An Invitation to Tender or ITT is a formal document issued by a procurement authority which outlines the scope of a project and invites organisations to submit a formal tender to bid for the work.
Usually, within the public sector the invitation to tender is preceded by a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) which acts as a filter to determine the suitability and so the organisation has already been assessed for certain criteria needed to successfully deliver the project. The criteria for receiving the invitation is usually based around financial stability and trading history, previous experience, core competence, capability and process and quality standards. This is the case for potential suppliers when tendering for contracts for both goods and services.
The tender document focuses on “the how”. How will you deliver the work and of course how much will it cost to the buyer.
What does ITT stand for?
An invitation to tender (ITT) is just that, an invitation to interested parties. Receiving this invitation does not mean that you will be awarded the contract. Indeed as many as five to twelve other organisations may also have received ITT. In some industries, it can be even more. You will all respond to the ITT document and the authority will select the most suitable bidder, based on both quality and pricing award criteria.
The same rules apply to the invitation to tender as described in the PQQ blog. However, you do have much more room to manoeuvre with an ITT than with a PQQ, as it covers “what you will do”.
The tender will still contain some “rules” and set questions within the procurement process, so make sure you read it very carefully before your pen hits the paper. An ITT typically has a set of evaluation criteria and minimum requirements, so it is important to give the evaluator exactly what they are looking for, as this is competitive tendering for public contracts.
The format of an ITT varies widely across industries and services required, and as such no two are alike. Some are prescriptive and some are loosely defined. Some lay out very clearly how to respond to the tender document and some do not.
By broadly following the rules though it is fairly straightforward to respond to an ITT.
Invitation to tender (ITT) a framework
Read the invitation to tender several times and note down any special requirements
- Appoint a project manager, leader or bid writer for the tender
- Arrange printing and binding and any other submission criteria (if required)
- Appoint a proofreader
- Appoint a collator. This person will be the central point for all information and is usually responsible for formatting and submission of the tender
- Ask for clarification on any ambiguous points
- Reach consensus on a bid win themes for the invitation to tender
- Agree roles and responsibilities
- Begin writing and responding to the ITT
- Hold regular feedback and progress meetings
- Repeat 9 and 10 until complete.
- “Stitch” the response together
- Have the bid read and approved
- Print and submit either in hard copy or on an online portal
- Ensure delivery and obtain a receipt.
The time from submission of your response to the ITT and award of the contract can vary but it is normally clearly laid out in the invitation to tender documents and will be as a minimum three to four weeks.
The next step varies and depends on the product or service:
- There could be a presentation and the preferred bidder selected
- There may be a clarification meeting
- The contract could be awarded (to a sole supplier or multiple suppliers for a framework agreement)
- They may decide not to award the contract to anyone
To discuss how Executive Compass can support you to complete an ITT document contact us today and we will be happy to talk through your requirements and offer any guidance. As a national bid writing consultancy, we have vast tender process experience across all industry sectors.