How to write a successful bid

How to write a successful bid

For an organisation or individual with no previous experience in tender writing, the first course of action when the perfect opportunity arises may be a Google search on how to write a successful bid. Unfortunately, the internet is overloaded with poor or irrelevant information which will usually result in a poor-quality bid which has used a weak template and fixates on things the tenderer hasn’t asked for. There is no one-size-fits-all solution which can be applied to every opportunity. In the Health and Social Care sector it is equally important to ensure you tailor your approach to guarantee you address all aspects of the tender.

A Google search of “how to write a bid” brings up 122,000,000 results. This gives individuals with no previous experience enormous problems of filtering through content to separate misinformation from relevant, valuable information. One point which seems to be brought up consistently in “how to write a bid” pages is that you should try to build professional relationships with the tenderer before you submit a bid. While this may not be appropriate in all cases, when the opportunity arises to engage with the contractor it should be taken.

For example, Croydon Council have tendered a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for suppliers to deliver Care and Support in the Home (lot 1), Active Lives and Day Opportunities (Lot 2) and Short-Term Outreach Support (Lot 3). For London-based providers, this opportunity will allow you access to a number of their partners including Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Trust Croydon, Croydon HS and SLaM.

All organisations are also invited to attend optional workshops with the Council which provide a walkthrough on how the Selection Questionnaire should be completed. Even if this is not necessary, it is a fantastic opportunity to engage with the Council and build a relationship, which can ultimately prove to be a significant advantage in winning the tender.

These workshops will all be held at Croydon Conference Centre between the 16th and 17th December; more information is available by clicking here.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of this or other tenders, please contact our team of expert bid writers for support.

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.

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.

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!

Don’t be fooled by deadlines

Don’t be fooled by deadlines

When you come across a tender opportunity, you can sometimes be fooled into thinking you have more time to respond than you really do. When a contract is put out to tender, it is usually very clear that you must submit a response by this date at this time. Anything after this is expectedly rejected by authorities.

Sometimes you may come across an opportunity with a seemingly ridiculous deadline. An opportunity recently released by Leicestershire County Council, for example, has the deadline set for the 23rd October 2023. At just short of four years, it is easy to misinterpret this deadline and prioritise other, more pressing opportunities instead.

However, it is these opportunities, typically labelled as Dynamic Purchasing Systems, which can provide more value to your organisation than more “urgent” opportunities. The Leicestershire County Council opportunity has a total value of £120m across the contract period. This ultimately means that the sooner you can be accepted onto this DPS, the sooner you can start delivering services.

For any Leicestershire-based healthcare providers, the Council for the above opportunity are procuring for organisations to deliver supported living (SL) in line with their Adult Social Care Vision and Strategy 2016-2020. The DPS will be made available for use by any public sector bodies within the UK including, but not limited to:

Local Authority Establishments, Police and Emergency Services, NHS and HSC Bodies, Central Government Departments and their agencies, Registered Charities and the Courts and Justice system.

It is a fantastic opportunity for social care providers to grow their business, develop skills, demonstrate expertise and establish relationships with the Council.

If you’re interested in this opportunity and would like support from our team of expert bid writers, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Using Case Studies and Examples Within Tenders for the Education Sector

Using Case Studies and Examples Within Tenders for the Education Sector

The Education and Training sector is a competitive industry and providers must therefore show within their tender submission that they consistently delivery high quality training.

Case studies are a vital tool within a tender submission, they show the buyer how you have delivered in the past and provide evidence for statements made on delivery experience. The importance of showing buyers what you HAVE done, as well as what you WILL do must not be overshadowed by delivery plans; case studies and examples are needed. Case studies provide firm evidence of how you have delivered on contract specifications and requirements, and provide buyers with an overview of how you have previously delivered high quality training. To further consolidate the credibility of the case study, contact previous buyers and include client testimonials within the submission. This will provide the buyer with a further in depth understanding of how you delivered and the success of delivery from the procurers point of view.

Case studies are an important method of evidencing how you will deliver high quality training/teaching; but only if they are relevant case studies! It is often too tempting to use every example and every success story and put in the tender submission, saying to the buyer;

‘’look what we can do!!’’

However, using case studies which are not relevant is, well, not relevant! The Education and Training sector is competitive and host to a variety of high quality providers and therefore within the procurement process you should be showing the buyer your highlights and successful deliveries. But only the ones which are related to the current tender and what the buyer is actually asking for.

When writing a bid you should be working inline with the specification which details the buyers requirements, and tailoring your proposed delivery methods and relevant experience to this. Adapting case study content to the requirements of the procurer within the Education and Training sector is essential in order to show how you have previously delivered training/education services which is relevant to the current contract. Focusing on what the buyer needs and how your experience fits in with this can be the difference between a tender which complies and a tender submission that goes above and beyond. Always use a case study example which is of a similar nature and scope to the contract that you’re bidding for.

Use examples which are related to the needs of the buyer. Within these case study examples make it clear for the buyer how you delivered against the requirements of the procurer, team members involved, problems overcome and the end result. Through providing a clear and concise case study example you can show the buyer how you went through the delivery stages and the end result. Within these examples include statistics- if you received a 100% satisfaction rating from learners then let the buyer know! Celebrate the successes of the contract, but do so in a constructive way which is relevant to the contract that you’re bidding for.

