Here at Millstream we speak to public sector suppliers every day both new and old and it is staggering just how many do not have a documented strategy that outlines how they should decide which tenders to bid on. Often is it left to the Bid Manager or another individual to sift through the notices and decide what to bid on. These are the same organisations that devote time and money every year to developing detailed sales and marketing plans but fail to put the same spotlight on tendering. So, why not have a documented approach to tendering to help guide your organisation to success? Continue reading “Deciding what to bid for – less effort, more success!”
The most common question that we get from Tenders Direct customers is: ‘What rights do we have once we put in a bid?’
The answer to that is dependent on what stage of the process the supplier is at and the rights for both stages are listed below:
For the PQQ
Questions should only be asked of your company and not your potential solution (It should be about selection of suppliers and not an evaluation of your product).
Buyers have a legal requirement to notify candidates eliminated at the PQQ stage “as soon as reasonably practicable”.
Bidding can be both pressurised and also rewarding for suppliers to the public sector. There are many concerns for suppliers during this time such as completing all the relevant documents to meet the deadline, getting adequate responses from the buyers on the Q&A or that the process is being run fairly. Poor procurement practice by the buyers may go unnoticed under these circumstances and many suppliers are reticent to raise a challenge and risk future contract opportunities. So what happens when you realise there are potential issues? The Mystery Shopper Service offers a solution to this problem.
A Brief Overview
The Mystery Shopper Service aims to tackle any concerns suppliers (particularly SMEs) may have regarding poorly conducted procurement processes which they have been part of on behalf of the suppliers. The service welcomes questions at any stage of the Continue reading “The Mystery Shopper Service”
A lot of potential suppliers to the public sector are put off by the amount of work it takes to become tender ready and what seems to be a chicken and egg situation where you need references to pass the PQQ (selection) stage but can’t get references until you win a contract!
The changes to the procurement regulations this year have made in roads to this situation with the abolition of PQQs for below threshold contracts and the removal of the burden of proof for above threshold contracts but there are a number of steps SMEs (and all organisations new to public sector tendering) can take to get a foot in the door and start supplying to the public sector. Continue reading “Little fish in a bid pond? How SMEs can break into public sector procurement.”
This blog covers the remedies directive for the public sector and when/how you can raise a challenge against a contracting authority.
The EU Remedies Directive was created in 2007 and transposed into UK law with the updated Public Contracts Regulations in 2009. The Directive brought in two very clear and important changes for suppliers to be aware of which were:
- a right to challenge the buyer if a contract is entered into before the compulsory standstill period has ended (standstill being the minimum 10 day period where buyers notify all bidders of the intended outcome before contracts can begin); and
- an automatic right to challenge an award decision and have the contract cancelled or modified if there has been any breach of the wider procurement rules.
In addition, the 2009 Regulations introduced a number of other changes, including: Continue reading “How do you challenge a buyer when you feel the procurement is flawed?”
In our blog about election manifestos one thing that was clear is that all the main parties feel that involvement of SMEs in procurement is the key to economic growth. The current Government set a target of 25% of all Central Governments spend to be with SMEs when it came to power in 2010 and it met this target in the 2013-2014 financial year. Framework agreements represent around 45% of procurements in the UK and compared to other EU nations the UK uses this type the most. The purpose of this blog is to explain how important framework agreements can be for SMEs.
Tackling a pre-qualification questionnaire for the first time can be a daunting task, which is why we have asked our top consultants for their top do’s and don’ts for answering PQQs.
Tip 1 – read, think, read, write
Read the question carefully and answer as clearly as you can. Think about your answer before you start writing and re-read the question when you are working on it to make sure what you have written fits in. Within reason give the required answer and clarify, rather than the “wrong” answer and clarify, just in case the initial sift is done by a computer, and remember to always give a full and honest clarification.
Tip 2 – mirror, mirror
Pick out key words in the tender documents (instructions, evaluation criteria etc.). What are they really looking for? Connect your company’s abilities to the requirement and mirror the language to make it easy for the evaluator to connect the dots.
Tip 3 – know the right flow
Don’t try and get around word limits or sizes – do what is being asked of you and do not include attachments that have not been requested as they will not be evaluated. Ease of reading, substance and content are of higher value than cosmetic/creative presentation, so make sure the words flow well together and check frequently for spelling and grammatical errors.
Tip 4 – get the right fit
Don’t cut and paste from previous scored answers, they may have scored highly on your last PQQ but it doesn’t guarantee a high score this time. Tailor your response to meet the exact question requirements and the buyer’s strategic aims where possible.
Tip 5 – save the selling for the bid
Remember the PQQ is about capacity, experience and ability – it is not about the solution at this stage so don’t try and put “sales talk” into your responses. Relax, be yourself and answer the question being asked. Do not be afraid to highlight your firms strengths, especially where they connect with the requirement, just make sure not to over-do it. A good method is to include a solid testimonial quote from a happy client that is short but adds strength to your response.
Do you have any tips that didn’t make our list? Share them with us in the comments below.
To learn more about how our training courses can equip you with the knowledge to create a striking PQQ – Click Here.
Be honest, could your win rate be improved? Are you struggling to hit your revenue targets? Are you new to PQQ and Bidding and need a helping hand? Continue reading “2014 PQQ & Bid Writing Workshops, London and Manchester now available”
The Audit Commission study found more than three quarters of all fraud was detected by one quarter of councils, and 79 per cent of district councils detected no non-benefit fraud at all. The number of fraud cases detected by local authorities fell to 107,000 cases with a total value of £178 million in 2012-13, but with an overall 15 per cent increase in the average value per case to £1,664.
An OJEU contract notice for G-Cloud 4 has now been published and those interested in participating in the procurement process have until the 23rd September to submit bids. G-Cloud provides access to commodity, cloud-based services. Continue reading “G Cloud 4 now open.”