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Take a look through or Frequently Asked Questions here.
If you have further questions about tendering that aren't answered below, or need support with a submission, you can contact us on 0151 207 7818 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What is a tender?
A tender is a formal document used by potential suppliers to buy, or ‘procure’, particular goods and services. The tender document sets out the proposals and requirements of the supplier, inviting potential providers to bid for the contract.
Tenders are split into restricted and open tenders. Open tenders are open to any organisation that fulfils the requirements and requires the provider to submit a price with their submission. Restricted tenders require providers to pass a pre-qualification process. Once they have pre-qualified they are invited to tender and asked to submit a price.
Why does the Government Issue tenders?
Government’s issue tenders in order to get the best value for money and to ensure they are procuring goods and services in a fair and transparent manner.
This means that governments must consider every supplier and pick not just the cheapest supplier but the supplier who offers the optimum combination of price and quality.
Which Government Departments issue tenders?
Virtually all Government Departments issue tenders in order to procure the best goods and services for their money. There are over 250,000 local authority suppliers, nearly all of whom issue tenders.
Why should I be interested in tendering?
Tendering can open up a huge amount of potential revenue and business. The public sector is always buying and tendering is the main way this buying is conducted. All public bodies should be viewed as potential customers for the following reasons:-
- Local Government spends £27 billion on bought goods and services
- Regional spend in the NHS is estimated at £12 billion
- Civil Government spends £15 billion
- Up to 600 new contract opportunities a week!
- Public sector organisations are generally good customers. All dealings with providers must be fair, honest and professional.
Over half of all UK business transactions are not covered by pre-agreed payment terms, meaning providers don’t even know when they will be paid. All public service organisations must pay promptly, some within 10 days of receiving an invoice, giving your organisation a degree of certainty regarding its finances.
Where can I find out about tenders?
Tenders are sourced from a number of different portals and websites. The majority of public sector tenders are now managed using e-tender services that consist of electronic tender submissions and downloads.
A few examples of websites to source tenders are:-
- http://www.ted.europa.eu – European Union tenders
- https://www.chest.nwce.gov.uk – North West’s local authority procurement portal
- https://www.bluelight.gov.uk – Emergency services e-tendering portal
- https://www.sell2wales.co.uk – Welsh Tenders
How can I refine my search?
If you want to refine your search for tenders to bring up more relevant, local results you can utilise CPV codes and NUTS codes. Combining these with RSS feeds means that your organisation will automatically be sent those tenders relevant to your location and category.
What rules govern tendering?
United Kingdom tenders are governed by the Public Contracts Regulations 2006. These regulations provide the rules for the procurement of supplies, works and services and set out the directives governing the tendering process.
Can small businesses win tenders?
Small businesses can definitely win tenders. In fact, the number of local authority suppliers in the UK is 200,000 whilst there are only 6000 large businesses. Therefore the vast majority of public sector suppliers are SME’s (Small or Medium Enterprises).
What is a PQQ?
‘PQQ’ stands for Pre Qualification Questionnaire. A PQQ is the initial questionnaire seeking information about a company which usually includes sections on:-
- Legitimacy and Status
- Ability to deliver
- Environmental and Sustainability
- Equal Opportunities
- Health and Safety
A PQQ is most often used as a tool for short listing businesses. Therefore the PQQ is usually the first step in the tender process after your decision to bid. Only the top scoring businesses will be invited to tender, usually the top 3-9.
PQQ’s are used in a variety of situations including:
- When applying to join an approved/preferred supplier list
- As the first stage in a restricted or negotiated tender process
- When applying to join construction schemes such as constructionline
What is an ITT?
‘ITT’ stands for Invitation to Tender. An ITT is a procedure for generating offers from different bidders looking to obtain a contract for the supply of goods or services. In a restricted or negotiated tender process the ITT follows the PQQ and therefore forms one of the final parts of the tender process.
The ITT differs from a PQQ in that it asks for details of the pricing structure and asks for further information regarding the delivery of the contract.
What does CPV stand for?
‘CPV’ stands for Common Procurement Vocabulary. CPV codes are used to help procurement personnel to classify their contract notices consistently and correctly, whilst helping suppliers to find notices which are of interest to them. They are used specifically within the European Union tendering process, making the vast amount of EU tenders a lot more manageable.
What is a RFQ?
‘RFQ’ stands for Request for Quotation. An RFQ is a request that an organisation puts out when it wants to hire contractors to perform a job. It is a competitive tool that encourages suppliers to bid against each other to acquire the work. The company that issues the RFQ then selects the lowest priced supplier.
How is a PQQ/tender assessed?
A number of different factors are used to assess PQQs and tenders, often differing greatly depending upon the company or local authority. Tenders are usually split up into sections and evaluated separately, either on a pass/fail basis or given a graded mark e.g. 8 out of 10.
The weighting of the available marks can also be vastly different depending on the type of tender and the local authorities’ priorities. For example, one tender may be weighted 60% quality 40% price, whilst another may be 30% quality 70% price.
We are continually unsuccessful in applying for tenders - why is this??
There could be many reasons why you are unsuccessful when applying for tenders. Tender Management Consultancy can help you with this, whether it is putting together your tender toolkit to simplify the tender process or tailoring your answers to the question and bringing in that added value.
How can I improve my success rate?
There are a number of ways to improve your success rate and greatly depend on your tendering process and writing style. Tender Management Consultancy can help you improve your success rate in a number of ways:-
- Writing Style: TMC can show you how to write persuasively and clearly to ensure you get your point across.
- Management: TMC will show you how to create a tender winning process and manage it effectively and efficiently. We also provide you with a tender library to assist you in applying for tenders.
- Outsourcing: TMC can take away the stress away from the tender process by taking it on ourselves, ensuring you have the highest quality tender document.
Who decides whom to award a tender to?
Depending on the local authority and the value of the tender there may be any number of evaluators present that score the document. On larger value tenders moderators may be present to provide opinions on particular answers. Tenders are awarded to the supplier who provided the highest scoring tender document. Scoring is based on the evaluation criteria of the tender document, which differs from between tenders and local authorities.
What is the OJEU?
‘OJEU’ stands for the Official Journal of the European Union. All tenders with a value over the agreed thresholds must be sent to tender and advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union. The journal is shown online at http://www.ted.europa.eu and contains all the tenders in Europe with a value over the threshold.
How do I apply for inclusion on to approved/select lists of suppliers/contractors?
Applying for inclusion onto an approved or selected list varies greatly depending on the Local Service Authority or Company. Often an application process is involved, similar to a PQQ, in which your organisation’s qualities and services are assessed. If you pass the application process you will be added to the Authorities approved list.
Where can I find more information?
You can also sign up to our newsletter through the website.
Where does TMC's expertise lie?
We now advise in more than 20 sectors and cover public sector organisations from the NHS to the MoD, the MoJ through to Emergency services. Our team includes sector specialists and public sector evaluators with 270 combined years of tendering experience! Tendering is a universal process and no matter what sector you provide for, we can help you.
Why should charities and social enterprises be interested?
Tender Management Community Services is our community interest company dedicated to helping charities and social enterprises improve their tender process and win the tenders they deserve.
Charities and Social enterprises often have core values and missions that make them perfect for supplying goods and services to the public sector. Often though these organisations do not translate their values and experience through to bid winning tenders. Tender Management Community Services is dedicated to helping these charities, helping them win the contracts they deserve.
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