Today we welcome Deirdre Diamante, Principal of MIA Consulting Services, to outline some of the features of the recently updated suite of government tender documents.
It’s a fact of business that even with the best price or capability, unless you tender well and demonstrate your capabilities to government you may not win the tender. This means that suppliers should be familiar with the government’s tender documents, and any updates to these.
The reason I mention this is that over the past year the Victorian Government has been using a new suite of new market approach templates for low- to medium-complexity procurements.
The new documents were produced under the government’s procurement reform program – and, as I was just saying, it’s very important that suppliers to the Victorian Government are familiar with these documents, key terms and how to complete them.
We’re going to to walk you through the key points.
Why the changes?
A key theme of the Victorian Government’s procurement reform is that the process of engaging with suppliers to obtain an offer will depend on the complexity of the procurement being undertaken and the nature of the market place – rather than the dollar value of the procurement.
In keeping with this, the revised market approach templates are designed to streamline the process for low- to medium-complexity procurements only (typically one-off products or services that are well-defined within a competitive market). More complex procurements* are now managed within an individual department’s procurement framework.
According to government, the new procurement framework will improve suppliers’ tendering experiences for these low- to medium-complexity procurements in several ways:
- A single procurement template will help suppliers to government become more familiar with the documentation.
- The procurement-specific information has been moved to the front of the document to reduce duplication of information and the requirements logically categorised into ‘whole of government’, ‘organisations’ and ‘procurement-specific’.
- Suppliers can now easily identify differences in procurement requirements when supplying to different departments.
What has changed?
- Streamlined, standardised forms have been developed to seek offers from suppliers.
Two new forms have been developed: one for an Expression of Interest (EOI), and one general Invitation to Supply to replace the Request for Tender (RFT) and Request for Quotation (RFQ) forms.
Various contract forms have also been replaced by a suite of contracts for low- to medium-complexity procurements.
- The structure of the documents.
Traditionally, tenders and quotations have adhered to a four-part structure, comprising: Part A – the conditions of the procurement; Part B – the specifications or requirements; Part C – the contract; and Part D – the response schedule.
In the new procurement templates, all the main requirements are provided upfront and the conditions have been moved further back in the document. The aim of this change is for suppliers to immediately identify the requirements of the procurement, without having to wade through the document to find them.
The new structure is as follows:
Part A – An overview of the procurement opportunity and detailed requirements, also called Specifications
- Contains information on the response closing time and date
- Outlines the process and timings for asking questions on the tender
- Provides details on a briefing session (if one is being offered)
- Contains the evaluation criteria
- Details the requirements, i.e. what a provider must be able to deliver.
Part B – Contains the conditions of the procurement
- Contains department-specific policies, such as the tender complaints procedure and other department requirements, such as OH&S requirements
- Contains other Victorian government requirements such as:
- Communications during the tender period
- Treatment of late tenders
- The evaluation process.
Part C – The Contract
Part D – The Offer Template
This is the section where suppliers must provide answers to the questions asked on the tender. In responding to each question, make sure your answers address each of the evaluation criteria in Part A, AND address each of the requirements in Part A. Make sure you are familiar with the questions asked and prepare draft responses.
What has not changed…
Despite new templates being used, government will still ask questions about:
- Past experience
- Customer service
- Delivery methodology
- Quality management
- Environmental management
As always, it’s the tenderers who provide relevant and comprehensive responses to each of these questions that will be successful.
In most cases businesses miss out on tenders because they did not tender strongly, not because of price or because they couldn’t do the job. Don’t let this be you.
The first stage of improving your tendering skills is to become familiar with the tender templates used by government. Make sure you become familiar with these new market approach templates and tender well.
* A more complex procurement could involve a number of factors such as:
- Restricted market offering or an offering provided by a consortium of partners
- Wider definition of the product or service
- Application across more than one department
- High value and/high risk
- Ongoing supply, and
- Innovative contract terms in particular around licensing, IP and risk management.
About Deirdre Diamante
Deirdre Diamante is the founder and principal of MIA Consulting Services. Based on 15 years of experience in procurement and governance roles, Deirdre’s intimate knowledge of public sector procurement environments makes her a sought-after advisor by commercial and public sector organisations alike. Her various educational programs are recognised by Business Victoria and Swinburne University; while her consulting expertise helps companies of all sizes engage
effectively with government and win business. Deirdre also works closely with government to implement industry and procurement programs, and serves as Deputy Chair for the Victorian Council of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).