Love me tender………..
With St. Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we thought we’d take a look at how tendering can be such an emotive word!
The word tender can inspire many different emotions, from outright fear to absolute contempt, depending on an individual’s knowledge, experience and understanding of the process. This gets some people palpitating at the very mention of the word. So, what are the key facts that you need to know to get started in the world of tendering?
A tender is, in essence, nothing more than a bid. You will likely need to provide pricing and a proposal/qualitative response to be successful, and the structure is often quite rigid. Most public sector tenders are governed by European legislation (though this is likely to change following Brexit), and many opportunities are advertised via something called OJEU. This is the Official Journal of the European Union, and any public contracts anticipated to be worth in excess of certain thresholds must be advertised through this.
How do you even find tenders to go for? Well, there are a large number of websites these days that collate information on new tenders and detail how to obtain the tender documents. Some of the more common ones are:
- contractsfinder.gov.uk – this is a government run directory of available contracts on which all contracts of over £10,000 need to be advertised.
- https://procontract.due-north.com/Login – this might be more commonly known as ‘The Chest’ in the North West.
- http://www.mytenders.org/Default.aspx – allows direct access to documents for tenders posted on this site.
There are many more sites, some location or industry specific, and some research is advised for those companies not sure where to go!
There are several stages of tendering under the OJEU process. Depending on the type and size of contract, any or all of the following could be used
- Prior Information Notice (PIN) – to indicate that a tender is likely to come out, and provide a date for release if known
- Expression of Interest (EoI) – the first call for interested parties
- Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)/Selection Questionnaire(SQ) – for the tendering authority to evaluate generic suitability of those companies interested in the contract.
- Invitation to Tender (ITT) – the main section of the tender, including the main response and pricing requirements
- Post-tender clarifications – for the tendering authority to ensure that bids have been correctly evaluated. Usually take the form of an interview, presentation and/or site visit.
- Success/unsuccessful notification – all bidders who have submitted a tender are notified of the initial decision of the tendering authority and usually provided with feedback.
- Standstill period – sometimes called the Alcatel Period after the legal case from which the name came. This gives bidders a certain period of time (usually 10 days) to challenge the initial decision
- Contract award – if no challenges are raised, then the contract can be awarded.
This can look like a daunting process to some companies, leading to the fear factor mentioned earlier. It can take months to complete the tender process but effective planning and monitoring can smooth the path to success.
Finally, no matter how all of the above looks, remember that there are people standing ready to help! WE LOVE TENDERS!!!
Give us a call on 0151 601 6263 or 07958 566 154 to find out more about how we can make tendering easy!!