In preparing a tender there a number of actions an organisation
- Read all the documentation carefully and note the key
- Focus your bid on the requirements of the brief - not what you
think are the issues to be addressed.
- Check that the organisation can meet all requirements and that
it will have the necessary resources to deliver the contract, if
- Note the duration of the contract. It is becoming standard in
the third sector to award two or three-year contracts.
- Understand the cost implications of the contract. In costings,
you need to account for all costs, including management, training
and back office costs, plus an element for contingencies. Try to
practice 'Full Cost Recovery'
- Understand and clarify all legal issues contained in the
- Compile a checklist of all items to be included with the
- If possible, try to get the completed tender read by a
'critical friend' or mentor for their comments.
NCVO's checklist for tender preparation - download here
Remember to designate someone to take overall responsibility for
compiling the tender. Specific aspects can be allocated to
appropriate staff, such as costings to the finance team and so on.
Tender documents should be clear, well written and bound to enhance
presentation. It is also sometimes useful to produce a number of
copies for internal purposes and to assist the evaluation team.
Contract award criteria
In advance of the tender process, awarding bodies must make
known the criteria they intend to use to select and assess
successful contractors. Criteria should be specific to individual
contracts and maybe considered in terms of lowest price, or the
most socially or economically advantageous.Third sector
organisations should study these criteria closely and ensure that
tenders meet them to as high a standard as possible.
Evaluation of tenders
Tenders are often evaluated in two stages:
- Stage one - a technical stage to ensure the goods or services
meet the specification and performance requirements.
- Stage two - the commercial evaluation stage.
Only tenders that meet all tender requirements and
specifications will be considered for acceptance. If a tender does
not meet these it will be deemed invalid. These rules exist to
ensure that all providers receive equal treatment when competing
for public sector contracts.
Subject to terms and conditions in the tender document,
submission of a tender normally constitutes a legally binding
obligation to provide goods or services. The successful tenderer
will normally receive an official purchase order or other formal
notification to award a contract.
If a tender has been unsuccessful, thethird sectororganisation
should be notified straightaway. A slight delay may occur as the
successful supplier confirms acceptance.