2020 has been a challenging year for most businesses across the UK, with various lockdowns, uncertainty, furloughs and of course the pandemic itself to deal with.
Back in March we shared a lot of information for clients regarding the procurement environment, supplier relief and transition from COVID-19. Thankfully (for us), not too many contracts were accelerated or delayed indefinitely, and we have seen the procurement market return to normal levels in the latter part of 2020.
Amongst all the challenges, we think it important to reflect on our year and recognise the successes our team has had during the pandemic.
This year we have completed over 450 bids! A huge 70% of them have been for existing clients; from roofers to interpreters, we’ve had the pleasure of working with a variety of organisations across the UK. Our core bid writing services have remained the same, with our focus on quality underpinning each project. We’ve completed bids for housing associations, the NHS and local councils, right through to Sellafield, Diageo PLC and the Ministry of Defence.
As you can imagine, we saw the introduction of COVID-19 into tender submissions, and we have supported businesses to factor this into their contingency plans to reassure contracting authorities when bidding for future work.
We transition to working remotely
We’re used to working with clients remotely, as typically we manage 99% of our bid writing projects via telephone and email. However, working from home was certainly new for our team, who are normally all based in the same office Monday to Friday. We were all familiar with Microsoft Teams, and managed to seamlessly transfer our meetings and communication online from March onwards – something we will certainly consider continuing post-COVID-19.
We also moved to deliver our tender writing training online, which was previously delivered in-person via on-site workshops. We’ve had some excellent feedback from the online training, allowing us to be more flexible and offer two half-day sessions and similar, to suit clients’ needs whilst working remotely.
Expansion and five new writers
At Executive Compass we have maintained steady growth over the past few years, and our plans for 2020 were no different. Luckily, work levels allowed us to recruit five new writers to the team from July 2020 onwards, to support our expansion plans as our client base grows for bid writing and training services. We’ve welcomed Pedro, Ciaran, Hannah, Lewis and Adam to the team this year.
The Social Value Practice
Around this time last year, we were just finalising our plans and new website for our social value support service: The Social Value Practice. In October 2020 this officially went live and to date we have delivered a number of workshops to support clients with social value in tendering training. This will continue into 2021 as social value weightings increase in public sector tenders and it remains a core focus from authorities.
In a challenging year we have still recognised and celebrated stand-out successes for our team, one of which was a £90 million contract win for our long-term client, KAEFER UK, with Sellafield Ltd.
We held our awards night virtually this year, to recognise a number of successes in our team. Awards included writer of the year, team player, cultural contribution, and best newcomer. In an Oscar-style presentation from MD Christian, we enjoyed a celebratory drink virtually and some fantastic acceptance speeches from our wordsmiths! A few clients and friends of Executive Compass even left special video messages, which were greatly appreciated.
Looking ahead to 2021
Our industry is about to see a new change from 1 Jan 2021 with the introduction of Find a Tender, the new UK-based procurement portal. Further government initiatives are set to be introduced for firms bidding for public sector contracts, which we will be monitoring closely. We will continue to keep our clients up to date with any changes and publish all important government guidance on our website. Most crucially, we’ll strive to provide the highest-quality bid writing services in the UK to our growing client base.
We look forward to working with you all in 2021!