Failing to prepare, preparing to fail

Failing to prepare, preparing to fail

Its no simple task writing a winning tender submission, and a lot of work can be done well in advance of the release of a tender submission to ensure that you have ‘all of your ducks in a row’ and you are not scrabbling to create and collate evidence requested in the tender return.

So what can you do to help you prepare for writing a tender submission? We have created a quick checklist of items you can be busy bringing up to standard well in advance of the issuing of the ITT.

Policies and Procedures

Its not enough to simply have a policy in place these days; evaluators will actually open up these documents and read them! Not only do you need to ensure that are legislatively compliant but you need to make sure they reflect best practise and properly showcase your capabilities. Risk assessments and method statements are very important, as local authorities are naturally risk averse and will not want to award responsibility of delivering works or a service on their behalf if you cannot demonstrate you have proper systems in place for managing and mitigating risk.

Evidence Evidence Evidence

I know readers out there must be tired of me singing the importance of evidence when writing a winning tender submission, but it is so important you have it in your arsenal. It was once enough to win contracts on promises alone with nothing to back them up (apart from maybe a handshake on a golf course). With legislation paving the way from transparency in the procurement process the competitiveness when evaluating has reinforced the need to have evidence of capability and competency in place.

If we have two contractors promising the same service level, and one has: KPIs, examples and case studies of where they have delivered it before, with training certificates of staff who will be delivering the service; whereas the other simply promises the world with no cited proof of their ability to do so.. which one do you think the council will choose? Use your time to gather this evidence and have it ready to use throughout your tender return.

Research the authority and opportunity

Not enough is said about researching your potential client, and the opportunity that you wish to pursue. Local authorities have a wealth of information on their values, strategic aims and objectives which you can use to really flavour and tailor your tender return and make it unique to their needs. Clients like to feel special. So you make them feel so by doing your digging and reflect your findings in your quality response.

If you feel that the above is too much of a daunting task, do not be afraid! We are here to help you get yourself ready and we are also expert bid writers ready to take on the process of writing a high quality tender response using all of the above! Feel free to contact us today for a no obligation chat on how we can help you secure your next big public sector contract.

Tower Hamlets Opportunity

Tower Hamlets Opportunity

We have identified an opportunity tendered by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. This opportunity is perfectly suited to healthcare providers based in London with experience of providing programmes of day activities for adults with learning disabilities and with complex healthcare needs. The deadline here is the 17th January 2020.

A bidders’ event is being held on the 26th November 2019 (11:00), although attendance is not mandatory and will not affect your submission. The opportunity is divided into 4 Lots and bidders are invited to bid for any or all of these. The total value of the opportunity is £11,800,000 and a breakdown of this across the Lots is provided below.

Lot 1 focuses on providing a programme of activities for adults with learning disabilities. These activities require people to participate in by themselves or in a group and need to be delivered at a range of locations. Indoor and outdoor activities must be included, with the aim of developing individual’s cognition, life skills, employability, physical health, mental health and social skills.

Lot 1 Value:  £8,000,000 Weighting: Quality 60% / Price 40% Duration in months: 48

Lot 2 has a similar aim although more focus is placed on the support to enable people with learning disabilities to partake in mainstream community activities. Again these need to be delivered at a range of locations but will require the provider to work with the mainstream community activity providers to develop the best support.

Lot 2 Value: £1,000,000 Weighting: Quality 60% / Price 40% Duration in months: 48

The focus of Lot 3 is on the provision of single activities and clubs which includes peer-led activities. These activities would be on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.

Lot 3 Value: £200,000 Weighting: Quality 60% / Price 40% Duration in months: 48

The focus of Lot 4 is to provide day centre support for those with learning disabilities but also autism and complex needs. The provider will need to develop a structured, flexible programme of centre-based individual and group activities. The aim of these will be to develop their skills and support their participation in the community.

Lot 4 Value: £2,600,000 Weighting: Quality 60% / Price 40% Duration in months: 48

If you are a London-based healthcare provider and believe you have the experience and capacity to deliver one or any of these services, we have provided a link to the opportunity here. If you need support with any part of your submission, please contact our team of expert bid writers.

