What the election means for tendering

What the election means for tendering

Today is the day that has been on everyones minds since October. It’s election day. And it’s most certainly created a divided kingdom. With more political uncertainty than a lot of people have seen in a lifetime it can be hard to form your own opinion with so much noise coming from every side. Everyone thinks they’re right when in reality, who knows.

However, we aren’t here to give our opinions or try and sway any votes. We’re just here to talk about the facts and what we know best.

How does the election effect tendering?

The election has had an effect on tendering from the very beginning. From the 6th of Novemeber, Purdah came into effect. ‘Purdah’ describes the period of time immediately before elections or referendums when specific restrictions on certain activity are in place. This means that no new public sector contracts can be released during this period. The only contracts that can go forwards are those that are continuations of tenders that have previously been signed off. Some contracts can go out to tender but will not be signed off during this period. This obviously effects all businesses working within the public sector who were looking to put something new out to tender as the election means that that is not possible.

On the bright side, this period of slow business and backed up contracts all comes to an end when the polls close at 10pm on the 12th of December.

Although this may be the beginning of more political division and uncertainty in the country, one thing is for certain. Many new contracts are going to flood in over the coming months.

As the elected party takes power and they start to implement their policies, they will need to put many things out to tender. This will be a stark difference from the slow ‘purdah’ period as contracts that would’ve never been released before the election start to be released. Regardless of whatever party gets into power, this will be the case.

If you would like to take advantage of this period of increased contract notices, we’re more than happy to help. We have a dedicated team who will be happy to assist you. Whether it be with a review, training or writing the entire submission, we’re here to help.

We’ll leave you with this – Keith Ellison said ‘Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender,’ and we absolutely agree. A lot of people don’t vote because they don’t think it’ll make a difference when in reality our vote is what gives us power over our country’s future. Hopefully this election will bring us closer to stability and get us closer to where we want to be. All we can ask is everyone respects each others decisions and stands together regardless of the outcome so that we can move forward united rather than divided.

Get out there and vote!

Breaking down the Question

Breaking down the Question

As a market leading Bid Writing Consultancy we have developed a clear understanding of how to approach all types of tender, including those in the Health and Social Care sector. For an individual unfamiliar with bidding, the lack of experience can sometimes drive them to overlook what the contracting authority wants, confusing it with what they think they want.

Regardless of the opportunity, the first step in writing a bid should always be to break the question down. By addressing, in your response, the constituent parts of the question you can ensure there are no gaps in your response and have covered everything the authority want. To demonstrate this, London Borough of Barnet have released an opportunity to join the framework of Approved Providers for the Provision of Home and Community Support. One of the questions can be broken down like this…

“Please describe how you will offer a high-quality service in Barnet, which supports a strengths-based approach to care and maximises resident independence?

Your response should include how you will:

  • Build and deliver a responsive, person-centred, flexible service around the needs of Barnet’s diverse population
  • Proactively support residents to prevent their needs escalating
  • Ensure a timely and reliable service is delivered
  • Overcome key challenges you expect to face, and what your understand of these is
  • Upskill staff to have expertise. You do not need to include details of mandatory training in this section.
  • Work as an organisation to continually improve services and to deliver good outcomes for service user/residents. Please provide an example.”

The word limit for this response is 1000 words and conveniently the authority have listed six key points to cover in the response. To begin with, each of the points should be taken as their own questions and account for approximately 160 words. Some of these questions can be broken down further, for example, the final bullet point becomes:

“How will you work as an organisation to continually improve services? (c80 words)

What are the good outcomes for service users/residents? (c80 words)

Provide an example. (c80 words)”

By breaking down questions in this way, the task of writing a response to a 1000 word question becomes less daunting. Your responses will also become much clearer, which will ensure it will not be marked down for missing key points of information.

If you need any support with the bid writing process, please contact our team of expert bid writers.

Asbestos Bidders invited to Bridgewater

Asbestos Bidders invited to Bridgewater

An interesting opportunity has been published on Friday last week for the removal of asbestos by the Contracting Authority: Homes in Sedgemoor. This authority was set up in April 2007 as an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) and now looks over 4,200 properties on behalf of Sedgemoor District Council. Their housing stock includes sheltered accommodation for residents over the age of 50 or for anything that needs any extra care and support from the council to maintain their independence.

