Writing an RFP

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Writing a successful RFP or PQQ enables you to pass the first stage of the tender writing process by demonstrating your competence, and your suitability to provide services to the Contracting Authority. It also takes you one step closer to securing a much-needed contract that will enable your business to develop. By following the steps detailed below you can navigate this difficult process and score as highly as possible.

It’s a Competition

Do not settle for second best when completing an RFP – aim to score as highly as possible. Not only will this ensure that you pass this stage, it will give the best possible impression of your business to the assessor and convince them of your suitability to be awarded the contract. By treating the whole process as a competition against your rivals you should be motivated to produce a high quality and winning submission every time, and avoid complacency which could result in failure. Remember that while it is important to want to win the contract and to show that you can provide the services required under the contract, you must also clearly demonstrate that you can do this better than the competition.

Plan Your Submission

The importance of planning cannot be underestimated. Organisations who consistently win every RFP, PQQ and tender for which they bid always plan each project carefully, ensuring it is completed in a timely manner and to a high standard. This includes reading all relevant documents to understand the submission requirements; mobilising a suitably experienced bid team; and creating a schedule for the drafting and quality assurance of the answers that you must provide.

Due Diligence and Compliance

Every RFP is data-driven, requesting a large amount of information about your business in order to enable the assessor to analyse your capacity and experience of providing the services required under the contract. The data asked for often includes details of your company history, policies and procedures, financial standing and experience in undertaking contracts similar in nature to the one you are bidding for. Ensure that all of this information is updated, correct and relevant to the needs of each question; and check that all relevant supporting documents are attached. A compliant and high quality submission will result in you being invited to tender.


Don’t just make unfounded statements on the experience, technical ability and competence of your business – support this with evidence. This will help you score highly and convince an assessor of your suitability to progress to the next stage of the procurement process. You can include case studies highlighting how you have addressed a particular issue or added value to the contract, and examples of high stakeholder satisfaction levels. Once you have attached your supporting documents you then need to introduce them within the submission; helping to provide the assessor with a flowing story that sells your business.

Manage your Submission

Use spreadsheets to detail all required responses and their progress in being drafted, quality assured and proofread. You should also make a list of all required supporting evidence and mark off when each has been received. The ongoing management and recording of each stage of the RFP will allow progress to be easily tracked and enable other staff to easily work on the project if required. Be careful to make sure your spreadsheets are always updated, and communicate them to key staff so that your team can work in an effective and cohesive manner.

For more tips watch the video below on common proposal writing mistakes:

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