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Bid Writers Website

We are seeking Bid Writers!

We are seeking Bid Writers!

Propeller Studios are seeking qualified freelance bid consultants to write content for bids (SQ, PQQ and ITTs) for a wide range of UK based clients.  We are a very well-established bid consultancy providing professional services. We have an excellent track record of securing work for our client base.

You will join our team of approved bid professionals. The role is extremely demanding, working to tight deadlines, which must always be achieved. The role is home-based, with occasional visits to our head office in Hertfordshire and to clients’ offices.

We are expanding our pool of freelance consultants to work in the following sectors:

Construction   

Civil Engineering

Rail

Facilities Management

Professional Services

Highways

Waste Management

Water and Utilities

Healthcare

Airports and Ports & Harbours

 
The requirements:

  • You will have the equivalent of a minimum of 5 years bid writing or bid management experience
  • Your recent experience will have been as a freelance consultant or as a permanent employee as a bid writer or manager
  • Your experience will be in completing SQ, PQQ and ITTs for public sector contracts or writing compelling RFPs/proposals for commercial clients
  • You will be based in the UK
  • You will be an outstanding communicator with specific experience of liaising from executive to operational level to ensure your written responses are within our clients’ deliverable capabilities 
  • Qualified to APMP Practitioner level is desirable, but not essential. 

If you are interested, please email a covering letter and a copy of your CV addressed to Stuart Parkes at: 

office@propeller-studios.co.uk

Strictly no agencies please.

Propeller Studios are an equal opportunities employer.

Propeller Studios are ISO 27001 accredited.

Social value

The importance of Social Value in your bid responses

The importance of Social Value in your bid responses

We are seeing increasing scrutiny on social value questions in tenders and PQQs. Since the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 came into force, the public sector has had to ‘consider’ social value as part of any procurement. But recent reviews of the Act have led to a stronger requirement for public bodies to take positive action and become more accountable. As a result, the expectations for bidders to demonstrate clear and measurable impact in tenders has intensified.

Suppliers are increasingly asked to monitor their social value activity to prove the promises listed in their tender submissions come to fruition.

What is Social Value?

Social Value is the term used to describe the additional benefit created in the delivery of a service contract which has a wider community or public benefit. It extends beyond the value delivered as part of the primary contract activity and goes wider to improvements to the ‘economic, social and environmental’ well-being of the local area.

In procurement terms, it is a move away from awarding contracts based on lowest cost. Whereas evaluation criteria in the past may have been weighed 60% price and 40% quality, today we are seeing weightings of up to 20% for social value alone, so it’s a fundamental component of any successful bid.

Typical social value tender questions

Here are a range of examples of the kinds of Social Value questions which contracting authorities might ask:


Economic examples
:

How will you support local people to gain access to the employment opportunities that your contract will produce?

How will you create jobs through the growth of business and investment in the local area?

What work experience will you provide and how will this be achieved?

What work place schemes and opportunities will you provide for apprenticeships, traineeships, higher apprenticeships.

What training opportunities will you offer and to whom? For example, entry-level employment, engaging the unemployed, specific priority target groups, existing workforce.

What education engagement will you offer? For example, with schools, colleges or training providers and how will this be achieved? For example, through site visits, careers talks, work placements etc.

What opportunities are there for voluntary work and what benefits will volunteers receive?

Social example questions:

How will your organisation work to help others? For example, local charities, local community groups, local resident engagement, supporting local culture and heritage.

How will your supply chain ensure ethical considerations? For example, this could include ethical sourcing practices.

How will you promote the safeguarding and welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults?

How will you provide opportunities for all, including the most vulnerable, to make a valuable contribution and promote social integration? For example, this could include work opportunities for disadvantaged people.

How will you consider equality and diversity in the provision and operation of services? For example, this could include ensuring the workforce is representative of the communities served as part of this contract.

How will you protect and support the most vulnerable people?

How will you work towards improving the health and wellbeing of local residents and employees?

 

Environmental examples:

What are the main environmental impacts associated with delivering the contract outputs and how will impacts be reduced, managed and verified?

Have you set any specific environmental objectives to improve environmental performance during the duration of the contract? If so, what are they and how will environmental objectives be managed and verified?

How will you reduce energy and fuel consumption in the provision of the contract?

How will you promote initiatives which retain, protect, enhance and/or promote the character of the local natural environment for the benefit of local people and wildlife?