If you need any support from our team to secure contracts for yourself, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

South Tyneside Healthcare Opportunity

South Tyneside Healthcare Opportunity

Of the NHS’ £122bn budget, one third is spent on procuring goods and services but this does not mean the remaining budget does not touch procurement at some level. There are hundreds of opportunities at any one time which are funded by the NHS but procured through different authorities. There are 5 main routes to market if you are a company looking to supply the NHS: you can sell directly to trusts or primary care organisations, through NHS Supply Chain, through collaborative purchasing arrangements, through national framework contracts or through government tenders.

For North East-based providers, a fantastic opportunity has been released on the TED portal by South Tyneside Council. They require a supplier to deliver Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered care to adults, children and/or young people living in South Tyneside. This opportunity is an example of how the NHS can be involved in so many opportunities. These individuals will be living in their own home with complex health needs and qualify for the NHS Continuing Health Care (CHC), Children’s Continuing Care (CC) and Section 117 (of the Mental Health Act 1983) aftercare.

It is important to assess the tender opportunity closely before making a decision, particularly if you are using a portal you are not familiar with as important details can be missed. The bid/no bid decision should be the first step in your bidding process, based on competitor analysis, relationship with procuring authority, alignment with your own business strategy etc. The following information will also be necessary when making your bid/no bid decision.

The opportunity is divided into seven Lots, depending on the location, type of healthcare needed and the group of people. Each Lot will be marked in the same way with the same weightings as follows:

Mobilisation and implementation — 10 %,

Workforce management — 10%

Service delivery — 20%

Quality standards — 10%

Business continuity — 10%

Collaborative working — 10%

Meeting patient needs (Lot specific) — 20%

Social value — 10%

The total value of the contract is £59,521,000 and the deadline for submissions is the 22nd November 2019. Does this opportunity still seem appropriate for your organisation? If so, please do not hesitate to contact our team of professional bid writers to see how we can support you.

Finding the perfect Health and Social Care opportunity

Finding the perfect Health and Social Care opportunity

The UK has 1600 major tender portals with hundreds of opportunities being released every day. These are free to access for all individuals or organisations and can lead to significant growth. Undoubtedly, due to the volume of opportunities released, there will be some perfectly-suited opportunities which slip through the net, into the hands of competitors. Before you can establish yourself as an organisation with a successful and efficient way of meeting procurer requirements, you must be able to identify opportunities which will allow you to do this. The question is how can you identify the perfect opportunity when you see it, and how can you make sure you can track these opportunities as they are released?

The majority of tender portals allow you to filter results, as a minimum, based on the release date and the sector. By filtering the results, you will be able to see new tender opportunities released every day. Within contract notices you will be able to see a description of the requirements and this will give a good indication as to whether the opportunity complements your organisation. Identifying a good opportunity if the first step in the bid/no bid decision, although the problem is that you may not have the resources and/or time to monitor releases across the 1600 portals in the UK.

Some tender portals are more user-friendly than others and allow for efficient tracking. TED, for example, uses CPV codes which allow you to filter results by sector, country and type of document (the CPV code for Health and Social Care is 85000000 and this can be further refined to health services, social work and related services, health and social work services and veterinary services). From this you will be able to access all information including contract value, deadline, lot structures etc.

We have an Opportunity Tracking service in which, on a daily basis, we monitor all 1600 portals, identify and assess any relevant opportunities and create an outline of the opportunity for you to see. For support in tracking opportunities, contact our team of expert bid writers. The image below shows how the information can be presented.

The Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014

The continual rise of Health and Social Care tender opportunities reflect the increasing needs of the UK to address endemic issues such as its ageing population, reduction in adult social care spending and the overarching mismatch between demand for services and funding. The government is investing billions of pounds in this sector on a yearly basis, even as Brexit threatens to disrupt our economy. Over 40 contract notices for this sector are released daily on TED alone.

The Care Act 2014 focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of individuals by holding local authorities accountable for providing services to reduce the need for care in the short and long term. It requires these authorities to help develop a market delivering a range of high-quality support services, made available to communities. The Care Act has become one of the most important pieces of procurement legislation recently, in that it provides bidders with an excellent opportunity to become a genuine partner in the delivery of social care.

Slough Council are a fantastic example of how Councils are focusing on improving the Health and Social Care sector since the introduction of the Care Act 2014. They have started to focus on how suppliers can add value, which is embedded into the specifications they develop. Contracts are also being reviewed to reflect the value of the Care Act 2014 and they have tendered multi-million-pound contracts within a one-page specification.

A contract has recently been released by the City of Edinburgh Council for the provision of accommodation with support for individuals suffering from complex mental health issues. The value of this contract is £258,838 over 3 Lots. This Council, just like many others, are keen to know how suppliers will be able to add value relating to the Social Care Act 2014.

We have been in the bid writing industry for the last 6 years, securing contracts and framework positions in the Health and Social Care sector. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you feel unsure about your ability to write winning bids in this sector, we will use our vast experience and resources to make sure you continue your growth.