LPC whole house refurbishment Dynamic Purchasing System Published

LPC whole house refurbishment Dynamic Purchasing System Published

LHC has published a whole house refurbishment DPS for use by all of through clients throughout the UK. LHC was originally established by the London boroughs in 1966 but since then has grown and now operates across the UK. Currently over 700 public organisations have access to their frameworks so this is a fantastic opportunity to grow your organisation and work with new public sector organisations if you deliver one of the services detailed within the recently published contract notice.

LHC are a not for profit organisation who returns any surpluses from the levies they charge back to the contracting authorities who access their frameworks. Importantly, they are also keen support social value initiatives in the areas in which their contracting authorities work, and donate these levies back to support them. When writing a construction tender response in the public sector it is imperative that you can evidence your ability to deliver social value and to also match the Charters, aims and pledges of the authority you are tendering to.

Anyway, I digress! This opportunity is split into five separate categories that construction and Refurbishment Contractors can bid for. They are allowed to bid for single works categories or all five, if they wish. These are:

1) Kitchens and bathrooms and associated works;

2) Landscaping;

3) Electrical works;

4) Painting and decoration;

5) Heating Services

6) Multi disciplinary.

Lot one primarily consists of installing kitchens, bathrooms, plastering, painting and decorating, tiling, joinery etc. Lot two can also include hard landscaping such as footpaths and even parking bays – beyond typical gardens/greenspaces etc. Lot 3 is primarily for rewiring and upgrading the electrical systems but also makes for the inclusion of renewable energy solutions such as solar panels etc. Lot 4 not only includes painting and decorating but also brickwork repairs in preparation for painting. Lot 5 is for works relating to boilers and full central heating solutions and again makes a provision for renewable solutions. Lot 6 is what it says on the tin, all of the above!

It is clear that this is going to be an immensely competitive framework, due to the sheer size and scope of works that are going to be made available on it, and the amount of contracting authorities that have access to it once it goes live. This is precisely why you need an expert bid writing service, delivered by a team of professional bid writers who have experience in winning places on large frameworks such as this. We have won hundreds of millions of pounds worth of contracts in this area, we know what needs to be written to win a place on this contract.

Repair, Maintain and Improve Across Lancashire with this Tender Opportunity

Repair, Maintain and Improve Across Lancashire with this Tender Opportunity

Yet more exciting news in the UK facilities management sector this morning, or is it construction? or is it both? neither? (I think it’s actually both)

Admittedly it’s difficult to differentiate and pigeonhole opportunities like this one, which Lancashire County Council have simply called Reactive and Planned Improvement Works. The value of the framework is an eye watering £120 Million over 2 years! The opportunity has been split into the following lots:

  1. Building Contractors for Reactive and Planned Improvement Works up to 10 000 GBP
  2. Building contractors for planned improvement works from £10k to £100k
  3. Building contractors for planned improvement works from £100k
  4. Plumbing, small scale domestic mechanical building services, reactive works and planned improvement works up to £10k
  5. Mechanical Building Services planned improvement works from £10k to £60k
  6. Mechanical Building Services planned improvement works from £60k
  7. Small-scale electrical building services reactive works and planned improvement works, up to £10k
  8. Electrical Building Services planned improvement works from £10k to £60k
  9. Electrical Building Services planned improvement works from £60k
  10. Fencing & Gates
  11. Flooring
  12. Roofing & Guttering
  13. Painting and Decorators (interior and exterior)
  14. Windows and Doors
  15. Pest Control
  16. Drainage

Due to the value of works under framework lots 3, 6 and 9, the council requires bidders to have a minimum turnover of £3million per annum to apply. Its fair to say that this framework will be immensely competitive to secure a place on, and future works will also be competitive due to the Mini-competition process the council will use to award packages under each lot.  This is precisely why you should invest in utilising a specialist bid writing resource such as our team at Bid and Research Development. We know what it takes to produce a winning bid. Its not enough to simply be able to delivery a high quality service, you need to be able to evidence this within the written narrative within your quality submission.

