Comprising 16 delegates and spread across three half-day sessions, the course first focused on establishing a basic understanding of the tender process and associated procedures, before moving on to developing effective strategies for producing high-quality bid and tender responses.
In accordance with the client’s requirements, all training sessions were delivered via Microsoft Teams. This allowed delegates working remotely to engage and benefit from interactive and task-based training sessions around public procurement regulations, navigating and interpreting tender documents, and drafting effective, compelling and persuasive tender responses.
Technical Director Matthew Walker has been delivering training sessions for nine years, and has previously supported hundreds of organisations to upskill their internal resource in bid and tender writing – allowing them to expand their client base and win key public and private sector contracts through the procurement process. He is also NEPO’s approved partner for their Supplier Partnership Programme, delivering bid and tender writing training sessions to North East businesses interested in expanding their client base through the tender process.
Our client had previously engaged our bid writing and social value services for tender support on several occasions, gaining insight into the quality of our work and ‘best practice’ processes and procedures. However, they were looking to increase their bidding activity, and believed tailored training sessions for key personnel to be the most cost-effective solution.
To deliver effective, practical and bespoke training which aligned with our client’s requirements, Matthew:
- Thoroughly researched the client to determine their internal bidding experience and ‘maturity’, previous opportunities which aligned with their bidding strategy and the frequency of bids in the future.
- Analysed feedback from previous submissions to understand the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of our client’s internal bid writing resource – further tailoring the overall programme to the client.
- Produced two separate training sessions with varying depth, breadth and subject matter appropriate to the delegates involved.
- Included practical examples and tender feedback to develop written and analytical skills, facilitating a further understanding of what a strong and competitive tender submission looks like.
Level 1 training – beginners’ level
The first level of training was split across two half-day sessions, minimising the risk of ‘training fatigue’ for our clients’ delegates. Topics for delegates included the following:
- Introduction and practical definitions for key tendering terminology, such as selection questionnaire, single procurement document, standstill period and framework agreement.
- History of the legal framework behind the public sector tender process and relevant procurement legislation, such as the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and explanation of Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/20 and PPN 11/20.
- Different formats of tender procedures, including the open procedure, restricted procedure, competitive dialogue and innovation partnership – explaining the differences and requirements for each.
- Understanding the requirements of a compliant bid, in addition to how to efficiently navigate the tender documents to ensure there are no gaps or omissions – for example, items marked ‘for information only’ could still require a firm response.
To close, Matthew introduced some quality management tactics in accordance with our own ISO 9001:2015-accredited quality management system, such as the use of a dedicated bid matrix for each project, producing and maintaining an effective bid library, and how to properly utilise model answers during a live tender exercise.
Level 2 training – intermediate level
The second level of training focussed on developing a deeper understanding of how to create high-quality submissions and improve writing techniques, thereby increasing the client’s tender success rate. To achieve this, Matthew gave specific advice around:
- Breaking down the question into constituent parts to ensure you know precisely what the evaluation committee will be looking for, and subsequently content which will be awarded marks.
- How to incorporate different forms of content into a response, including feedback and testimonials from clients, case studies aligning with the question, tables and diagrams, and images where appropriate.
- Advanced writing techniques, advising client delegates on what to avoid (e.g. weasel words, passive language and excessive abbreviations) in addition to what to include, such as evidence-based examples, specific quantitative figures and including persuasiveness.
- Organising quality responses to focus on benefits to the purchasing authority by using differentiators, advantages and discriminators to stand out from other bidder organisations.
The session concluded with a recap of the question-and-answer session, allowing delegates to clarify key points and knowledge going forward.
Following the end of the sessions, our client’s main representative made contact to thank Matthew for providing a structured, informative and comprehensive training content. Since the training sessions, they have seen an increase in successful tender submissions, thanks to adhering to the techniques found within the training content. The Level 1 training has also enabled them to further develop and refine identification of suitable opportunities, supporting a strong and informed ‘bid/no-bid’ decision.