One of the best ways to improve your tender and PQQ (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire) submissions is to learn from the mistakes and merits of your previous efforts. You can do this by requesting feedback on your performance during the tender process from the awarding authority.
If the tender comes under the EU procurement directives, then the public sector organisation is required to provide suppliers with feedback at the beginning of the standstill period, i.e. before they award the contract. You can also ask for more general feedback and they are obliged to respond within 15 days of the request.
For contracts that do not come under the EU procurement regulations, purchasing authorities are not required, but are strongly encouraged by OGC good practice guidelines, to provide feedback to suppliers.
Feedback can be helpful not only for suppliers, but it can be useful for the awarding authority too; it will improve the quality of the submissions they have to evaluate, and as a result could lead to better value for money. It may also highlight any problems with the procurement process so that they can improve their procedures.
But when has life ever been that simple?
Many suppliers complain of not getting any response from authorities. This blog post was initially going to be about highlighting that authorities, in many cases, are required to provide feedback and for suppliers to be persistent in getting it. But, after a little more thought, I decided that encouraging suppliers to pester authorities isn’t necessarily the best way to improve communications between purchasers and suppliers, or improve a supplier’s chance of winning contracts with that authority again in the future.
We shouldn’t tar all authorities with the same brush, I am sure some are very good at providing quality feedback. Also, I suspect that not all the blame can be laid at the door of the authorities; perhaps suppliers become disillusioned and give up requesting feedback?
So, although it is important that suppliers know whether they are entitled to feedback, the main point of this blog has become – if you don’t ask, you don’t get!