We saw a fantastic bit of evaluation criteria published last week by a local council which used the following to describe what they though of as an Excellent response to the questions they were asking in their tender return:

  • Specification: Specification may be enhanced by Tenderers approach. Responses may add value and contain some innovation.
    • We preach this to our clients all the time – you need to be able to go above and beyond the specification, provide more for less or innovate to impress!
  • Detail: An impressive level of explicit detail which clearly evidences that the Tenderer can fulfil Contracting Bodies’ needs.
    • The devil is in the detail and no one wants to read something that is not relevant, basic or is even incomplete.
  • Compliance: Tenderer indicates compliance with a high level of evidence of ability to meet needs, including a high quality of Contracting Bodies specific detail.
    • Yes! Evidenced-based tendering is the only way to truly demonstrate your ability to meet the needs of the council, and to be able to deliver to the standards they require.
  • Competency: Excellent evidence of competency
    • Evidence of competency can be given in many ways. We love to draw out detail in he form of snappy examples and longer case studies showing the authority that you have done it before, to a high standard, and previously added value.

We know we are well-placed to help organisations in the northwest produce winning tender submissions for this framework. We do not work for two competing organisations so if you would like our help you should contact us as soon as possible before our exclusivity is snapped up by someone else.

The Importance of Clarity

The Importance of Clarity

Across all sectors it’s important to make sure your responses are written in a way which makes your point clear and leaves no room for doubt in the tenderer’s mind. Since you should never assume that the tenderer is an industry expert, you can never expect the tenderer to be familiar with everything you’re saying. In the Healthcare sector there is no shortage of industry-specific terminology and abbreviations, meaning you must be clear about what you’re saying and signpost when necessary. Below are some examples demonstrating how some terms can cause confusion if they are not defined in a response…

Care Plan- although this may be self-explanatory, you might need to specify that this is the plan of care developed using the results of an assessment of an individual’s diagnosis. If your Care Plans may differ from other provider’s (e.g. by considering living conditions) then clarify this in your response.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)- the abbreviation will likely be defined by the context around it, although CPR as the emergency procedure most TV viewers are aware of may be mistaken for…

Computer-based Patient Record (CPR)- the integrated electronic system continuing all patient information. Define what you mean the first time an abbreviation is used to prevent any unnecessary loss of marks.

National Health Service (NHS)- it would be safe to assume all healthcare tenderers will have a very clear understanding of what you’re referring to here.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)- specialist hospital wards providing treatment for seriously ill people. Even in this case where ICU will be referring to intensive care, CCU (Critical Care Unit) and ITU (Intensive Therapy Unit) can also be used in its place.

The abundance of terminology and abbreviations can create a minefield for mistakes when writing your responses. The key point here is to assume they know nothing, and by using this philosophy you will avoid losing any unnecessary marks, making your success more likely. With a bid success rate of 94% we have a clear understanding of how to make sure our responses are clear. If you need any support with your tenders in this sector or any other, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.

Working with the Specification

Working with the Specification

Producing a high scoring tender submission within the Education and Training sector can be challenging. You may have the experience and resources to deliver the contract, but if you cannot show this through your tender- the buyer will not know how amazing you are!

Bidding can be difficult; there is an urge to put down everything that you have done- all the amazing contracts delivered, your amazing team and staffing structure, your amazing client testimonials and how you plan to use all of this amazing experience to deliver an amazing contract!

However…..

If this information doesn’t answer the questions that the buyer is asking- then it’s no good! Wanting to show the buyer everything you have done is often too much of a temptation, but it is important to really read the questions and understand from the specification what the buyer needs and is looking to see in your tender submission. Tailoring the content to what the buyer is looking for is a key skill within tender writing, rather than telling them what you want to tell them. One way to combat this temptation and urge to write down everything is working closely with the specification. Before even planning on writing your response, make sure you have thoroughly read through the specification and supporting documents to understand exactly who the buyer is, what they want, how they want it to be delivered and what experience they want to see within the submission.

Do your research!