The precise service that Homes in Sedgemoor require is the provision of the abatement encapsulation and/or safe removal/ disposal/ transportation/ consignment of all asbestos and/or asbestos containing materials. These materials could be located in individual dwellings, entire blocks of flats, sheltered housing schemes, garage sites, commercial properties, office buildings and potentially any other properties that are owned or managed by the authority.

Only competent persons employed by competent organisations will be authorised to carry out the works, as per the contract documentation. You will need to evidence that you have suitable systems in place to manage competency and only ever assign the right person to do the work that is required. Value for money is a key aspect when tendering to organisations such as this, so examples of where you have previously saved clients money by identifying opportunities for safe encapsulation rather than removal and disposal is also key.

As there are areas which will be the homes of vulnerable adults, one would also expect some emphasis to be placed on this in the tender specification. I wouldn’t be surprised if all employees will have to have enhanced DBS clearances and that you will be able to provide these to the authority prior to any works commencement. Safe systems of work will also be imperative to ensure all risks are minimised, not just for members of staff but also the residents and members of public who will be accessing these buildings.

Both Tim and John in our bid team have worked extensively in the asbestos industry, and know exactly what is required to make a winning tender submission. From Hexham to Wrexham and beyond they have won numerous key construction contracts to help our clients secure sustainable growth. If this sounds like something you may be interested in us helping you to win, feel free to contact us today.

On yer bike! Best Bids for Bikeability Training.

On yer bike! Best Bids for Bikeability Training.

Its all about process and the proof is in the pudding.

When writing about contract notices we usually stick to the big four industries we usually work on for our wide range of clients, these being Construction, Health and Social Care, Education and Training, and Facilities Management.

However, lets not forget that the award winning bid process we have developed can actually be applied to (just about) any bid, public or private sector. We have worked on a huge range of weird and wonderful bids over the years, from the provision of a workboat through to slurry sealing of footways. Regardless of who we are working with and what we are tendering for and who we are bidding into, the process we adopt is always going to be the same.

That’s because it works. We know we write winning tenders. It doesn’t matter what tender you are struggling with, I guarantee you we can add value to the process.

Which brings me nicely around to this tender opportunity which has been published today! Portsmouth City Council is looking for a single supplier to provide Bikeability training to all primary and secondary schools within its boundaries. This includes levels 1, 2, and 3 training and there will be at least 550 training spaces required in the first year alone.

This is a five-year contract, and the council has put an estimated value of £300,000 over this time. That’s a lot of cycle training!

Price is not the only evaluation criteria, so of course there is going to be a quality submission which needs to be completed to the very best standard. You will be likely competing against all other Bikeability registered providers for this contract, and as it is a single supplier contract, rather than a DPS or framework, the winner takes it all!

Health and safety and risk management will be paramount to evidence within your submission. This contract is for all schools, including SEN schools so if you have any evidence of experience in this area, make sure you evidence this properly where you can in your quality submission. If this contract is too important to miss out on, you may feel that you could even simply benefit from our Guide and Review service to make sure that you are interpreting each question correctly, and that your final draft is: free from error, is compliant with their requirements, and is going to be scoring top marks.

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

If you want some assistance securing this tender, click here.

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.

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!


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! 

Are you just making up the numbers?

Are you just making up the numbers?

The construction industry in the public sector has never been more competitive when it comes to PQQs and Tenders for frameworks and contracts. This is just one reason why you need to have proper focus and process in place when it comes to responding to these documentation.

We are often contacted by construction companies throughout the UK who, at a glance, seem to be well set-up to secure contracts with local government and social housing authorities but consistently fall at the last hurdle, and are pipped to the post by local (or national) competitors.

One of the key problems we encounter is that construction companies are competing too much, and applying for too many contracts meaning that they cant give each individual PQQ or ITT the care and attention it needs for you to be successful. One of the worst examples we have had of late was where we were contacted by a local company interested in our retained bid writing services but couldn’t see the value as he submitted circa 100 PQQs and ITTs a year! When we asked him how many of these were successful he conceded that whilst they were largely successful at almost every PQQ stage, they did in fact only ever win 3 or 4 tenders a year.. that’s a success rate of less than 10% at the tender writing stage! We call this a ‘blunderbuss’ or ‘scattergun’ approach to bidding and it is terribly inefficient, no wonder he couldn’t see the value when he was already wasting so much of his own resources, more often than not just making up the numbers at ITT stage as they never really approached each bid uniquely and developing bespoke win themes to reflect the authority’s needs.

