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Published Date: 1-05-2024
Author: Executive Compass
Category: Top Tips
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Prior to submitting a bid, you should always schedule in adequate time to review your tender and ensure it is reflective of the time, effort and resource required to create the submission.

Understanding how to effectively review a tender submission can be the difference between winning and losing the bid. A quality review and compliance check of each document is necessary to minimise any risk and maximise your chances of a successful tender submission.

With four- to six-week windows for submission typically applied to public sector and government tenders, it is critical to note that the tender review process can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. With this in mind, it is essential to ensure reviewing a tender is included as part of your bid plan and process. This will avoid a last-minute submission that has lacked the time for a thorough review.

Who should review the bid?

Bid and tender writing is a unique and highly specialised skill, requiring knowledge and experience in order to present content and information in accordance with the evaluators’ expectations. Reviewing a tender is equally important, and often involves pairing technical knowledge of a specific industry with extensive involvement managing and writing submissions.

Consequently, a suitably experienced member of your bid team should be assigned to review a tender submission, including:

  • An in-house bid manager familiar with the unique selling points, key differentiators and ‘win themes’ developed in your bidding strategy over time
  • A project or contract manager who can provide insight into the practical applications of the specific contract and its delivery
  • An external bid professional using a review service, which can give valuable input via a ‘third party’ approach.

The last point can be particularly helpful when reviewing a tender for large, complex or ‘must-win’ submissions. An impartial point of view can double-check responses are aligned with the opportunity in question and you are not overly reliant on previous responses from your bid library or including ‘win themes’ where they are not appropriate.

How many reviews?

Deciding how many times to review a response completely depends on the bid and tender writer and reviewer. If the team have worked together on many bids and the bid writer has significant experience, a single review is usually sufficient prior to proofreading.

Teams just starting out or those using a novice bid writer should strongly consider using a greater number of reviews in order to get the best quality submission and maximise quality marks – ensuring the strongest possible chance of success. Equally, if you are working on a ‘must-win’ submission, a more robust review process may be necessary for you to retain the contract.

As a standard, we would suggest a two-stage review is the best practice approach for the majority of submissions. Each response is assessed once by a bid manager or reviewer, prior to being passed back to the writer to incorporate feedback and amendments. Subsequently, the entire document is subject to a ‘red review’ prior to submission.

What to look for

It is absolutely critical that all written narrative responses, both scored and unscored, are checked and quality reviewed by a senior member of your bid team, or an external bid professional. As above, a member of your team should follow a structured process regardless of the industry or sector when reviewing a tender, verifying the following:

  • Do bid responses comprehensively answer all aspects of the question, ensuring there are no gaps or omissions of crucial elements?
  • Are responses written in a persuasive, detailed and evidence-based manner, strengthening the credibility of the response?
  • Is the response relevant to the question being asked, or does it include irrelevant or surplus content which could be better allocated elsewhere?
  • Does the response comply with the requirements of the specification, mitigating lost marks or an uncompliant tender?

This is the basic structure of the tender review process – however, this can often be applied further to strengthen the submission. Examples of this include checking that images, diagrams and colour have been used where appropriate, and content is presented in a clear, concise and easy-to-read format, making it easy for the evaluator to follow and award marks.

Similarly, a persuasive, evidence-based approach will allow you to maximise marks within individual responses. Look out for a lack of supporting evidence and highlight these areas for improvement.

Checking copies of certifications and policies

As part of your tender submission, authorities may request copies of policies, procedures or appendices such as organisational charts or CVs for senior members of the team. These documents are often on file, but can be misaligned with your organisation’s current structure or approaches.

  • Copies of certifications are on hand and up to date, verifying there are no lapsed mandatory accreditations
  • Organisational charts and CVs of key personnel are relevant and updated, inclusive of qualifications and most recent job titles
  • Internal policies – including health and safety, quality and environmental policies – have been reviewed, signed and dated by a suitably qualified and experienced individual.

Spotting any lapsed accreditations or outdated policies, procedures or CVs will allow you to proactively renew or adjust these well in advance of the submission deadline.

Incorporating feedback

Incorporating feedback into bid responses from your reviewer is usually a relatively simple process, but in some cases it is worth having an in-depth discussion to check that the bid writer understands the comments, why the reviewer has made them and what changes should be implemented.

It is important for the bid writer to understand exactly what the feedback means and learn from the process. The review process is a collaborative relationship rather than an adversarial one – both are working towards ensuring the submission is as strong as possible when reviewing a tender. If any element of the review process is unclear or there are contradicting opinions, have an open discussion and either find middle ground or go with the most structured process.

It is also important to ensure sufficient time is scheduled in for any amendments stemming from the review process. If you have missed the mark significantly on a response, significant last-minute edits to content will only compound the pressure inherent to bid and tender writing.

Reviewing a tender prior to submitting

Lastly, use the submission checklist created at the beginning of the project or provided by the authority to perform a final review of the entire submission. As the majority of submissions are portal-based rather than email submissions, you should check all documents have been uploaded in the correct place, are completed in their entirety and have been filled out accurately.

Tender review services

Executive Compass have supported with over 7,000 PQQ, SQ and ITT submissions, with the tips shared above forming key tenets of our ISO 9001-accredited quality management system. Since 2009, we have supported clients in achieving more than £5 billion worth of revenue through bid and tender submissions, with a fully auditable 85% success rate.

Our bid review services apply our own in-house processes for ensuring a high-quality, competitive submission, with feedback and enhancements strategically targeted to maximise your chance of success. A senior member of our team will review a tender and the quality responses produced by your subject matter experts, returning reviews at an agreed date to ensure plenty of time to incorporate feedback in advance of the submission deadline.

If you would like to learn more about bid writing, bid review or bid writing courses on offer, our sales and marketing team are available for a free, no-obligation chat at, or via telephone 0800 612 5563.

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