The education and training sector is highly competitive- so producing a bid which highlights your best qualities and relevant experience is crucial. Localise your submission; research who the buyer is, if it is a submission for a local authority then research the area and if you have experience in that area- then use it! Look at the buyer’s aims and values- for most local authorities and councils these can be found on their website. Tailor your response to include the values of the buyer to show that you are committed to delivering training which is in line with their aims. Through working closely with the specification and understanding who the buyer are and what they require; you can produce a tender which is relevant, answers all of the questions and allows you to highlight your experience.

Opportunity Alert:

There is an opportunity which is currently live which has been put out to tender by Efficiency East Midlands Limited (EEM); a procurement consortia with a variety of members including Universities, Local Authorities, NHS Trusts and regional Police Forces. EEM are looking to establish a dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for providers who can deliver a range of training and qualification courses, the contract is valued at between £1 and £10.0m and hosts a range of opportunities for training providers! The DPS will be split into the following categories;

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health and Safety
  • Core Skills (Assertiveness, Minute Taking, Time Management etc.)
  • Customer Service
  • Equality & Diversity
  • IT Skills
  • Specialist Training (Gas Safe, Water Regulations, Electrical etc.)
  • Plant and Equipment Use

As there are 8 different Lots this DPS provides a fantastic opportunity for a broad range of training providers who deliver a variety of different qualifications. If this opportunity sounds of interest to you and you would like to know more, get in touch with our team who can provide you with further information and bid support! 

East London Facilities Management Opportunity

East London Facilities Management Opportunity

An interesting tender opportunity has been released this week which we feel would be well suited to an SME looking to get more active in delivering their engineering services to the public sector. From our appraisal of the documentation that has been published on the Bravosolution portal for Ravensbourne University we think that with our expert bid writing experience we are well placed to help someone secure this London based Mechanical and Electrical Engineering contract.

Ravensbourne University, based in East London (near the Isle of Dogs!) is looking to procure £1 Million of Facilities Management Engineering Services including: statutory and planned M&E maintenance, building fabric planned maintenance, remedial repairs and works arising from compliance and Planned Preventative Maintenance activities. The contract will last for a minimum of 3 years and will have the option to extend for two additional periods of two years, meaning that if you deliver a high-quality service there is every chance you will be able to continue your working relationship with the university for 7 years. This is great evidence of real potential for sustainable growth through public sector procurement.

The contracting authority has placed a whopping weighting of 70% of the tender submission’s score on the Technical Solution proposed by the tenderer, and as professional bid writers this is exactly where we can help you excel and set you apart from your competitors through the written narrative in your tender submission. We can work with you and draw out the necessary technical information and blend this without our understanding of what the authority wants to see and hear to score highly. All you need to worry about is the pricing which is still worth a notable 30% of the overall score.

The deadline for submission is the 13th of December so there is plenty of time available for us to work with you if you want to tackle this submission by yourself. We provide Guide and Review services where we will go through the submission from top to tail to show you our award winning approach to tender submissions and what we would want to see in each response to score as high as possible.

When you engage with us you get the additional benefit of gaining the input from a dedicated team of expert bid writers who work across all industries. We can help add value and innovations to your Technical Solution which can be applied in a cost effective and efficient way which we have learned working with contractors across a range of similar industries and know to produce winning tender submissions.

If you want to learn more about this tender, click here.

If you would like to express an interest in this tender, click here.

Flu Season is upon us

Flu Season is upon us

The increasing worry some people experience during the flu season is accompanied by a release of tenders which address the issue. Flu vaccines are routinely given on the NHS to adults over 65, pregnant women, children in schools and people with specific medical conditions. For some healthcare providers, this is an opportunity to bid for tenders released by the NHS to deliver these vaccines.

Recently NHS Arden and Greater East Midlands Commissioning Support Unit (NHS AGCSU) have released an opportunity to deliver immunisation services in communities and schools across the region. The opportunity is divided into 4 Lots, all of which require suitable immunisation services to all eligible children in schools across certain regions (Lot 1 in Essex, Lot 2 in East Anglia, Lot 3 in Hertfordshire, Lot 4 in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes).

