selection criteria to ensure that you have the professional and technical capability required by the contracting authority, essentially carrying out a bid/no bid decision. Typically a PQQ is separated into sections, such as: company information, technical and professional capability, financial information, health and safety, equality and diversity, sustainability and quality management.

Quantitative Sections

A good place to start is to complete all of the company’s basic and financial information. If you need to verify certain data, for example the company’s turnover and profit for the past three years, then you should highlight that section and create a list of sections to revisit later. A methodical approach will ensure you do not forget to fill in any vital information which could result in a non-compliant bid.

As you continue working through the PQQ it is vital that you consider each question whilst referring to any corresponding guidance notes, checklists and marking criteria. That way you will minimise the risk of your company’s submission failing due to a technicality, missing information or because you have simply not answered the question correctly. Sometimes questions which require a yes or no answer may not be straightforward because of the way they are written so always double check you have read and fully understood the question.

Usually during the early PQQ stage, the purchaser will allow bidders to ask questions and/or seek clarification on the PQQ documents. If you feel that there is a question which is unclear, read the guidance so you know to whom to direct your queries, and by what date. For the sake of transparency, all questions asked, along with the responses, will be forwarded to all those companies which have expressed an interest in the contract.

In addition to this, some purchasers will hold a “meet the buyer” event. You can go along and find out further information about the purchaser’s requirements, the scope of the contract and what is expected in terms of added value. Although non-attendance has no bearing on your PQQ submission, it is recommended that a representative from your company, who is working directly on the submission, attends this event to find out any further information to make your submission as strong as possible.

Qualitative Questions

Quite often, qualitative questions within a PQQ may appear generic or simplistic but you must ensure that your response is thorough and tailored to your company whilst always bearing in mind the needs of the contracting authority as well as those of the end users. Pay particular attention to any word count limit as anything above the limit will be excluded and therefore may not be considered as part of your response.

A good tip when responding to the qualitative section is to deconstruct the questions and identify key words; this ensures you fully answer the question and cover all significant points. Answer each part whilst referring to the marking criteria so that you know what is likely to gain you marks or what could potentially exclude you from the process.

The crucial thing to remember whilst responding to the qualitative questions in a PQQ is to provide an evidence-based submission, including case studies, examples and references. This will highlight to the contracting authority how your organisation works operationally, your best practices and ultimately why you are best placed to deliver the work.


The final stage of the PQQ process is always to read your responses back to check that they are clear, well written and error-free. Make sure you have a break before reviewing them or better yet, ask someone who has not worked on the PQQ, who has knowledge of the company, the contract and the process, to review your responses. It is very easy for the person who completed the PQQ to miss their own mistakes or assume their responses will make sense to the assessor.

Executive Compass can support you through all stages of the PQQ and tender process. For assistance with writing a PQQ or if you would like one of our bid writers to review your submission, contact us today on 0800 612 5563 or email

For more advice on completing a PQQ, watch this video:

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