A two-stage procedure that focussed both on experience of similar contracts (requiring evidence) and how this contract would be managed logistically (with limited information provided).
Conflicting information issued by the awarding body leading to late changes being required.
Limited time for telephone interviews with the client (due to their workload).
6,500 words for the SQ and 12,500 words for the ITT
Stage 1 – 100% quality
Stage 2 – 70/30 quality/price
Successful at stage 1 (the SQ), currently awaiting the outcome of stage 2 (the tender)
As with all our existing clients, we continue to send them contract notices that we believe would be of interest to them (based on their previous tendering history, or through discussion with them about their organisational strategy). Following this process, we shared a notice with one of our long-standing London-based security clients who reviewed the documents and was confident in their ability to fulfil the requirements.
The contract was to deliver 24/7 waking watch and security services across residential tower blocks in London on behalf of a social housing provider. Having completed dozens of security tenders, and having worked with this client regularly we were confident in our ability to represent the client and their abilities in a concise and informative narrative. Furthermore, and due to our long-standing relationship, our bid writers were also knowledgeable regarding this client’s previous experience, enabling them to incorporate highly tailored examples, unique to the client, into the narrative responses.
The submission was a two-stage procedure:
- Stage 1 (selection questionnaire) – focussed retrospectively on the client’s ability to successfully deliver similar contracts by using examples and evidence.
- Stage 2 (invitation to tender) – used similar questions/themes as stage 1 such as value for money and management capabilities but reframed the questions to ask how we would achieve and deliver this throughout the contract duration, requiring firm commitments to be made.
This two-stage approach is typically used to narrow down potential applicants by stage 2. When quoting this bid for the client, we therefore reviewed all the contract documents (including the draft documents for stage 2) to ensure that the client was in a position to provide detailed and specific information for responses, mitigating any surprises.
Whilst our writers complete hundreds of tenders annually, there are always challenges depending on the size, scope, timeframe, tender content, and engagement of the client. However, our team of bid writers are trained and highly competent in navigating these types of challenges. For example, as we have worked with this client for many years the client trusts us and our knowledge of his business to produce narrative responses with minimal input from himself. This is a double-edged sword as, whilst it speeds up the writing process, information can become stale and overused, reducing the overall quality and impactfulness of the submission. Kate managed this by arranging short, very specific information collecting calls with the client, talking through specific examples required for the tender and any changes to their processes/systems. By doing this, we were able to keep all information relevant and bespoke, whilst not taking up copious amounts of the client’s time talking through things we already knew, as they had an extremely busy workload.
A second, and somewhat common challenge, was the conflicting/ambiguous information provided by the buyer around the number of buildings that required waking watch services, and the number of staff required. Kate and Victoria noticed this early on when cross-referencing the documents and raised a clarification early in the process, leaving the responses that this impacted on until the buyer provided additional information. This clarity also meant that our client could accurately submit pricing for the contract.
This tender was submitted by our bid writer in November in collaboration with the client. It is therefore still under review by the authority; however, the client expressed his satisfaction at the point of submission and we look forward to working with them again in the future.