When you complete PQQ and tender submissions you will find plenty of references to certifications and registrations, as well as requests for supporting information.
But how well do you understand this area? Below we provide a summary guide to certifications and registrations, providing you with the relevant information so you can enhance the quality of your bid writing.
ISO, OHSAS and Quality Management Systems
The most common quality management systems and their certifications include ISO 9001 Quality Management, ISO 14001 Environmental Management and OHSAS 18001 Health and Safety. Other common and important quality management systems include ISO 27001 Information Security Management and ISO 22301 Business Continuity.
You achieve ISO/OHSAS certification through an assessment of your systems. This, and subsequent audits, are undertaken by an accredited awarding body (preferably UKAS), who analyse your systems against recognised standards to determine whether you are suitable for certification. This process allows you to improve your processes, policies and procedures and maintain both their suitability and your continued certification.
Having ISO/OHSAS certification in place is an outward sign that your quality management systems have been independently assessed; that they are of a high quality; and that you can deliver right first time services. It also demonstrates your commitment to, and provides a framework for, continual improvement.
Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP)
SSIP is an umbrella organisation that enables mutual recognition of health and safety assessment across a wide range of sectors, incorporating a number of different schemes. The most common schemes include CHAS, Constructionline and SAFEContractor, although there are many schemes which can be used by organisations when bidding.
To quality for SSIP membership, organisations typically complete an application form in which they discuss and provide evidence of their health and safety management systems. Included with the application is supporting evidence, including policies, procedures and statistics of both RIDDOR and non-RIDDOR accident, incident and near miss rates. The more relevant evidence provided, the stronger the application. Annual audits confirm the ongoing suitability of these systems.
In the same way as ISO and OHSAS certification, SSIP membership is an external demonstration of your health and safety management systems and your commitment to safe systems of work. This, combined with the use of an external health and safety consultant, can be used to continually improve your systems.
Benefits of ISO/OHSAS Certification and SSIP Membership
Competition for contracts has grown exponentially over the last few years, so authorities seek to sift out as many bidders as possible during the PQQ stage. One of the methods by which this is done is making ISO certification or SSIP membership a pass/fail mandatory requirement of your submission. Alternatively, the authority might have a sliding scale point system depending on whether these are in place, and who is the awarding body. Examples include making CHAS a mandatory SSIP registration or awarding more points for a UKAS-accredited ISO quality management system.
The benefits of having ISO certification and SSIP membership are obvious. They can help ensure that you pass the PQQ stage and progress to the ITT stage, and they provide reassurance of quality assurance and continual improvement in the delivery of your services. These systems provide a framework for the delivery of right first time services and help you draft evidence-driven responses which confirm your suitability for a contract.
A further benefit is that you can often bypass sections of PQQ submissions simply by providing evidence of your ISO certification or SSIP membership: typically, your registration certificate. This reduces the number of words that you are required to write for a project, allowing you to focus on the parts of the submission that need to be completed. You can use your ISO information to provide guidance on how to answer questions in key areas including KPI monitoring and quality assurance so that you score as highly as possible.
We have assisted hundreds of organisations to submit PQQs and ITTs across a wide range of sectors, including advising them on the ISO/OHSAS and SSIP process. To discuss how we can help you, call us on 020 3507 0314, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.