The other problem we find is that some clients are barely scraping through the PQQ stage despite giving it as much attention and focus as possible. Its true that each stage is meant to be evaluated in isolation but evaluators naturally will have preconceptions and impressions of organisations based on their PQQ return, and they may subconsciously already have their eyes set on the organisation they think will be best placed to partner with them and deliver the construction project. No one can definitively say but we have previously waxed lyrical in the office about already being on the back foot at ITT stage if you are the ‘last one through the door’ at the PQQ stage, and that you may, in fact really just be in the ITT stage to make up the numbers. Authorities needs to invite a minimum of X people to tender – at least three, and sometimes up to 8 or 10 depending on the instructions and depending on the quality of the other submissions they have received you really may not be best placed to be successful at the ITT stage.

If you are struggling to be successful at the ITT stage for your construction contracts and frameworks, why not contact us to discuss how we can help you not just be more successful, but also more efficient in your bid process. We have worked with organisations to develop significant process improvements and supported with the attainment of ISO and SSIP certifications to streamline PAS91, SQ and PQQ submissions. This helps maximise scores and frees up resource for the all-important ITT stage. We can write a winning ITT submission for you or simply help you identify the win/bid themes you need to leverage to be successful on your own.

Construction’s Biggest Opportunity

Construction’s Biggest Opportunity

Whilst times may be turbulent in the economy with ongoing uncertainty politically there remains ongoing investment in particular areas of the construction industry.

Commercially backed projects may be stalling but public sector developments and in particular housing association works are still very much a huge and growing opportunity.

On a weekly basis Frameworks and DPS opportunities are coming up supporting large scale upgrade works. This includes new builds, voids work and upgrade works covering everything and anything you can imagine.  As a graduate Architect experiencing the height of the industry followed the crash of 2008 I saw so many companies struggle through a lack of diversification in their work portfolio. There is no better time to secure long term stability than now through diversify particularly in to sectors which are immune to the impact of economic instability.

One huge opportunity right now is:

43 London Local Authorities are planning large scale construction works ongoing over the next 12 years transforming the quality of housing stock across the City.

Value £2 Billion

Duration 12 years

This covers all aspects of construction work imaginable with the opportunity open to suppliers of all sizes subject to satisfying the tender requirements.

But the opportunities are not restricted to London alone. Since the demise of Carillion and the ongoing instability with some of the larger players in the industry now is the perfect time for SMEs to capitalise on the opportunity to secure direct contracts rather than being a small cog in the huge supply chain of a big contractor.

Additionally, work on public buildings will carry on regardless. For examples a 48 month framework for the following was released just this morning:

Value £500 million

Duration 4 years

The full provision of heating works across public sector estates, the scope of the framework also includes heating related renewable technologies. This procurement exercise is inviting tenders from all interested companies who meet the criteria set out in the tender documentation for the lots they wish to bid for. The framework is broken down over 10 separate lots which include:

1) Domestic Servicing, Maintenance and Installation of Heating Systems;

2) Domestic Heating Installations;

3) Commercial Servicing, Maintenance and Installation of Heating Systems;

4) Commercial Heating Installations;

5) Quality Assurance and Asset Management Consultancy;

6) Principal Design and Project Management Consultancy;

7) Installation of Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps;

8) Installation of Solar Heating Systems;

9) Installation of Electric Heating Systems; and

10) Department for Education/Education Heating Programmes.

I lead a team of experienced bid writers drawing upon my industry experience and knowledge to support organisation to secure the long term contracts they deserve. Over the last 6 years we have secured direct contracts and framework positions in al corners of the industry nationally and internationally with Billion of pounds worth of work won. If you think now is a good time to diversify and secure long term contracts why not get in touch and see how we can help.

Tim Ward

Managing Director


07877 700 701

John Bilcliffe – Bid Writer

John Bilcliffe – Bid Writer

John Bilcliffe is a Bid Writer with years of experience securing public sector contracts. He has a degree in business with economics from the University of Northumbria and is a self proclaimed ‘tender writer extraordinaire’. His years of experience in the field means he knows how to handle pressure and always meets the necessary deadlines. In his spare time he walks dogs and is a season ticket holder at Newcastle United (and has been for over a decade!). He may also be the worlds biggest Nicolas Cage fan.