Please confirm what will be delivered, as part of contract delivery, in relation to any of the following and how this will be achieved: the re-use of resources, increasing recycling levels to reduce the amount of waste, use of environmentally friendly goods, reducing the carbon footprint, pollution reduction, improving fuel and energy efficiencies.

Will you operate an environmental management system certificated to ISO 14001 or equivalent throughout the period of the contract?

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Creating Social Value Responses

Responses to social value questions can vary considerably as they will be based on the specific needs of a local area. The scope of each contract and buyer expectations will also differ widely so its important to read the questions carefully and respond specifically to each element of the contract.

It’s important to familiarise yourself with local social value priorities to ensure that your commitments and responses reflect them. Never make the same standard commitments to every bid response, as each commissioning authority will have its own unique socio-economic challenges which they will be looking for you to address:

Below are some general pointers:

Your ‘economic’ responses might include:

  • Creating jobs for local people
  • Progressing towards paying a living wage
  • Supporting young people into apprenticeships
  • Using local suppliers and supporting a local supply chain
  • Investing in local SME businesses
  • Providing training or apprenticeship schemes
  • Promoting opportunities to work with local voluntary and community organisations

 

Your ‘social’ responses might include:

  • Improving the health and wellbeing of local residents and employees
  • Helping local charities and community groups
  • Championing ethical supply e.g. Fair Trade
  • Promoting social integration and community engagement e.g. involving local residents
  • Supporting local culture and heritage
  • Creating volunteering opportunities
  • Promoting safeguarding and the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults

Your ‘environmental’ responses might include:

  • Reducing energy and fuel consumption in the provision of the contract
  • Minimising waste through re-use and recycling
  • Using environmentally friendly goods to minimise pollution
  • Saving energy e.g. using energy efficient lighting and equipment
  • Promoting initiatives which retain, protect or enhance the local natural environment
  • Incorporating sustainability considerations into your supply chain
  • Implementing ISO 14001 environmental management systems


Resources for Calculating Social Value

Often your social value bid response will require some form of measurable return on investment calculation.

Many contracting authorities now have a social value toolkit, which is designed to help suppliers understand and deliver localised social value. These toolkits include ideas for the type of social value you might offer, potential partners and how you can calculate this for a winning tender response.

Social_Value_resources

There are several free to download Social Value Calculators as well as paid for social value tools on the market. We’ve listed a few free resources below to help you:

Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust (HACT) operate a spreadsheet tool where you can input specific information and generate an assessment of the social value delivered through your bid proposals. The calculation will arrive at a ratio of how many pounds you will generate in social value, for money gained through the contract. https://www.hact.org.uk/value-calculator

The Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) offer a similar free to download calculator here:
https://www.sduhealth.org.uk/areas-of-focus/social-value/social-value-calculator.aspx

Business In The Community have compiled a detailed toolkit on Social Impact Measurement & Metrics which can be downloaded here https://www.bitc.org.uk/resources-training/toolkits/social-impact-measurement-metrics

The Considerate Constructors Scheme have a range of useful information on their Building Social Value website. http://buildingsocialvalue.org.uk/

If you need more support to create a winning social value bid response, please contact our bid response team on 01462 440077 or email Stuart@propeller-studios.co.uk

Office meeting - Man

Maximising tender launch meetings

Maximising tender launch meetings

Holding an effective bid kick-off meeting is an important first milestone in the bid response process. It’s your ideal opportunity to provide key information, assemble content experts, gain buy-in from essential stakeholders, assign tasks and motivate the entire bid team.

Before the meeting date, there are several good practice tasks to you can undertake to make sure everything gets off on a firm footing:

Pre-meeting activities to maximise value on the day

  • Produce an agenda with an indication of time allowance per section.
  • Ensure you allocate enough time. A thorough bid launch meeting can easily take half a working day (4 hours)
  • Carefully consider who needs to be present – too many cooks spoil the broth
  • Circulate a copy of the ‘quality questionnaire’ before the meeting:

    - 500 word summary of the project
    - 500 word summary of the client

  • Clearly describe the deliverables of the meeting
  • Circulate any key documentation and specifically indicate which documents each team member should read
  • Produce a draft programme of what needs to happen during the tender period
  • Request that people who cannot attend send a deputy who can brief them after the meeting
  • Enlist someone to take minutes at the meeting and ensure dissemination afterwards

Tender launch meeting objectives – Your 13-point plan

With the right pre-meeting prep, you’ll be all set to brainstorm solutions and agree the approach. You should aim to achieve the following by the end of the meeting:

