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In September 2016, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) released a new standard selection questionnaire (SSQ) to replace the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ).

This document now forms a vital part of the procurement process, and its correct completion is central to passing through to the tender evaluation stage. Some authorities do still use the PQQ terminology and document, however it is likely you will come across the standard selection questionnaire if you regularly bid for contracts.

What does the SSQ involve?

The questions in the SSQ have been developed to ensure compliance with the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD). Its overall purpose is to streamline the supplier selection process, especially for SMEs. Although there are many similarities with the PQQ, many of the questions have been refined and simplified.


The SSQ is divided into three distinct parts:

Part 1

Request basic company information, such as name and bidding model, for example, and whether you are part of a wider group and have any parent companies.

Part 2

This section requires you to self-certify you comply with the selection criteria, such as required levels of insurance. You must also confirm that none of the mandatory exclusions apply to you, for example, having committed criminal offences.

Part 3

Within this section, there will be a number of questions specific to the services you are bidding to deliver.

Suppliers who successfully pass the standard selection questionnaire are then shortlisted, and progress through to the tender phase. It is of central importance that all the information supplied is accurate, as just one wrong box ticked can lead to failure at this stage. Completing the form incorrectly could cut short your opportunity to tender for the contract.

How can we help with the standard selection questionnaire?

That’s where we come in. Having completed hundreds of PQQs and standard selection questionnaires since the official release in September 2016, we are experienced in completing these documents for a very wide range of different industries and sectors. We can help you to complete all three sections. We will also review the entire document meticulously to make sure every single self-certification or text box has been filled in perfectly, and that the supporting narrative is robust and persuasive.

Help, support & guidance will be provided, in terms of:

  • Reviewing the documentation to decide whether to bid –Our writers will study the specifications, framework agreements, and other contract documentation for each opportunity. This allows us to summarise any mandatory criteria or terms and conditions. We will present you with the facts, and help you to decide whether your company is eligible to bid for the opportunity, to ensure that your money is not wasted.
  • Completing basic information –Using our research capabilities, we will make the process as simple as possible. Utilising Companies House and other online resources, we can complete most of the basic information without any input from you, meaning that some of the more mundane aspects of the SSQ are largely taken off your hands.
  • High quality narrative –Some of the contract-specific questions, primarily those in Part 3 of the SSQ document, do require a certain amount of narrative content. Our writers generate exceptional written responses, day in, day out, and will work with you to really capture the essence of your organisation. All narrative is quality assured in-house, then proofread externally to guarantee a flawless finished product.

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    Support & Guidance

    You will be assigned a single point of contact, one of our directly employed writers, who will communicate with you in an accessible and approachable way.

    Our skilled writers have excellent knowledge and understanding of the tendering process, and will help with:

    •  Navigating electronic procurement portals
    • Finding appropriate opportunities
    • Expressing an interest
    • Downloading and interpreting tender documents
    • Filling in the forms

    We will support you throughout the entire process, regardless of your previous experience. Whether you have completed multiple tenders in the past and just need help completing the new SSQ document, or whether you have never completed a PQQ before, our professional bid writers will support you every step of the way. Following a successful outcome, we will then help steer you through to the tender stage.

    We regularly support and integrate into existing bid teams, to provide additional resource. Helping you to complete your standard selection questionnaire document or tender document can sometimes allow your bid writers to focus on other bid opportunities.

    Our ISO 9001:2015-certified quality assurance systems will guarantee that the service you receive is of an exceptional standard of quality. In addition, we have a fully auditable >80% success rate across over 4,000 PQQs, SSQs and tenders, demonstrating a wealth of experience supporting clients to progress through to the tender evaluation stage.

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