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.
What does ITT stand for? The Meaning of ITT Explained
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 – multiple organisations who deliver similar services will also have received the ITT. 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.
What does an invitation to tender include?
Depending on the industry and contract, the contents of an ITT vary. However, an ITT will commonly discuss the scope of works, information on the tender process, criteria required of the potential supplier and how they will assess tender submissions.
Why you have received an ITT
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 of an organisation for the contract. As a result, the organisation who has received an ITT has already been assessed against specific criteria that is needed to successfully deliver the project.
The criterion 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.
Invitation to tender (ITT) a framework
When responding to an ITT we recommend:
- Reading the invitation to tender several times and noting down any special requirements
- Appointing a project manager, leader or bid writer for the tender
- Arranging printing and binding and any other submission criteria (if required)
- Appointing a proofreader
- Appointing a collator. This person will be the central point for all information and is usually responsible for formatting and submission of the tender
- Asking for clarification on any ambiguous points
- Reaching consensus on a bid win theme for the invitation to tender
- Agreeing on roles and responsibilities
- Writing and responding to the ITT
- Holding regular feedback and progress meetings
- Repeating 9 and 10 until complete
- ‘Stitching’ the response together
- Having the bid read and approved by someone internally
- Submitting either in hard copy or on an online portal
- Ensuring delivery and obtaining 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 after receiving an invitation to tender 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
Have you received an ITT? 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.
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