Frequently asked questions about tenders and contracts

How much time can I expect to spend on preparing a proposal?

It is difficult to say, as so much depends on the complexity of the council’s requirement for each specific contract.

What is going to win me the contract?

You can win a contract by your ability to deliver the needs and expectations of the council. The evaluation criteria are the keys to your success. These will be published with the specification and will show you how proposals are going to be evaluated, along with the relative weightings of each award criteria.

Are evaluation criteria other than those identified in the specification used?

No. The evaluation panel can only evaluate your proposal in accordance with the criteria and weightings provided.

Can I sub-contract? How should this be addressed in the proposal?

Yes, as long as no conflict of interest is created by your doing so. The specification usually asks you to identify all sub-contractors in your tender and state that you are willing to take responsibility for work performed by the sub-contractor(s). The tender /contract document clearly states your responsibility as the principle contractor regarding sub-contractors.

Can we get together with another company to submit a joint proposal?

Yes, as long as the proposal makes it clear that one of you is going to take overall responsibility for the work done and as long as there is a legal entity with whom the council can enter into a contract. Again, this is only permitted where no conflict of interest is created.

I’ve done lots of work for the council before, surely I don’t have to describe my company’s experience in detail, the way I would to a new client?

Yes, you do. Each tender must stand alone and will be assessed on its merits.

How much detail should I include in my proposal?

Evaluation of tenders is not a matter of checking boxes to indicate that a criterion has been addressed or not. The council wants to know how you will do it.

Proposal preparation is costly – can I be reimbursed for my expenses?

No, we are not able to pay for the preparation of tenders.

Can I send in my proposal by fax?

No, unless the tender document states otherwise.

How important are the noted closing date and time?

Absolutely crucial.

How are proposals evaluated?

The first thing the team does is make sure each tenderer has submitted all the information required and that the tender is not irregular. Then the evaluation panel will look to see if the tenderer has addressed all of the criteria.

Points are given to indicate how each tenderer performs against each of the criteria, balancing price and quality where appropriate. This will be done by each evaluation team member giving a number and the recorder writing down the average of the marks, or it can be done by consensus. Either way, the proposal is discussed in detail and opinions are exchanged as to the extent to which each criterion is met.

Other things to consider

  • Don’t underestimate the evaluation team. People evaluating the tenders are knowledgeable in their fields.
  • Use your tender to suggest solutions, not simply repeat what the specification says and refrain from using jargon.
  • All contracts are governed by the council’s terms and conditions.
  • Get your tender in on time – late proposals cannot be accepted, unless a corporate director deems there to be a reasonable reason why the tender should be accepted.
  • Errors – try to get it right first time. This will save our time and yours.
  • Make your tender easy to read, be concise but give sufficient detail to allow a full objective evaluation and provide all the requested information.
  • Before you submit your proposal, make sure everything described under 'Evaluation Criteria' is either provided or addressed.

If I have concerns with the fairness of the process who should I tell?

If you have concerns with the process you should start by talking with the contact person shown in the tender document.