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What criteria do different buyers use to evaluate tenders?

On average, our bid writers complete over 550 tender submissions per year for a range of industries and buyers, providing valuable insight into trends, patterns and changes that occur within tender documents.

Different buyers, such as local authorities, universities or private organisations have varying priorities when assembling both technical and selection questionnaires (e.g. customer care, delivery models, social value, etc.) and in order to be successful it is important that bidders address these key areas fully, effectively and concisely in tenders.

Below are some examples of local authorities our writers have produced winning submissions for, highlighting nuances, different priorities, and areas of interest to help guide your future bids:

  1. Newcastle City Council (NCC)

NCC offer many contract opportunities to tender for service provision every year, including frameworks for maintenance/repair, plumbing, gas works, drainage and grounds maintenance. Whilst questions vary in content depending on the service required, NCC place a heavy focus on customer care and resident liaison, seeking organisations who train their operatives to be professional, approachable and informative and maintain regular, productive communication with tenants, particularly those who are vulnerable (e.g. within social housing properties).

NCC also allocate a large percentage of the quality weighting to social value (up to 30%). Social value questions align with NCC’s Social Value Framework, focusing on sustainability, ethical leadership (e.g. equality and diversity), investing in a Newcastle-based supply chain and providing work opportunities for local people through apprenticeships, work placements or full-time employment (particularly for those out of education and the long-term unemployed).

  1. The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF)

LBHF often require tenderers to complete a social value questionnaire as part of their submission regardless of the services required. A list of options is presented, such as the £ of investment in sustainable technologies, number of apprenticeships offered and donations to local charitable organisations. Tenderers then input a value for each selected option for the full contract term, generating a social value total at the end.

The questionnaire is accompanied by a social value method statement, split into two to three sections:

  • Part A, providing rationale and an overview of the delivery approach for the options selected during the questionnaire
  • Part B, showing delivery capability through leadership, a resource plan, previous experience, defining outcomes and monitoring, measuring and reporting results.
  • Part C, describing continuous improvement and collaboration with LBHF to enhance provision throughout the contract.

Depending on the submission, this typically forms 15%+ of the total quality weighting. Other local authorities that place a heavy focus on social value, and help form the National Social Value Taskforce are Durham County Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Bristol City Council and Suffolk County Council.

  1. Nottingham City Council (NoCC)

As above, NoCC’s question content differs depending on the service; however, key themes include proposed methodology, risk management, supply chain management and data protection. For construction-related procurement, this sometimes also involves a PAS 91 standardised pre-qualification questionnaire, in place to reduce the need for bidders to complete a variety of different pre-qualification questionnaires for buyers. Topics included in such questionnaires vary from health and safety, resource allocation, quality management, previous experience and environmental management.

NoCC also place emphasis on social value, intending to establish the initiatives bidders will implement (e.g. how they will ensure sustainability, investing in the local supply chain, etc.) and how they will increase/enhance their offering throughout the contract. A recent question for an electrical works framework asked how the bidder would remove barriers to employment for underrepresented groups in construction and associated trades, particularly women, creating an inclusive and diverse workforce.

  1. Fife Council (FC)

Question themes encountered in FC submissions include contract management, resource allocation and data processing, with a specific method statement on maximising community benefits (essentially social value provision). In previous submissions, FC’s community benefit priorities have included:

  • How the bidding organisation will commit to progressing towards FC’s five ‘Fair Work First’ criteria, such as providing fair wages, excellent working conditions, nurturing talent, motivating their workforce and ensuring equality
  • Recruiting Fife residents for any apprenticeships or full-time job opportunities, particularly the long-term unemployed
  • Percentage of contract spend allocated to invest in community projects or charitable organisations
  • Working with subcontractor and/or suppliers to provide training and placement opportunities
  • Environment and sustainability, such as reducing carbon footprint and sourcing sustainable materials.

These are sometimes split into separate questions (e.g. a specific response for sustainability, another for ensuring diversity and equality) or in one community benefits statement, totalling 10%+ of the quality weighting.

  1. Caerphilly County Borough Council (CCBC)

Submissions for Welsh-based authorities such as CCBC differ slightly as all social value/community benefits questions are aligned with the Well-being of Future Generations Act, requiring public bodies in Wales to:

  • Think about the long-term impact of their decisions
  • Work better with people, communities and each other
  • Prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change.

Some submissions have required bidders to specifically address how they will promote Welsh language use within their organisation, aligning with the Act’s goal of establishing a ‘Wales of Vibrant Culture and Thriving Welsh Language’. Priority areas have included providing a committed approach to day-to-day use of the Welsh language, providing information and guidance in Welsh and how bidders align initiatives with the Welsh Language Scheme and the Welsh Language Standards Regulations 2016.

Executive Compass’s team of bid writers have completed tenders for all local authorities in the UK, as well as NHS, housing associations, central government and more. As such, we understand the nuances between the different authorities and industry sectors. We also recognise the need for crafting a brand new tender response to answer the specific questions and align priorities with the evaluator. Contact us today to discuss how we can help with a PQQ, SQ or tender response.

 

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