Tag: PQQ

Your Rights as a Supplier

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”.

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Little fish in a bid pond? How SMEs can break into public sector procurement.

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.”

2015 Procurement Regulations – Changes to the PQQ Stage – What Suppliers need to know.

As part of our series of blogs on the 2015 Procurement Regulations, we are going to look at the main changes to the two common stages in procurement – the PQQ stage in this blog and in a couple of days we will look at the ITT stage. It is important to know what changes you can expect and how you need to prepare for them if you are a supplier to the public sector.

The most important changes to the PQQ stage in the new regulations are:   

A turnover cap has been introduced to facilitate SME participation. Contracting authorities will not be able to set company turnover requirements at more than two times the contract value, except where there is a specific justification. This will be of benefit to a lot of suppliers but given the point made in our previous blog about contracting authorities not being mandated to break contracts down into lots this means you must have a turn over circa £223K (unless the contract is being broken down into lots) which will still inhibit a lot of smaller or newly established companies from competing.  In any case, from today make sure all contracts you are applying for follow this rule to open up as many doors as possible. If the turn over requirement is more than two times the contract value then ask why – there may be justification but it might just be an error that the procurement team can rectify, giving you the opportunity to compete for the business. Continue reading “2015 Procurement Regulations – Changes to the PQQ Stage – What Suppliers need to know.”

Standardised PQQ’s – So what is the standard anyway?

I agree with standardised PQQ’s about as much as I agree with world peace; great in principal, but is it a reality? Okay, so maybe it is a touch dramatic to compare PQQ’s to world peace, but standardising PQQ’s will be a colossal mission- can it be done? I asked the question on Twitter a few weeks back, “What annoys you most about PQQ’s” and we got the same answer – Repetition. So can it be done? Here a look at some of the (my) pros and cons.
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Is scrapping PQQ’s really a good idea?

The Cabinet Office under Francis Maude, has announced that it intends to eliminate PQQs (Pre-Qualification Questionnaires) for all central government procurements under £100,000.

While I hate filling these things in and find that they are frequently lazily or incompetently written and just as often poorly evaluated, they do fulfil a useful purpose. That is, they avoid the need for suppliers who stand little chance of winning the contract, to complete the full tender document, as well as the need for the buyer to evaluate the full tender from a multitude of suppliers.

I fear that the main result from scrapping the PQQ is that we (the suppliers) end up having to spend many days or weeks completing a full tender, instead of a day or so completing a PQQ, which will then be even more incompetently evaluated by the buyer, as they have a much greater volume to assess.

Surely what is required is a reform of the PQQ process and training to ensure that procurement staff understand what they are doing, rather than engaging in a box ticking exercise? We seem to be throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Getting feedback at the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) stage

Chart illustrating proportion of open, restricted, competitive dialogue and negotiated tendering procedures used in the UK and Europe

One of the most frequent questions we are asked at Tenders Direct is ‘Am I entitled to feedback if I get knocked out at the PQQ stage?‘ This is a very important question as pre-qualification is used much more often in the UK than in the rest of Europe. The chart below shows the relative proportion that each of the four main tender procedures (Open, Restricted, Competitive Dialogue or Negotiated) was used in the UK and in Europe.

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Avoiding Risky Business

I recently attended our latest training courses on completing PQQs and Bid Writing. One of the messages I picked up was that the public sectors’ evaluation of suppliers is a lot like a risk assessment exercise.  Public sector authorities have to be scrupulous when spending tax-payers’ money.  They have to balance various priorities, including quality, budget, delivery, timescales, policies on equality, sustainability, supporting SMES and local businesses, and abiding by the relevant regulations, while also avoiding the risk of anything going wrong during the course of the contract.

So, as a supplier going through the tendering process, your task is not only to demonstrate to the purchasing authority that you can provide the requirement (and more if possible), but also that you can mitigate any risks that might be involved.

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Not winning any contracts?

Are you going for lots of tender opportunities but finding that you just can’t seem to get a look in?  Could you be guilty of bidding “blind”?

I sometimes get the sense that businesses new to public sector tenders (or sometimes even those with years of experience) think that on submitting a PQQ or a Bid,  as long as they’ve made some sort of submission, they’re in with as much  chance as anyone at  getting into the next round or winning the contract outright.  A bit like hoping your lottery numbers come up on a Saturday night or sending out reams of speculative CV’s on the hunt for a new job.

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How to score with PQQs

PQQs (Pre-Qualification Questionnaires) are issued by awarding authorities, as part of a restricted procedure, in order to short-list suitable suppliers before inviting them to tender.  Suppliers are assessed according to pre-set criteria based around financial position, ability to deliver, quality standards, and the company’s policies on health and safety, sustainability and equal opportunities.

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You are only as good as your Last Tender

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.

Continue reading “You are only as good as your Last Tender”

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