Tips to consider while writing your specification
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Tips to consider while writing your specification

20 July 2022 By The YPO Team

Office work using notepad and laptop

Specifications can be both straightforward or complex, depending on the needs. A successful procurement outcome often depends on the specification being an accurate statement of your needs. This blog will explain all you need to know.

What is a specification?

A specification can be defined as a 'statement of needs'. The specification is the most important document within the tender, it provides an accurate statement of what you, the customer, require while also providing the supplier with a description of the goods or services needed to allow them to provide you with accurate pricing.

Here are a few things to consider when writing your specification:

  • A great place to start is by reviewing past specifications and seeing if your needs have changed or if things need to be added to fulfil current and future needs.
  • Ensure consistency and accuracy throughout the specification
  • Make sure you clearly state what you want; we don't want a supplier to assume and read between the lines.
  • Avoid jargon or alternatives; the wording should be precise and unmistakable.
  • Make sure you read over the specification or use a second pair of eyes to read it as they might notice something that can easily be missed by the person submitting the specification.

Here's what you might want to avoid when writing a specification:

  • Unclear or undescriptive specifications can lead to submissions from suppliers that don't fully fit your needs.
  • Don't over-specify as this can narrow your specification and exclude suppliers.
  • Make sure the specification isn't written to favour one supplier over another.
  • E.g. Don't specify brands of products to be used as not all suppliers may use that brand.
  • Don't send an old specification without reviewing your requirements to see if they've changed or need updating.

We've included a few examples of what you should think about including a specification:

IT Requirements:

  • Futureproof – ensure that the specification is futureproofed in case requirements change. 
  • you might have to increase or decrease the number of devices etc.
  • Supplier engagement – engage with the market to help you understand the technology and
  • help define your requirements.
  • Timescales – Do you have a project implantation plan? Does the provision need to be installed/delivered by a specific date etc.? Does the supplier need to provide a project plan as
  • Part of their bid?

Facilities Management Requirements:

  • Legislation – Include what legislation your organisation requires and what accreditations they need of their providers, particularly for services such as Grounds Maintenance, e.g. PPP certificates for pesticide use.
  • Insurance - Any specific levels of insurance, e.g. motor insurance if your school requires it.
  • If you need to incorporate any particular licences, e.g. waste carrier licences, motor vehicle licences etc.
  • Check that the provider has a warranty and/or guarantee for any work carried out (this isn't included within the DPS application process (meaning we don't ask providers to guarantee any work). Customers need to be aware – more so for short-term works, or works only, not so much with a Service contract as maintenance is usually included in these)
  • Factor in fixed pricing for the whole contract term, not just the first year and taking into account living allowance wage increases per year.

We've put together a small list of other points to consider:

  • Integrations
  • Current specifications, if not new
  • Number of users
  • Licences
  • Volumes relating to use
  • Number of sites
  • Availability
  • BCP
  • Support pre/implementation and post


Categories: Frameworks

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