Submitting tenders for public sector organisations can often be a daunting and challenging process. Suppliers often struggle to increase and maintain win rates, finding their submissions don’t quite hit the mark. We have partnered with the bid toolkit to help suppliers write better bids for public sector contracts. This video and accompanying blog provides an overview to public sector procurement by Jeremy Brim from the bid toolkit.
Why does the public sector have to follow such robust procurement processes? It is an administrative, compliance driven task in comparison to the private sector. It is important that public sector companies have a robust process and a supply chain with credible suppliers who have the capability to deliver.
Firstly looking at public sector procurement in general, public buying organisations need to follow robust procurement processes. But what’s involved?
What’s generally involved in public sector procurement?
- As it stands, firstly an OJEU PIN (prior information notice) will go out signalling intent for market engagement from the public sector body. It helps find out what the market thinks to help scope the public sector bodies offering
- Once the engagement has taken place, a contract notice will be released. They tell you in detail about the opportunity - what the service or product is, where it is required in terms of geography and value type and more. It will allow you to find out further information
- Express your interest to receive a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ). In effect, a PQQ it is a document about your history and credibility to be able to take the service. It asks to provide a series of data such as accounts, insurances, health and safety quality processes and procedures. You may be asked for case studies to demonstrate credibility. Make sure case studies you provide, you can stand by when you get to the tender period i.e make sure they’re real and relevant
- The client will mark them and run credit scores. They will remove suppliers that are none compliant or who don’t meet the criteria
- Those selected to tender will receive their tender submission – the biggest amount of effort is placed here. You will receive a document asking you to cast your mind forward, specifically about how you will deliver or provide the certain service or product. The client will release a specification which you need to demonstrate how you can meet it
- The client will review and score the tender submissions against a criteria. They may be split into component parts where different people review different parts. In time they may ask you to come in and present your proposal face to face, giving you the opportunity to articulate your proposition from your tender. This is not however always required
- A winner from the tenders will be chosen followed by a stand still period. The suppliers who were unsuccessful find out through a letter. At the end of the stand still period (10 days) the contract is awarded, and the winners receive a contracts award letter.
Public Sector Procurement Roles and responsibilities….
Its worth thinking through roles and responsibilities for the process when responding to a tender so that nothing is missed and everyone has a role on the bid. For example, a document publisher, commercial lead, sales lead and sponsor.
Research shows that more than 20% of submissions fail on compliance issues. Bear in mind any bid you submit is an investment decision as it takes up money and time.
Top tips around public sector procurement compliance…
- Highlight key rules and write them into a compliance matrix. Put the compliance matrix on the wall of your room if possible so everyone can see it
- Make a special note of delivery instructions in case you need to get samples or documents across by a certain time
- Write key rules into storyboard templates or note it on flipcharts (such as font size, word counts, page lengths) as anything not within the rules will not be read
- Ensure you structure responses in accordance with the client instructions.