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Our team of healthcare bid writers at Executive Compass are experienced in all aspects of domiciliary care tenders, having successfully secured hundreds of contracts for our clients for over ten years.

How to get Contracts for Domiciliary Care

Due to the highly competitive nature of domiciliary and homecare care contracts, having an in-depth knowledge of health and social care bid writing and best practice is crucial to secure contracts. Our experienced health and social care bid writers can help you win domiciliary care contracts that are right for your business.

With over 18.6% of the population aged 65 years or older, a continually ageing population, and an increased focus placed on supporting people to continue living in the community rather than moving into residential or nursing care settings, tenders for care at home services are common across the UK.

Providers looking to offer these services via referrals from social care teams will ordinarily need to be on the relevant framework or dynamic purchasing system (DPS), meaning that a successful tender strategy can be essential for care at home providers to grow their business. Our health and social care team at Executive Compass can support you through every stage of the tendering process, delivering a tailored service to meet your needs.

Alongside ‘standard’ care at home services, providers might also bid to provide time-intensive reablement support, services within extra care settings, NHS-funded and commissioned continuing healthcare services and various other models of community-based care and support. These services are very familiar to our health and social care team, with up to 40% of all tenders written by our team related to health and social care. Our bid writers therefore have an in-depth understanding of various domiciliary and homecare models, and the ambitions/priorities of buyers. For example, core topics such as person-centred support, reablement and multidisciplinary support are confidently understood by our team, with specific methods and models then discussed with our clients and detailed in tender responses to demonstrate how our clients work, whilst reflecting the requirements of the buyer.

PQQ writing for domiciliary care

Completing a PQQ for domiciliary care sector can be challenging, and it is crucial for progressing to the tender stage. Our PQQ writing team specialises in writing domiciliary care PQQs, delivering powerful responses that effectively display our clients’ capabilities. Find out more about PQQ writing for domiciliary care.

The domiciliary care tender process

Like most public sector procurement exercises, the tendering process for domiciliary care and homecare tenders follows a two-stage process:

  • Stage 1: Known as the selection questionnaire, SQ or PQQ, this stage focuses on the provision of company information, compliance checks and experience. Specifically for homecare and domiciliary care tenders, this will normally include providing a CQC registration number/certificate and CQC rating, with some buyers requiring bidders to be rated ‘Good’ as a minimum to be considered.
  • Stage 2: only reviewed when bidders have passed Stage 1, the process typically focuses on how the bidder will deliver the service, with emphasis on the person-centred nature of the service, ensuring continuity and delivery, while maintaining quality.

However, to maximise efficiencies, the process is regularly conducted as one procurement exercise, with Stage 2 only reviewed when a bidder is successful at Stage 1.

At Executive Compass, our team is highly experienced in supporting organisations at both stages with bid management, compliance checks and full bid writing support to ensure a high-quality, competitive submission.

Our domiciliary care tender experience

With a dedicated team of health and social care bid writers, Executive Compass is perfectly placed to write winning care at home tenders. We estimate that we have supported providers to bid successfully for homecare contracts, frameworks or dynamic purchasing systems in almost every local authority area in the UK, including every county council and city council in England, Scotland and Wales. Key successes include:

  • Pan-London AQP for domiciliary care – a high-profile and competitive framework; we supported numerous bidders to gain places and subsequently grow their businesses through home care, discharge to access and NHS continuing healthcare referrals
  • Essex County Council – numerous providers supported to gain places on the Live at Home framework
  • Leicestershire County Council – a large and complex bid, resulting in award of a place on the highly competitive framework
  • West Sussex County Council – a successful submission for the WSCC Care at Home framework, with highly positive evaluation feedback and scoring
  • Aberdeen City Council – supporting a complex consortium of private-sector and third-sector bidders to secure sole supplier status across the entire city of Aberdeen
  • Glasgow City Council – supporting providers to achieve places on the prestigious Care at Home framework, including securing a rank of 1 or 2 for providers’ chosen categories and service user groups
  • Extra care – countless winning submissions for the provision of care and support in extra care housing schemes, assisted living facilities and homecare agencies throughout the UK, including services in the North West, the Midlands and London.

Further contracts we have secured for our clients can be found here.

Key focus areas for domiciliary care tenders

Care at home is a rapidly growing service and to support our domiciliary care clients to continue to produce competitive, persuasive and high-scoring submissions, we remain at the cutting edge of developments in the sector. Over the years, we have supported our clients as commissioners’ focus moves away from time-and-task approaches and towards a greater emphasis on outcomes-led thinking and working, person-centric, empowerment and joined-up working in communities.

Whilst our particular approach on each occasion is fully tailored to the unique priorities of the commissioner and the strengths, assets and models employed by the provider, common themes in domiciliary care tenders include:

  • Person-centred practice – beginning with person-centred planning but then moving into how those plans are converted into delivery, we emphasise methodologies and approaches that ensure each service user’s individuality is recognised and that their care and support is right for them
  • Outcomes-focused working – commissioners expect high levels of detail, clearly outlining how meaningful outcomes will be collaboratively defined and how, in practice, providers will provide care in an enabling way such that outcomes are achieved.
  • Choice, dignity and control – working with service users and individuals in an empowering way that recognises their autonomy – for example, providing them a menu of services and degree of control in choosing their carer.
  • Personalised care plans – buyers will expect you to produce care plans tailored to each service user by consulting with individuals and their support group – including family members – to understand and enable their desired outcomes.
  • Safeguarding – balancing the tenets of empowerment and enablement with the duty to safeguard and protect people from avoidable harm by following relevant legislation, such as The Care Act 2014 and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

Our team can provide your business with support and advice on all aspects of your tender response, ensuring you are successfully covering key criteria.

