When you plan to bid for a job in the public sector, there are many considerations that should be taken. One of the most important questions you need to answer is:
How will the buyer evaluate the offers and choose who to work with?
If you fully understand the competitive landscape and where you stand, this question could be the difference between deciding whether to bid or not.
In the public sector, any published offer that you review will have clearly defined criteria against which the buyer will evaluate responses.
For the most basic level of consideration, your submission will be checked to ensure that you have provided all of the information requested – provision of accounts, proof of insurance, all questions answered. This qualifying section of the response typically results in business pass or fail (instead of being graded). It is only after having taken this step that your proposal will be really evaluated and graded.
The scoring phase
The scoring phase focuses on two elements to assess your offerings: commercial (pricing) and quality (which will often include social value). The importance of each component will be stated in the documents and will vary from offer to offer – one quote could be 80% price, 20% quality while another could be 80% quality, 20 % of price. Your score for each component will be combined to provide your overall score, which will be compared to other submissions.
From this rating, one or more tenderers will succeed either in securing the work or in accessing the framework.
How the price of your auction is evaluated
There are different ways of calculating the price scoring, and it will always be clearly stated in the document pack which method the buyer will use.
By far the most common method is to compare the bidders’ prices against each other and give the lowest overall price the full point allocation. The other bidders will receive marks proportional to their price compared to the lowest price.
|Company 1||Company 2||Company 3|
|Offer value||£ 100,000||£ 116,279||£ 122,448|
|Calculation||N / A||(£ 100,000 / £ 116,279)
x 60% = 52%
|(£ 100,000 / £ 122,448)
x 60% = 49%
In this example, the company with the lowest price will be given the highest rating (60%) and the ratings of other companies will be in proportion to this.
It should be noted that often the maximum price will be set by the purchasing authority and any bid exceeding this amount will not be considered. For some projects, the authority has a fairly good idea of where the costs should be and the maximum price will be set fairly precisely.
How the quality of your offer is evaluated
Unlike price, quality is usually rated in absolute terms, meaning that each submission is rated independently of the others.
For quality there will be a number of questions, each with its own weight to reflect the importance of that answer.
|1||20%||0-5||5||5/5 x 20% = 20%|
|2||20%||0-5||4||4/5 x 20% = 16%|
|3||20%||0-5||3||3/5 x 20% = 12%|
|4||20%||0-5||3||3/5 x 20% = 12%|
|5||20%||0-5||5||5/5 x 20% = 20%|
|Weighted total||–||–||–||80% x 40% = 32%|
For each question you can get a score between 0 and 5, depending on the quality of each answer and there are five questions in total.
How the overall score of your auction is calculated
Once your Price and Quality Score have been calculated, they will be combined and the Bidder (s) with the highest Overall Score will be the winners.
|Company 1||Company 2||Company 3|
|Commercial score (price)||60%||52%||49%|
In this example, we are counting the scores of our three companies. We can see that although Company 1 has the best price, they were disappointed with the quality of their responses. The quality of Company 3’s responses was comparable to that of Company 2, but their price cost them the contract.
What should I watch out for when writing offers?
From the tender documents provided, it should always be clear how the bids will be evaluated. You should always expect to see:
◆ Weighting and price criteria
◆ Weighting and quality criteria
◆ Number of suppliers to be awarded
From the early stages of planning, you need to consider each of these factors – making sure the opportunity is viable and that your approach to the offer reflects how it will be scored:
◆ If the offering is very strongly quality oriented, how wise would it be to focus on a very low cost, low quality solution?
◆ Can you meet buyer’s criteria for an acceptable price?
◆ Do you have quality advantages over your competition that you can demonstrate for a highly quality-oriented tender?
Help in drafting offers and training
We have a range of other articles and resources that may be helpful in helping you with your RFP writing needs. You can find the details below.
If you want to have a structured learning to develop your skills, we offer online training course spread over two half-days. We offer courses for beginners as well as more advanced courses for experienced bidders. If you have already launched a bidding proposal and need assistance, we also have consultants who can offer you a wide range of assistance to help you submit your bid on time.
If you want more information, please feel free to contact me directly or visit our Consultancy services page.
Responsible for advice and training in tenders
Phone: 07384 818 704
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For more information on how we can help you find and earn more work in the public sector, please visit www.tendersdirect.co.uk or call us on 0800 222 9009.