  1. Identify the individual who is leading the bid submission (Bid Manager)
  1. Introduce the bid team to requirements
  2. Identity any questions about the tender that can only be answered by the Buyer
  3. Discuss tactics for the bid process
  4. Agree a timeline to complete the work, including all necessary reviews
  1. Allocate resources to individual elements of the response
  2. Identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of your bid
  3. Ensure everyone is clear on the client ‘problem’ that your bid ‘solution’ will be addressing
  4. Agree the operational structure that will be in place to complete the work
  5. Identify theFramework Governance Structurefor framework bids
  6. Identify the person who will complete the skeleton response
  7. Choose the case studies that best illustrate your abilities, experience and expertise
  8. Agree the strategy by which the bid will result in a win

Need some support with running a bid launch meeting?

Take a look at our tender launch workshops

BR Newsletter v10

Reserve your place at Propeller’s ‘Bid Buzz’ Knowledge Day

Reserve your place at Propeller’s ‘Bid Buzz’ Knowledge Day

Date: Friday 7th June 2019
Time: 10am – 3pm
Venue: Airside Suite, IWM Duxford
Ticket Types:  Delegate rate (£175+ VAT)

We’ve created a highly practical learning, knowledge sharing and networking day for Propleller Customers and Bid Buzz Subscribers.

This seminar style event will be an opportunity to update your bid writing skills and get the latest insights from construction industry bid experts.

Benefits of attending:

  • IDENTIFY current trends and industry insights
  • RECEIVE the latest bid writing tools and presentation tips
  • LEARN new strategies for improving your tender success rate
  • REVIEW case study examples of good bid practice
  • UNDERSTAND Government / regulatory updates and forecasts

Your day will include an opportunity to get up close to some of the world’s most famous aircraft including the Concorde, B-52, Vulcan, Spitfire, Lancaster and Tiger Moth.

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Who should attend?

This event will specifically benefit anyone wrestling with procurement processes, tenders and proposals for:

  • Building and Construction Services
  • Mechanical, Electrical and Gas Servicing
  • Road and Rail Infrastructure Development
  • Civil Engineering and Utilities Sector
  • Facilities, Professional and Engineering Services

Places will be limited to ensure accelerated learning in small interactive groups.

Register Online Now


AGENDA

09:30 – Registration open and refreshments served

10:00 – Welcome and scene setting

10:05 – Getting ready to bid
Bid / No bid – assessing the probability of success
Understanding the buyer and their requirements in 2019
Importance of client information

10:45 – Preparing your submissions
Maximising tender launch meetings
Developing a winning bid strategy
Allocating team responsibilities
Scheduling tender deliverables

11:30 – Current trends, industry insights and new bid writing tools
Evidence based processes. Focusing on lean, clear step-by-step process
Balancing infographics with technical diagrams
Increasing use of reality-checked proposals over warm rhetoric
Brace for post-Brexit impact – PCR2015, ESPDs

11:50 – Soft Landings: An alternative method of demonstrating added value
What is a ‘Soft Landing’ strategy?
If you’re not talking about it, you may be missing a vital piece of the bid writing conundrum
Establishing the softer side of construction – more ‘service’ than ‘works’
Simplifying your offering and maximising your appeal

12:30 – Networking Lunch

13:00 – Writing the submission – strategies for success
Ensuring 100% compliance
Tactics for constructing compelling responses
How to create the differentiator in your response

14:00 – Ask the Experts – Q & A Session
Learning from mistakes to improve future submissions

15:00 – Close and tour of the Aircrafts

An opportunity to get up close to over a century of aviation with hundreds of aircraft and objects on display. Stand in awe of the world’s most famous aircraft at this historic museum. Be dwarfed by the B-52 and Concorde; get up close to famous Second World War classics including the Spitfire, Lancaster and Tiger Moth; and stare up into the guts of the Vulcan bomber.

Your expert speakers:

Stuart Parkes – Bid Response Director, Propeller Studios
David Lowe – Public Procurement & Collaborative Contracts Consultant
Andy Hammond – Managing Director, Propeller Studios
Sue Ward – Senior Bid Writer & CITB Construction Ambassador

Register Online Now


About Propeller Studios and Bid Buzz

Propeller Studios is the home of experienced bid consultants and construction industry professionals.

Propeller’s Bid Response team are proven bid winners. We provide qualified and experienced support to help you win more contracts. With a wealth of construction sector expertise, plus experience at SME and national contractor level, we craft persuasive winning bids.

Bid Buzz is our FREE bimonthly e-newsletter providing practical tips, tools, insights and ideas to help you win more contracts.

