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Understanding the Specification for a PQQ or Tender

Bid-writing

Making sense of a PQQ or tender specification is a task in itself; there are likely to be pages upon pages of instructions, limitations, assessment criteria and technical questions.

It is important to spend time reading through the bid specification in order to fully understand the service you are bidding for, and how you will be evaluated so you grasp what the contracting authority is looking for when they assess your bid submission.

The bid/no bid decision

Once you have expressed an interest in a contract and obtained the PQQ or tender documents, your first port of call should be to undertake a bid/no bid decision. This is done by analysing the tender specification and criteria to make sure you can successfully deliver the contract and that there are no requirements which you cannot meet. Failure to double check the bid documents can result in you spending time and money on a bid for a contract which you weren’t actually compliant with.

There can be a number of obstacles put in place to whittle down the number of bidders and ensure the highest level of quality is sustained. Criteria such as minimum scores, member certifications (CHAS, SSIP, ISO etc.) and length of experience are outlined in the tender specification. If you do not meet all the requirements it should be a ‘no bid’ for that specific contract.

Make sense of the scoring criteria

After the decision has been made to bid for the contract, you need to make yourself fully aware of the scoring criteria. Look at the price and quality weighting and how this can affect your bid. If there is an 80% quality weighting and 20% price, you know more time needs to be allocated to the narrative responses rather than just submitting a competitive price and short answers to technical questions. It is vital to understand how your bid will be evaluated and then organise your responses, evidence and statistics in line with the criteria.

Areas which are highly scored or which are given specific attention in the criteria should be noted, as this allows you to tailor your submission accordingly. If there is a particular mention of previous examples of the same service, then focus your answers and evidence to reflect your company’s past experience. This is what we describe as ‘bid themes’ or ‘win themes’ whereby your response focuses on a few main themes, derived from the tender specification and on what will ultimately score you the most marks in the evaluation criteria.

You should also be aware of any requirements, such as word counts, font size and allowed attachments to make sure your bid complies with all the necessary requirements and that you don’t fail based on a non-conformance.

How to structure your narrative responses

In line with the weighting and evaluation criteria, deconstruct the narrative questions when tackling the qualitative section. Creating sub headings for questions relieves pressure from large word counts. It also allows a more fluid response which answers the question in full, incorporating your bid themes.

When writing your answers, always refer back to the question and the specification to ensure you do not accidentally go off on a tangent and miss the point of the question.

The basic requirements are outlined in the specification, but then it is really up to you to impress the contracting authority and make them believe you are best suited to deliver the contract. Differentiate your company by going above and beyond the requirements, using innovations, numbers and statistics and relevant case studies to score high quality marks and get ahead of the competition.

If you are unsure whether your submission is of the highest quality, why not take advantage of our external review service? One of our professional bid writers will go through your responses with a fine tooth comb to check it is fully compliant, and will offer suggestions and critique on how the submission could be improved and can gain a high score for that all important contract. Contact us today on 020 3507 0314 for a price for the review of your next PQQ or tender.

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