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Nobody said UK tenders were simple. In fact, the UK is renowned for having one of the most complex, obscure and difficult to understand systems of procurement and tendering in the world. For any prospective supplier looking to tender for contracts, it is worth understanding the different types of UK tender, what they mean, why they are significant, and how to tackle them.
Helpfully, most of the different types of a UK tender can be summarised by two or three letter acronyms.
Full name: Request for Proposal.
Info: This is typical of the creative sector and involves the creation of a free-flowing proposal. This type of tender can be designed for maximum visual appeal as well as being filled with excellent content. This type of tender will not include the restrictions you might find in an ITT. It might, however, have some word limits or formatting rules to adhere to. It is though, the type of UK tender with the greatest potential for creativity. Indeed, bidders can include graphs, charts, appendices, pictures, mood boards, organograms etc. to make their proposal as inspiring and engaging as possible. A few important points of note about RFPs:
If you’re needing help with writing a proposal or need a second pair of eyes, contact our Hudson Succeed team today. Members of our team have almost 20 years of experience writing proposals and would be delighted to help.
Full name: Request for Quotation.
Typical sectors: Construction.
Info: This procurement procedure is typically undergone by buyers who have a clear idea of the works they have put out to tender and merely want a quotation from prospective suppliers. Typically, but not always, this will involve the provision of basic supplier information along with a proposed fee for the works – simple.
Full name: Pre-Qualification questionnaire.
Typical sectors: All.
Info: This is typically the first stage buyers use to establish a shortlist of preferred suppliers, whom they then invite to tender. This will typically involve the filling in of a form which is more or less similar across all industries. The form will ask potential suppliers for details including financial information, insurances, policies and compliance with key buyer criteria. PQQs form the basis of most UK tenders and you can expect to have to fill one in at some point during your tendering endeavours. A few important things to note about PQQs:
Cast an eye over our Tender VLE video on “PQQ basics” which will help you understand more about what to expect from the first round of a typical UK tender. If you need a hand understanding the intricacies of a PQQ and how to fill in a compliant form that will meet the buyer’s expectations, contact our Hudson Succeed team who will be happy to help.
Full name: Selection Questionnaire.
Typical sectors: All.
Info: A selection questionnaire is effectively a synonym for a PQQ. Selection Questionnaires are now becoming much more standardised across the board thanks to recent government guidance on the matter. A few things to consider are:
Full name: Expression of interest.
Typical sectors: All. Most commonly Construction.
Info: Prior to continuing with the procurement process, purchasing organisations sometimes like to gather information about interested prospective suppliers. They may publish an EOI which requires prospective suppliers to provide initial details and to register their intent to progress with the procurement. As with most UK tenders, there is no set formula for an EOI. They can be as simple as the click of a button or involve an extensive explanation of a bidder’s H&S/Equality/Contract Management policies and procedures. A few important points about EOIs are below:
Full name: Invitation to Tender.
Typical sectors: All.
Info: An invitation to tender is usually the most lengthy, complex and involved type of UK tender. It is typically, but not always, the second stage in a standard public-sector procurement process, after an SQ or PQQ. Often though, buyers skip the initial questionnaire stage and publish an invitation to tender for open competition straight away. An ITT will typically involve a lengthy set of requirements, background information to the buyer and the procurement, an extensive amount of forms to be completed and specific submission requirements. A few important points of note about RFPs:
Take a look at our Tender VLE video on “ITT basics” which will help you understand more about what to expect from an Invitation to Tender.
If you’re struggling to digest the requirements of any of the above, need a hand with the writing Government Tenders or to cast an eye over your work, contact our Tender Writing Consultants. Our team of tendering experts will be happy to guide you through the competitive tender process to help your organisation push for tendering success!
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