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.

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.

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.