Tenders… is your eye on the ball?

29 Jul, 2013

I’d never really had to much to do with tenders or tender writing, until I joined ISO Quality Services Ltd.  We’d had a couple of tenders to complete so we could apply to be the providers of private companies ISO Standards.  On the other side of it, most tenders require an audit trail/Quality Management System in place, that’s where we come in.  We can provide ISO Certification to companies that apply for tenders which require the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Standard in place.

At the beginning of July, at the crack of dawn, I attended a tender breakfast seminar held by the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.  I was unsure on what or how much detail the course would provide, however I was very much surprised.  I found the seminar to be presented by someone not only who had relevant experience, approachable and there to help!  A rare quality to find in presenters.

The Tendering Timeline for Public Sectors

  • Advert
  • Expression of Interest – EOI
  • PQQ
  • ITT
  • Tender Submission
  • Bid Clarification
  • Presentations
  • Evaluation
  • Decision
  • Award Contract Start

They are allowed to extend deadlines on tenders; they are NOT allowed to reduce them.

There is usually a cooling off period of 10 days from when the decision has been made to when the contract starts.  This is usually for companies who have not won the tender the opportunity to claim foul play or ask any questions.

Just started looking at tenders and not sure where to start?  Have a look at these top tips for filling in tenders:

  • There are public and private tenders.
  • Public tenders usually come from organisations such as councils, schools, universities, government services and NHS trusts.
  • You have to bespoke tenders – it is no good copy and pasting from existing tenders/quotations you have already filled in.
  • If the tender information pack has information sent with it about company, make sure you include this in tender, as this is how you score points.
  • If the organisation you are tendering has a mission statement on its website, make sure you add bits of the statement into the tender – you will score points.
  • Local authorities talk to each other, they can refer you to apply for a tender.
  • Procurement Officers are bound to give you feedback, depending on the Procurement Officer depends on the amount of feedback you get.  Always call do NOT email.
  • Case studies offer – added value, and can make your company appear more attractive.  Make sure the case studies are relevant to the tender you are applying for.
  • You may be asked to say why you are a better supplier, than the supplier already with the contract.  If they give you a work count, make sure you do not go over it.
  • Don’t waste time at ‘Expression of Interest’ stage – just call and ask for information pack.
  • If you are thinking should I go for this tender – always think to yourself…. Can I prove my product?  Can I prove my case studies?  Can I deliver my product?
  • Understand the scoring – if they don’t tell you on the tender, ring and ask, in most cases they will send it to you.  Most tenders usually use a weighting system.
  • If you get further than the PQQ you are probably amongst the 5 or 6 of which the one will be chosen.  If you can, try find out who the other 5 or 6 are.
  • Method Statement & Case Studies carry the high points.
  • Watch out for PASS/FAIL questions – if you fail on a question, then this will be the end of the tender process for your company.
  • In some cases Tender/Procurement Officers are now using credit scoring companies.
  • In some cases Insurance cover can now be a PASS/FAIL question.
  • If the tender value you are applying for is a certain percentage of your turnover – you could FAIL.

If the above information has been as useful as it was me to me, then I’m glad.  I found the morning to be insightful and to the point.  If you want to know more about tenders contact the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce where you can opt in to their service to receive tender alerts, or you could attend a more in depth course like this one – Bid & Tender management – 21st & 22nd August 2013 (2 day)

If you’re applying for a tender and do not have ISO in place – we can help you!

Once you have started the 6-8 week ISO Certification process with us we are able to offer a ‘To Whom it May Concern Letter’ to advise the tender that you are in the process.  For more details contact us at admin@isoqsltd.com or call 01905 670303

*Source – Brent Warren/Birmingham Chamber of Commerce


ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.

Do you want to get ahead of your competition? Win more tenders or save time and money on reoccurring issues? Contact us today on 0330 058 5551 or email info@isoqsltd.com.

Alternatively, you can request a quote by filling out our enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

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