How to get domiciliary care clients

Central government authorities, local councils and housing associations spent £26.9 billion on health and social care across the UK during the 2022–23 financial year. With the share of the UK population over 65 expected to increase substantially in the coming decades, the number of clients looking for domiciliary care providers will only increase. To retain competitiveness in acquiring and retaining domiciliary care clients, the following applies:

  • Ensure suitably trained and qualified staff: To deliver high-quality services which keep clients coming back, you should ensure that your services are provided by appropriately trained, qualified and experienced carers. This also includes offering continuous professional development opportunities and career advancements for staff who consistently meet targets, supporting high staff satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Achieve or maintain a strong CQC rating: As described in more detail below, clients may choose to limit the number of organisations providing domiciliary care services by their CQC rating. Achieving an ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ rating for your overall service will guarantee you are not precluded from gaining new domiciliary care clients.
  • Gain suitable referees and testimonials: Although word of mouth is a good method of driving business and gaining new clients, formalising your positive feedback into testimonials or client references will further assure clients, service users and family members of your capacity and capability to provide high-quality services. This will also prove helpful in tender exercises, serving as the basis of contract examples and case studies where narrative responses are required.
  • Keep an eye out for opportunities: Public procurement regulations require central and local government authorities (including housing associations) to publish opportunities in a public, centrally accessible location. Conduct periodic checks of Contracts Finder and Find a Tender to ensure you are not missing out on domiciliary care clients in your geographic area.

The public sector remains a crucial avenue for how to acquire domiciliary care clients, particularly for small- to medium-sized businesses. Once you have established a positive relationship with a buyer, this can be used to evidence your experience and open up opportunities for provision of other services – for instance,

Minimum qualifying criteria for domiciliary care tenders

When issuing domiciliary care tenders, public sector buyers and contracting authorities will set minimum qualification criteria to minimise risk and ensure that contracts are won by suitably qualified and accredited organisations.

  • CQC registration and rating: The majority of domiciliary care tenders, framework agreements and dynamic purchasing systems will require you to be registered with the Care Quality Commission as part of assurances that you can deliver the service. Furthermore, the buyer may also choose to restrict eligible bidders by CQC rating – for example, exclusively for organisations who have received an overall ‘Good’ or ‘Requires improvement’ in their most recent inspection. If you are a newer organisation who has yet to be inspected by the CQC, you can request clarification to inquire whether it is still possible to submit a tender.
  • Permanent office or branch: Tenderers may also be required to have a physical footprint within the authority’s administrative region, providing further assurances of service provision. This is typically a non-negotiable element of the qualifying criteria, particularly if you are a homecare agency or operating assisted living facilities in addition to domiciliary care.
  • Evidence of financial stability: To ensure continuity of service delivery and avoid the risk of service providers slipping into insolvency, you may also be required to provide copies of audited accounts, appropriate levels of insurance and minimum levels of turnover to pre-qualify to submit a bid.

Public contract legislation and regulations ensure that any minimum criteria does not unnecessarily exclude small- and medium-sized businesses, meaning you should be able to tender for the contract if you have the correct credentials and good financial standing.

Challenges in the homecare industry

The sector faces national challenges, and these often translate into challenging criteria within the tender process. We work together with bidders to create solution-focused responses, covering topics such as:

  • Recruitment – providing commissioners with the required reassurance that homecare services can be effectively resourced, creatively overcoming sector-wide recruitment challenges – for example, by utilising innovative advertising, referral bonuses or word-of-mouth advertising.
  • Partnership working – with an increased focus on prevention-based approaches to enable service users to remain in their own home, we work with bidders to propose community-focused services which align with the prevent, reduce, delay model laid out in the Care Act 2014 in England, and similar guidelines and legislation across the rest of the UK.
  • Social value/community benefits – criteria relating to social value are becoming increasingly prevalent, and are also carrying increasingly high weightings – in some instances, this can constitute 25% of the total evaluation criteria. Thanks to support from our dedicated division, The Social Value Practice, we can provide tailored guidance and support, specifically for bidders in the health and social care sector, when responding to social value criteria to develop and evidence measures local to their homecare services.

The changing landscape of health and social care means that bidders need to remain continually aware of the latest challenges, as well as the latest opportunities. As much as 40% of Executive Compass’s work comes from health and social care tenders in a typical month, meaning that we have the requisite knowledge, experience and capability to guide you every step of the way.

How Can Executive Compass Help?

Our dedicated team of healthcare bid writers are here to help your business successfully bid for the right domiciliary contracts. With over 14 years’ experience in the healthcare industry, we can help your business navigate the tender process, providing unique support and advice that is tailored to your needs.

Bid and tender support for domiciliary care tenders

We offer several types of bid and tender services, which can be selected based on your level of experience and requirements of the tender opportunity. Executive Compass have supported a range of domiciliary care providers with successful bids, ranging from national organisations to family-run SMEs. In addition to wider bid management support, our services include:

  • Bid and tender writing: You will be assigned to one of our full-time, directly employed bid writers, who will combine their experience with your unique organisational processes and procedures to produce compelling and persuasive responses for the quality element of the tender.
  • Bid and tender review service: Alternatively, if you have internal resource to complete the quality element of the bid, a suitably senior member of staff (typically a quality manager) will conduct a line-by-line review of all content, providing suggestions, enhancements and improvements.
  • Bid writing training: For organisations who are looking to upskill their in-house bid team, we offer bespoke, CPD-certified bid writing courses tailored to your levels of experience, competence, strengths and needs. Beginner, intermediate and advanced levels are available and designed collaboratively with your representatives in advance of sessions.

The quality of our work is guaranteed in accordance with our ISO 9001:2015-certified quality management system, experience in supporting more than 1,000 health and social care PQQ, SQ and ITT submissions, and fully auditable 85% success rate.

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