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Prepare to bid
You will need to understand the different procedures before bidding. Here you'll find an overview of the most common.
An Open procedure means everyone can ask for the documents and then bid.
A Restricted procedure means a Pre Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) needs to be filled in and then 5 to 10 companies will be chosen to proceed to the next stage where they will receive the tender documents – usually called the Invitation To Tender or ITT.
The PQQ normally looks at references, policies, finances and does not ask how you deliver the contract.
Other procedures that could be of interest to you
When a public sector has a need for services or goods that could stretch over a few years they will ask for companies to bid to join a framework agreement. If you succeed there is no guarantee of work but when the work does come up you will be one of a few selected suppliers who can be chosen. You will not have to compete but you will have to stick to the agreement rules on price, delivery etc. which are set out at the beginning.
Under this procedure the public sector will consult with a short list of business. It is rarely used and is mainly there for complex contracts where it is not possible to draw up a detailed specification. It is also used where there are insufficient companies to do the job or where it is highly specialised.
This is gradually replacing the negotiated procedure and is designed to allow the bidders for a contract to discuss all aspects of the contract with the aim of finding a solution.
Preparing to bid:
Before bidding you should always ask yourself:
- Have you read some research material on the policies that procurers have to comply with in your sector - if you sell pencils then there is little to be done –if you provide a social service then there is much to do
- Have you searched for tenders and found suitable ones that you could win and that you can deliver – do not go for speculative ones – you will damage your reputation
- Have you found out the buying guidelines for the public sector you want to bid to?
- Have you done some research on who has won contracts in this field before?
- Do you know who is likely to compete? Has your competitor won contracts with this public sector before – or other public sectors?
- Is there a chance to meet the procurer at a briefing day/site visit or a meet the buyer event – if not – ring up and introduce yourself and say you are thinking of bidding and ask some questions about the contract they are tendering for
- Do as much research as you can about the public sector you are bidding to – look at their website, what accreditations do they have, look at job applications to see what they offer staff, do they have a local economic plan, have they a guide on selling to the public sector and so on
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