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Published Date: 8-06-2023
Author: Ciaran Brass
Category: News & Insight
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One of our most popular bid and tender management services includes reviewing responses to quality questions written by our clients’ in-house bid team or subject matter experts. Clients find our services to be beneficial not only in terms of targeted enhancements for the reviewed tender, but in developing a structured, sustainable best practice approach for future submissions based on the comments and feedback applied to responses.

Our team of quality reviewers and senior writers provide review services across a variety of sectors, including construction, mechanical and electrical services, security, health and social care and professional services. Likewise, reviews are provided for clients ranging from small businesses to large, multi-national corporations with in-house bid teams seeking an external professional opinion on their submission. Examples over the past 12 months include:

  • Design and build service of a heat network project for 800 properties in an inner borough of London
  • A £7 billion access solutions, insulation and cyclical works framework at a decommissioned nuclear site
  • Provision of security services and deterrent against theft and malicious damage for a specialised manufacturer
  • Provision of support services to young and unpaid carers for a Scottish council
  • Multi-stage construction of a railway station in West Scotland on behalf of Network Rail.

All bid and tender reviews adhere to the principles of our ISO 9001:2015-certified quality management system, ensuring our clients receive feedback which results in the strongest possible submission.

The review process

Regardless of the industry, scope of services or overall value of the contract, all Executive Compass review services apply the same tried-and-tested methodology, developed since our formation in 2009 and utilised on over 7,000 bid and tender submissions. Responses are reviewed to the same standards as those produced by our in-house team of bid writers, replicating the system which has enabled us to achieve an 85% fully auditable success rate.

Prior to reading client responses, reviewers will analyse the tender document pack and contract specification, ensuring a thorough knowledge of all baseline requirements. They also conduct independent research on the client, purchasing authority and geographic area, duly noting any potential opportunities to add value or specificity across the entire bid submission.

If the client requires it, responses can also benefit from proofreading from our team of external proofreaders, all of whom hold accreditations from the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading. Responses are then sent to the client’s relevant writer or subject matter expert for their consideration – reviewers are also contactable to provide clarification of any comments or suggestions. To give sufficient time to consider reviewer comments, clarify specifics or engage collaboratively with the reviewer, responses are sent in batches. Quality reviewers aim to return all responses no less than one week prior to the final submission deadline.

What reviews will identify

As quality reviewers are totally independent from the writing process, reviews of responses written by clients will benefit from objective feedback. Each response is reviewed line by line by the assigned quality reviewer to verify:

  • Compliance with the requirements of the contract specification: As the most top-level aspect of a tender review, the reviewer will ensure that responses align with the buyer’s requirements. Examples include response times, KPIs or the minimum number of staff allocated to the contract. It is also important to scrutinise additional documents in the tender pack, such as a customer care policy, to verify compliance with all aspects of the requirements.
  • Each element of the question has been sufficiently addressed: The wording of tender questions will often give clues and information about what evaluators are looking for when marking responses. Our team of writers and reviewers are trained to break down each question into constituent parts and capture all elements within their responses, often to tight word limits. This may prove more challenging for clients who have assigned an individual to ‘moonlight’ as a bid writer. Equally, responses may be unequally weighted in favour of one aspect of the question, requiring a partial rewrite to achieve balance.
  • Responses have a clear, logical structure: The structure and order of responses is also a crucial component of bid writing. If the response is not signposted and easily navigable, the writer risks ‘losing’ the evaluator or obscuring the benefits they are trying to outline. Where appropriate, reviewers will advise the use of subheadings and bulleted points to effectively evidence points, in addition to moving content to a different section of the response where necessary. Providing evaluators with a clear, well-structured response in addition to detailed evidence will support the achievement of high marks.
  • All content has smoothness, flow and uses appropriate language: Reviewers will mark passages which read awkwardly or lack clarity – if the main benefit is obscured, evaluators may miss the point of a section or paragraph, resulting in fewer marks. Likewise, the language shaping responses (particularly those with a technical element) should be accurate yet accessible and mirror the terminology used in the specification and tender pack. The result ensures all responses facilitate clarity, readability and understanding from the evaluators.

Reviewers provide all comments, suggestions and feedback within Microsoft Word, ensuring their input is clearly marked and easy to address when responses are returned for consideration. It is then the client’s responsibility to implement the necessary changes and adjustments, as our typical agreements consist of one round of reviews only.

How this will benefit your tender submission

Beyond maximising your chances of success for a single tender submission, review services will also allow you to create good bid writing habits and establish best practice for any future projects. Our reviews offer an opportunity to gain insight into how responses must be tailored to each opportunity and what evaluators will expect when assessing submissions. Examples of ‘lessons learnt’ which can be implemented beyond the reviewed responses may include:

  • Avoiding generalisations or sweeping statements in favour of targeted supporting evidence specific to your organisation and the opportunity
  • Using tables and bulleted points to structure responses and enhance visual impact, including brief introductions or conclusions to any lists or sequential processes
  • Including examples where appropriate when illustrating a feature or benefit, adding specificity and demonstrating experience implementing a similar methodology
  • Referencing measures to drive continuous improvement, demonstrating to evaluators how your organisation will implement efficiencies and enhancements to the tendered works/service
  • Employing a consistent tone and standardising references such as job titles, creating a cohesive submission.

Equally, many of our clients have chosen to retain our business years after their first project, as our review services provide surety that they will produce the best possible submission which effectively evidences their suitability and capability for the opportunity.

In addition to SQ and ITT reviews, Executive Compass provides a range of bid and tender management services, including bespoke packages tailored to the needs of your organisation. To find out more on how we can support you, our sales and marketing team are contactable at 0800 612 5563, or alternatively via email

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