Frequently Asked Questions
Public bodies spend in the region of £100 billion pound each year on procured goods and services, and they are under an obligation to ensure that their dealings with suppliers are honest, fair and professional. They achieve this by having clearly defined procurement procedures to appoint the most suitable contractor. Any organistion that therefore wishes to secure public sector contracts has to engage in the formal tender process, and have the best and most innovative submission to win the work that is on offer.
What is a PQQ?
Answer: A Pre-Qualification Questionnaire is the initial questionnaire that suppliers have to complete if they want to competitively apply for works. It is therefore the first step in the tender process.
The sections of a PQQ typically include questions relating to:
- Financial standing
- Organisational policies often relating to quality, recruitment and selection and equal opportunities.
- Health and safety
- Case studies to demonstrate that a supplier has experience of delivering the type of work that is being bid for.
These sections of the PQQ are scored and, under normally circumstances, a client will invite between three and nine contractors that score the highest marks, to formally tender for the works via an ITT (invitation to tender). A clear and concise PQQ is therefore essential.
PPQs are also used in various situations such as applying to join an approved/preferred supplier list or by various construction organsiations involved in capital works. In these cases, those that meet the criteria, via a PQQ, are often invited to tender for works in a series of ‘run off’ contracts.
What is an invitation to tender (ITT)?
Answer: An invitation to tender often follows a PQQ. This procedure sets out specific details of the work that is on offer and often includes details relating to:
- The service specification that the supplier has to meet if they are successful
- Scope of the service
- Pricing structure
- Contractual terms and conditions such as TUPE, timeframes.
- Contract award criteria
- Notice periods
The ITT will often contain questions relating to both quality and price. To be successful, organisations need to demonstrate that they can meet both. An accurate, competitive and concise ITT is therefore essential.
What are applications for external grant funding?
Answer: Private companies, charities and third sector bodies’ can often apply for grant funding (that does not have to be re-paid) to deliver specific projects, services or purchase equipment. This funding is often linked to meeting certain criteria, localities, outcomes or targets.
To assess this, many publicly funded bodies, such as the Local Enterprise Partnerships, Big Lottery or charitable trusts, have their own application and appraisal procedures for distributing their resources. However, only the best projects that can demonstrate that they clearly meet the criteria, receive the funds that on offer.
Question: What is tender/bid writing?
Answer: Tender and bid writing is the research and completion of PQQ’s, ITT or application forms for grant funding. It is a competitive process that therefore requires comprehensive, innovative and compelling answers to the questions to ensure that a submission stands out from the competition.
Question: What is bid management?
Answer: Bid management is the overall responsibility that covers the production of a tender response. This may involve working with a client to ensure that all relevant policies and procedures are in place, interviewing and working with the clients financial and technical experts, and ensuring that all relevant documents are submitted as part of the tender/application process.
Question: What is a bid review?
Answer: A bid review involves scrutinising a tender or application form for funding. It is designed to provide an objective reality check from a fresh and unbiased perspective. This can be useful for clients that have limited experience of bid writing and can significantly strengthen a submission to improve the chances of success.
Question what is a research proposal?
Answer: A research proposal is a pre-cursor to completing an evaluation of a project or service and can include:
- Aims and objectives of the research
- Research methods, i.e., qualitative or quantitative methods and samples.
- Literature review
- Collection and use of data
A research proposal ensures impartiality and is an excellent and independent method to establish a framework to review a project or service.
Question what is an evaluation?
Answer: An evaluation is an independent assessment of a project or service. It can involve:
- Research methods
- A review of literature and independent published research
- Presentation of qualitative or quantitative data from key findings
- Interviewing a selection of participants
Evaluations are often required for pre-existing projects or services that require grant or continuation funding. They are also an excellent way of enabling organisations to demonstrate the difference that a project has made to the lives of beneficiaries or localities.