The need for a wide range of consultancy services pervades every industry, and contracts for consultancy services are released across the private and public sector as a result.
This range is represented in the diversity of bodies that release tenders. Unlike many other industries, there is a prevalence of tenders for consultancy services across both the private and the public sector. Procuring organisations range from large-scale multinational firms to regional facilities providers.
Common services include:
- Change management
- Business transformation
- Introducing new management systems
- Brand management
- Health and safety management
- Customer vision
- Digital strategy
- Business process improvement
- Information communications technology
- Leadership training
- Risk management
- Auditing services
- Asser management
- Solutions architecture
Consultancy tenders, therefore, exist across a wide range of industries and business contexts. With this in mind, the legislative framework applied to tender exercises and resulting contracts is flexible. Any legislation or approved codes of practice you have to adhere to is likely to be industry-specific, e.g. the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 if you provide H&S consultation, or UKAS if you implement quality management systems. Similarly, your service may require specific certification for that industry, such as IRCA if you provide auditing services.
As a result, tender exercises for consultancy services can take many forms and look significantly different, depending on the procuring organisation, their motive for procurement – and crucially – what means they use to release and evaluate the tenders. Exercises designed by private sector firms can be far removed from those released by public sector or ALMOs (arms-length management organisations, such as housing providers).
Key differences can include:
- Price and quality evaluation weighting
- Mandatory and optional exclusion criteria
- The means of selection, which might include a single or double-stage exercise, interviews, or ongoing requests for information
- Variable emphasis on scored quality criteria such as social value, environmental impact, innovation, or supply chain, which may have a higher or lower rating, or not be present at all in the exercise
- Language and expression: tender documents produced in-house by a firm’s communication team can be more colloquial and direct with their writing, using language and idioms that are prevalent within their organisational culture
- Award criteria the company or authority specify
- Length and style of the specification. Private firms often opt to release tender documents that are less formal, within branded templates
- Expectations and guidance. Private-sector tenders released in-house predominately embed their corporate mission and philosophies within the evaluation criteria
- Method of submission, with firms often specifying an email submission, as opposed to the digital envelopes hosted on portals
- Indications of expected service levels, including quality benchmarks and key performance indicators.
The exercises you come across, therefore, may differ greatly in their requirements. Procurement documents for consultancy services often place a greater emphasis on the solution, experience and expertise, and questionnaires represent broad canvasses to sell your business and your ability to deliver the service. Your ability to provide services will be evaluated on the strength of how you evidence these three key criteria, and you will need to provide a high level of detail of your company’s credentials within the quality sections.
Our experience of providing assistance with projects across this broad spectrum is extensive. In 2018, for instance, we have completed tenders for consultancy services released by the following authorities:
- Birmingham County Council
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme
- Hyde Housing
- Hyde Group
- Anglian Water
Across these tenders we have encountered a wide variety of services and submission criteria, and each project is approached anew. For each submission, the lead bid writer’s focus is on working with clients to identify their key selling points, and ensure this is translated into a high quality submission. Your bid writer will guide you through this process, and support you to interpret your organisation’s key strengths effectively, whilst ensuring compliance with the line of questioning. Your bid will also benefit from our status as a business improvement specialist, with extensive in-house management consultancy expertise that will be brought to bear to maximise the quality of your submission.