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Article Details

Published Date: 29-03-2023
Author: Victoria Hughes
Category: News & Insight
Connect with Victoria Hughes

Starting her career as a bid writer, Victoria Hughes transitioned to a bid reviewer last year, and, using comprehensive experience of reviewing and assessing written materials from her previous role as a university lecturer, has smoothly transitioned into the role of a reviewer. Victoria supports members of our bid writing team to produce and refine high-quality, relevant content. In the blog below, Victoria explains what the ‘average’ day of a reviewer looks like.

As one of the four quality reviewers at Executive Compass who are part of the quality assurance process (shoutout to John, Stephen and Matthew), my job day-to-day is quite varied. Broadly, I read through the responses our team of bid writers produce, reviewing them to make sure they’re as strong, compelling and persuasive as possible. Primarily, that means checking the responses have answered the questions and are written well. As part of this, I also support writers, interpret awkward questions, answer planning responses, and talk through comments and amendments. With 15 writers and over 40 projects to support at the moment, from grounds maintenance to cleaning to fire safety by way of security for a zoo, I review a broad range of responses on any given day.

Preparing for the day ahead

My day starts after a lovely, if often blustery, walk along the Quayside by checking my email for any late or early responses that have come through I’ll need to prioritise. Then I check online for any relevant tenders to share with the rest of the team and our clients during the morning team meeting.

On Mondays, I then join John and Stephen for a reviewer meeting. This gives us a good chance to share any insights from the previous week, both in terms of individual writers but also projects and trends in the questions being set by authorities. We also decide whose responses we’ll review for the week, allocating writers to reviewers in a fair way so we can see how the whole team is developing. It also stops us from getting snow-blind by focusing on just a few writers, one project or one client. The writers then get the benefit of our different points of view, contributing to their personal development. Luckily, as a group, we agree on the review approach and often have the same comments on individual responses, but we also have different niches: John is the man you want for complex health and safety questions and Stephen casts a fair eye over the techy responses while Matthew is the social care guru.

Getting on with the job

The day properly starts with a brew and a list of the reviews I need to finish in that day – I use Microsoft To-Do and highly recommend it; it makes a very pleasing sound when you complete a task. One of the aspects of being a reviewer to get used to is a lot of it is a waiting game. I’m dependent on writers finishing responses, so it can either be feast or famine: nothing for an hour or five at once. Due imminently. On very specific topics with a lot of regulations. And a tight character limit… The term ‘peaks and troughs’ was made for this job.

Recently, I’ve reviewed tenders for a national supplies framework, engineering works for flood resilience, servicing passenger lifts for councils and boiler maintenance for civic centres. Within those projects, I’ve looked at responses focused on supporting SMEs, community benefits, sustainability and resources. Regardless of the day or the response, I always follow the same steps: I read the question carefully, breaking it down for myself before I read any of the response. Then I look through the specification and any other relevant documents that have been shared, gathering as much relevant information as I can before I start looking at what the writer has written. Then I read the response.

Nitty gritty quality assurance

My focus when I’m reviewing is simply does this answer the question? Often there are a list of requirements that need to be included, points of content the evaluator will expect, so I act as a sort of test for that. I put myself in their shoes and make sure those requirements have been ticked off as fully as possible. Next, I look at the style of the writing: is it clear and easy to understand? Finally, persuasion: are we selling the benefits, have you convinced me to select you for this bid? The comments I make are all aligned with those questions, looking for improvements and suggestions.

After I’ve returned the review to the writer, I move on to the next. And so it continues. The day is broken up by reading through specs and talking to writers about reviews or questions, and in any quieter periods I make notes on those responses I’ve looked at recently, marking anything I can mention to writers for continuous improvement.

Home time

And that brings us to the end of the day and time for a run along the river or a boxing class with one of our writing team, Hannah. That’s my working day in one blog. Of course, it looks slightly different when I review client responses – but that’s another blog for another time.


Our writers and reviewers are highly experienced in supporting clients with their tendering needs. For more information on SQ writing, tender responses and bid management services, contact our team today at 0800 612 5563 or at

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