Once every two months subscribers receive something INFORMATIVE and USEFUL,completely free of charge:

  • Bid writing and presentation tips
  • Strategies for improving your tender success rate
  • Case studies showing examples of good bid practice
  • Spotlights on government, regulatory and industry updates
  • Terminology busting insights and guidance

Sign up to receive Bid Buzz

 

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Why aren’t we winning? Common reasons for bid underperformance

Why aren’t we winning? Common reasons for bid underperformance

The email or letter you’ve been waiting for finally arrives. You read the first line…

“We regret to inform you that, on this occasion, you have been unsuccessful in this tender.”

Deflation. Despair. What went wrong? Now, the inquest begins.

If this scenario sounds familiar and continues to be played out within your company, we’ve compiled a list of investigative questions.  Working though each question with your bid team could help to diagnose the problem areas.  

To make the most progress, you must answer honestly!

 

Did you fully understand the scope of work?

Unsurprisingly, if you fail to comprehend the scope of work set out in the Invitation To Tender, you’ll struggle to build a winning proposal. You must study the scope of work very carefully. If something doesn’t make sense or you need clarification, make sure you revert to the contracting authority and ask for further information. As yourself, “do I fully understand the client’s drivers and requirements”.

Did you provide enough relevant detail or actually answer the question?

Some bidders overdress their responses with irrelevant details, while others don’t offer enough information to fully answer the questions. Assessors want to see precise responses which are to the point and meet the specification criteria. Make sure you understand what the question is specifically looking for. A common mistake is to latch onto a keyword and answer everything you know about that topic, while entirely missing the root of the question.


Did you provide enough convincing evidence and past experience?

Your submissions must be backed up with proof. Evaluators want to see evidence of the quality of your work. Previous successful projects should be the source of your supporting evidence. Case studies, supporting documents, photos, illustrations and testimonials will add weight to your bid. If the tender specification requires a minimum level of expertise or a certain number of years’ experience within a sector, you must demonstrate this to ensure compliance. 

 

Did you conduct a thorough review before submission?

Not having a robust review process can result in your bid being littered with incorrect information, pricing numbers that don’t stack up, spelling mistakes or typos. It’s important that supporting documentation including organisational charts, infographics, CVs, case studies, policies, procedures and methodologies are checked by a fresh set of eyes.

 

Did you copy and paste from previous tenders?

If you’re simply duplicating content taken from past unsuccessful bids…guess what?  You’ll end up with the same unsuccessful result. If a tender is worth your time and effort, make sure you do it justice by creating fresh content relevant to the specific specification. Copying and pasting old sections can easily lead to entire paragraphs being misplaced or containing erroneous information. Avoid this practice at all costs.

 

Did you check for basic administrative errors?

Under the category of ‘administrative errors’ common mistakes include: Omitting mandatory documents, failing to sign documents or statements, not answering all the questions, incomplete forms, ignoring word count quotas, disregarding font type / size, format and layout rules. Any administrative aspect which is not adhered to is a potential reason the assessors will use to exclude your bid.

 

Did you check that your bid is fully compliant?

Contracting authorities closely scrutinise core compliance areas such as health and safety practices, quality management systems, supply chain management, environmental and waste management practices etc. Often there are minimum mandatory levels of accreditation required and examples of good practice should be clearly demonstrated.  Make sure you comply in all mandatory areas before you start compiling your bid response.

 

Did you provide solid references?

Providing relevant references will establish credibility. But care should be taken in choosing the right referee. Make sure they are recent – within the last two years ideally. References should be for projects similar to those that you are tendering for and they should be for work you are able to showcase in detail should the need arise. A contactable reference is a strong indication of client satisfaction so do ask for permission and inform your contacts they may be approached by the contracting authority.

 

Did you demonstrate where you add value throughout the bid?  

Every answer in your bid should aim to demonstrate where your company, product or service can add value to the client. Align your answer with key motivators such as efficiency, time saving, risk reduction and of course cost savings.

When evaluating costs, awarding authorities like to see detail and transparency. Your bid should aim to explain all itemised costs explicitly. Overpricing or under-pricing without clear reason or rationale will be red flag to evaluators. It’s important to annotate costs with narrative that demonstrates how your financial offer adds value. 

 

And remember, you can’t win them all!

There will be times when factors out of your control influence the outcome of the tender process. Unfortunately, that’s just a commercial reality. However, if your bid writing process remains rigorous and your commitment to continuous improvement remains steadfast, it will only be a matter of time before you win. 

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