PQQ’s, Tenders, Procurement – A Glossary of Terms

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So you’ve seen the notice for a contract that has your company name all over it. You are confident you can deliver the requirement better than anyone else. All you need to do now is to prove it!
You decide to register your company interest and begin the process by reading the available information regarding the procurement process. In a short while you become bewildered with the dizzying amount of procurement jargon.

To present a bid that meets the criteria of the buyer, you need to break through the jargon and be comfortable that you’re actually presenting the information they’re looking for.
Here’s a glossary of some of the Jargon and terms you may be presented with, and a plain English explanation of what it means.

Good luck with that contract!

Approved Supplier – A list of potential suppliers held by the procurement team from which goods or services may be purchased. To be on the list, suppliers are likely to have had to complete a pre-qualification exercise, demonstrating their ability to provide goods and services consistently.

Best Value – ‘provides the statutory basis upon which councils plan, review and manage their performance in order to deliver continuous improvement in all services and to meet the needs and expectations of service users.’ or, in other words, it is a requirement that local authorities can demonstrate ‘Best Value’ in the contracts they award.

Contract Notice – The contract notice is the document issued by the local authority advertising a tender opportunity.

Deadline – Rather self explanatory I know, but I’ve included it because it is of vital importance. If your submission is not in before the deadline you will not be considered for the contract. Always try to ensure that your submission is in at least a day before the deadline.

EOI – The EOI (Expression of Interest) is the process of you letting the buyer know that your organisation is interested in the contract being offered. It is usually in form format, either online or occasionally hard copy and you will provide basic company information. It is only interest at this stage, if you choose not to proceed pursuing the contract that’s fine. Be courteous though in the case of a tender and let the buyer know you are no longer interested if this is the case.

Framework Agreement – An agreement in which a group of suppliers are nominated to supply a range of goods, services or works, following a competitive tender process. The suppliers usually remain within framework for a defined time period.

Guide to Tendering – The majority of local authorities will publish a guide offering helpful advice on how to complete your tender. Read them!

ITT – Invitation To Tender. If you’re successful with your PQQ and your financial standing, business probity and technical capability information is deemed superior to your competitors, you will be placed onto the shortlist for the contract. Each company on the shortlist will be invited to tender for the contract. For some smaller contracts the PQQ may not be required and all the process may begin with the ITT.

Key Persons -You may be asked to provide the details of the key personnel that will be responsible for delivering the contract should you be successful in your bid. Ensure that as part of the submission process, the Key Persons are fully aware of both the content of the PQQ and the Tender before you submit them, after all, you are committing their capacity to the duration of the contract, so make sure they are on board with what you are submitting.

Lots – With some contracts, the individual elements of goods or services may be divided up into a series of smaller ‘lots’. The contract notice will clearly identify if this is the case, and inform the potential suppliers if they are to bid for all lots, groups of lots or individual lots.

MEAT – Most Economically Advantageous Tender. The Evaluation criteria used to evaluate tender submissions. As part of the evaluation process factors such as the period for completion, maintenance costs, innovation, technical merit, sustainability, and cost effectiveness and relevant references will all be considered.

OJEU – Official Journal of the European Union. If any given contract value exceeds the procurement thresholds put in place by the European Union, the contract notice will be placed in the Official Journal of the European Union. Threshold limits for Supplies and Services are generally around £140,000.00 and for works around £3,500,000.00

PQQ – Pre-Qualification Questionnaire. The PQQ is a questionnaire issued to ascertain the suitability of potential suppliers to provide goods, services or works as identified in the contract notice. It is likely to be the first stage in a two stage tendering process and you will be asked to provide details and evidence for company financial standing, business probity and technical capability.

Quality Assurance – As part of the PQQ, you may well be asked to provide details of your company accreditation to recognised Quality Assurance (QA) or Quality Management Systems (QMS). QA is a set of activities intended to ensure that goods, services or works satisfy customer requirements in a systematic, reliable fashion. Accreditation to internationally recognised systems such as ISO 9000:2008 may not be essential, however if you do not have a recognised QA/QMS you are likely to be asked why you do not have one, and to present information on what alternative systems you do have in place.

Restricted Tender - As part of a two stage tendering process, only the companies who make the shortlist from the PQQ will be invited to tender, thereby ‘restricting’ the process to those candidates.

SME – Small to Medium Enterprise. A business with less than 250 employees is generally defined as an SME.

Tender. The process of inviting, receiving and evaluating formal bid submissions by potential suppliers to provide good, services or works.

Useful Contacts – Usually as part of a PQQ or Tender invitation you will be provided with at least one ‘useful contact’ within the procurement team with who it is possible to contact with any points on which you require clarification. Use them!

VFM – Value for Money is the term used to evaluate whether or not an organisation has obtained the maximum benefit from the goods and services it procures and/ or provides. VfM considers the quality, cost, resource use, innovation, fitness for purpose and time for contract delivery to judge whether or not, the supplier represents good value.

www.simplymarcomms.co.uk – help is at hand. Simply Marcomms offer PQQ help and support and can assist with your submissions by writing pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs), requests for information (RFIs), tenders and new business proposals. We can complete all the necessary documentation on your behalf, or simply check, proof read, standardise and finish documents for you. Why not contact us today for an informal chat about the submission services we provide, or just follow the link.

For more information about PQQs, press release distribution, online PR, B2B SEO (search engine optimisation), visit www.simplymarcomms.co.uk or subscribe to this blog here

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