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Article Details

Published Date: 13-11-2015
Author: Executive Compass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
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Through working with clients on numerous PQQs and tenders, we have seen various issues and obstacles in the procurement process; not only from the bidder’s side but also from the contracting authority’s perspective.


It is common for companies to approach us with a previous unsuccessful bid and the question: ‘But why were we unsuccessful? We are a large company and can deliver this contract.’

Our response is always the same: you may be best placed to deliver the contract but unless you state explicit reasons as to why you should be chosen as the highest quality bidder, and show best value for money, you will not be chosen for the contract.

We explore why the public sector is risk averse in their decision making process and how you can use this to your advantage when bidding for a contract.

Public sector contracts

Above all, it is important to remember contracting authorities are responsible for allocating vast amounts of Government money to various contracts. Due to ongoing directives from the EU, there are many requirements in place such as: MEAT (most economically advantageous tender), transparency and fairness, and SME-friendly procedures.

The contracting authority legally has to award the contract in question to the highest quality submission, with the best value for money. If your submission is not classed as the ‘best’, then you will not be successful in winning the contract!

Know your audience

Bidders often make the assumption that the evaluator knows their company inside out, when in reality, even if you are a large multinational corporation, you need to work on the assumption that the evaluator has no prior knowledge of your company. Your bid is essentially a CV for your company, explaining exactly why you should be given the job.

The contracting authority needs to be able to justify why your PQQ or tender should be scored the highest. Leave nothing to chance and write clear and explicit responses, with statistics and evidence to back up your answers, so the evaluator can clearly see why you should be scored highest.

Structure your response

Make it easy for the evaluator to assess your submission against the specification and criteria. Deconstructing questions into smaller sections with subheadings is a logical way to structure your response and also allows the assessor to approach your answer in a methodical way. Remember, there may be ten other tenders to evaluate, which is not an easy task for the contracting authority, so try not to make your submission too complex and onerous to read.

It may seem very simplistic advice, but explaining your company structure, management systems, operations and so on, in detail and in a concise manner again allows the evaluator to award high marks.

Be careful when using industry-specific terminology. It is fair to assume that the assessor has a certain amount of knowledge but do not assume that they have as much knowledge as you do! It is likely you are an expert in your field, whether that is grounds maintenance, new build construction or palliative care, and it can become easy for the evaluator to become lost in technical jargon you understand but they do not.

Here is a round up of top tips to consider:

  • State explicitly how and why you are best placed to deliver the contract, and provide evidence.
  • Give the contracting authority good reason to justify you as the best bidder.
  • Structure your responses in a logical format, which is easy for the evaluator to understand.
  • Do not assume the contracting authority knows everything about your business and industry.

If you require assistance with a public or a private sector bid, contact Executive Compass® today on 0800 612 5563 to discuss how we can help.

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