The services required are not limited to seasonal flu immunisations, also including tetanus, diphtheria, polio, Meningococcal groups (A, C, W, Y), HPV, MMR Catch-ups and neonatal BCG and BCG Catch-ups. Any submission would need to demonstrate exactly how all of these services can be successfully delivered, by implementing relevant qualifications and past experience into narrative responses.

NHS AGCSU have put most of the focus on the quality responses, with 80% of marks being awarded for technical answers and 20% for price. The 80% quality score does, however, include a bidder interview. Bidders will need to write quality answers relating to areas such as their service delivery plan, mobilisation plans and HR and Workforce Management.

The deadline for submissions is the 2nd December 2019 (2pm) and organisations can submit for one or multiple Lots. If you are interested in this opportunity, or you need any help with any part of the bid writing process before the deadline, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.

Focussed Care and Support Framework – Middlesbrough

Focussed Care and Support Framework – Middlesbrough

Structuring a response to responses in this industry can be a significant challenge, particularly if you lack the bid writing resources to break questions down and ensure answers address all aspects of the specification. All specifications differ in their structure but will typically contain an overview of the services required. It is essential to have a clear understanding of what the Authority are asking for, to ensure your answers address their specific requirements.

An opportunity has been released by Middlesbrough Council tendering for care and support services, perfectly suited to North-East-based providers. The deadline for this opportunity is the 7th January 2020. A detailed specification includes an overview of the required services, which will include the development of an Individual Plan for service users. These plans need to include procedures to prevent the spread of disease, to manage the resources to meet full requirements, to control situations arsing from the individual’s care requirements etc.

In addition, there are specific requirements providers need to demonstrate in order to score highly on narrative responses. The Council have specified 33 requirements, including the provider being registered with the Care Quality Commission, having a secure Information Management System and demonstrating compliance with all relevant legislation requirements. In your response, you should ensure you are showing you can meet all of these.

There are 6 narrative responses for this opportunity, with no word counts (regardless of word counts in this or other tenders, it’s not an excuse to bore the Council with information they haven’t asked for!). The questions include:

  • Key tasks you would undertake prior to commencement
  • How you attract staff, your recruitment process and plan to raise the profile of care in Middlesbrough
  • How you ensure staff are able to recognise a safeguarding concern and report it
  • Your approach to gathering feedback from service users, how this is used and continuous improvement
  • Your Business Continuity Arrangements
  • Social Care

As a Bid Writing organisation, we understand how time-consuming the process can be, particularly when there are so many things to cover in your responses. If you feel like this opportunity is perfect for your organisation or you’re struggling to develop winning bids, don’t hesitate to contact our team for excellent bid writing support!

Adult Education Budget

Adult Education Budget

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) funds education and training courses for adults aged 19 and over and hosts a variety of opportunities for providers within the Education and Training sector. Once on the framework, suppliers can deliver Government funded courses.

As always, it is important to submit a tender which is relevant, evidences your skills and experience and covers the buyer’s requirements, however with the AEB being a ranked framework this is even more important! Suppliers need to submit a tender which is a high-quality submission in order to score highly- as it is ranked suppliers who score the highest will have first refusal and access to more opportunities which come through the framework. In order to score highly and receive more work through the AEB framework, suppliers must submit a tender which highlights their best qualities and is tailored to the requirements of the AEB. Suppliers must carefully read and understand the specification and then tailor their response; through understanding what the buyer is asking for, suppliers can review their own experience and tailor this in line with the requirements. The use of evidence is crucial within a submission for the Education and Training sector; as case studies provide the buyer with examples of how you have previously delivered on your proposals. High scoring tenders also include information on success rates and contract examples and client testimonials- another way of showing the buyer how you have delivered on previous contracts!

If providers are not high scorers for the framework then they will not be given first refusal on funding available. This means that they may have to rely on subcontracting work from other providers such as Colleges, rather than having work directly awarded to them. Providers must therefore submit a tender which is high marking in order to receive more opportunities and work from the framework. At Bid and Research Development we are experienced in working with suppliers within the Education and Training sector; our team have the knowledge and resources to work with clients and produce tenders which are in line with the buyer’s requirements and also highlight the clients successes and experience. If you are interested in applying for the Adult Education Budget Framework and need support in your application- get in touch with us today!