Think about how often you are required to produce different types of evidence to support your bid and prove your credentials……..
- Opening a bank account – evidence of your identity and address
- Hiring a car – evidence you hold a driving licence
- Applying for a new job – evidence of qualifications, experience and right to work
- Changing insurance – evidence of any no claims discount
- Boarding a flight – evidence you have bought a ticket or hold a boarding pass
- Click and collect – evidence you are the person who has bought the goods.
Producing evidence to support your bid for a contract is no different. You would not expect a bank to loan you money without knowing who you are or that you have the means to pay it back. So why would a Government department, Local Authority or other public body award a contract without first checking that a company is qualified, has sufficient experience, capability and capacity to deliver the service or provide the goods?
The type of evidence you require will come in different shapes and forms. The following are the main ones that crop up time and time again.
Certificates are a great way of demonstrating quickly that you have the right experience and capability. Examples include:
- Certificates of incorporation
- Trade certificates
- Relevant qualifications
- Professional memberships
- ISO certificates
- Registration with the Information Commissioner
The important thing to remember about certificates is that they must be credible. Bodies that are designed to share information or bring together like-minded organisations will often issue certificates in return for a membership fee. There is nothing wrong with that. However, you should not present such memberships as evidence of capability or experience unless they are accompanied by an audit, inspection or other test to demonstrate competence.
Make sure certificates are up to date – apply for replacements where they have expired or are due to expire shortly.
CVs are sometimes requested to demonstrate the experience and capability of your staff who will deliver the contract. While it is useful to keep a library of CVs, it is important that you tailor the documents to the contract you are bidding for.
Also, keep CVs up to date – ideally, update them at least once a year, or more often if you bid frequently. Use a common template that reflects your company’s branding.
As an alternative, you may be asked to provide pen pictures. In most cases. they are a short paragraph about the member of staff setting out their relevant experience.
Case studies are short descriptions of the goods and services you provide in the context of another contract or a project. More often, case studies will be written in the past – that is you are describing what you have done, not what you will do.
When preparing case studies, you should set out clearly who your customer is/was, what they were buying, how you went about providing the service, and the outcome. Think, in particular, about the benefits you brought to your customer.
Customer quotes are always useful so long as they are genuine and your customer is happy for you to include them in your bid.
Photographs can bring case studies to life – just make sure they are relevant to the contract, you own them, and they are in high definition.
Financial standing should be relatively straightforward to evidence. In most instances, you are demonstrating that you have sufficient turnover to support the contract and are financially sound. Evidence will include your most recent set of financial accounts, management accounts, profit and loss reports, or a letter from your bank setting out your credit worthiness.
Policies and Procedures
You may be asked to produce copies of your policies and procedures to demonstrate you have the right framework in which you will deliver the contract. Make sure therefore that these documents are to hand, they are formatted correctly and are up to date. The most common examples include:
- Health and safety
- Equality, diversity and inclusion
If you want to know more about collating and preparing evidence or more general information about bidding for public contracts, why not give our Sales and Account Manager, Sam Nimmo, a call for a no obligation chat on 01491 902021 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.