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Tender Documentation


My employer (a large public sector body in the UK) has asked me to run a tender exercise for Training Services. I've asked colleagues from across the public sector for examples of good quality documents but have to say that they are dreadful at best.


Does anyone have examples of good tender documents that they could send me? As a procurement professional who started his career in academia I've been at the sharp-end of poor tenders and so I want to make sure that the firms that eventually bid for work know exactly what I want and how I will evaluate responses. Having read some of the previous threads on this site, I can see that my time will be apreciated by potential suppliers.


Anything you can give me will be gratefully received.



2 Responses

  1. This is really refreshing to hear!

    Hi Graeme

    As a training supplier of leadership/management & procurement training (and ex Director of L&D at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply) I just had to answer and say how glad I was to hear that you are wanting to really sharpen up the tendering process.

    I think it’s going to be very hard to send over good examples – although some tenders show good practice many don’t seem to get the best out of potential suppliers.

    Here would be my tips:

    1. Know your supplier market – if you’re looking for trainers in a particular methodology or subject area that are predominantly sole traders, there are often a lot of questions asked in tenders that these sort of providers find daunting or just don’t know how to answer.

    2. Get the type of specification right – knowing the sort of market you’re aiming to find a supplier from can help you determine what type of specification to use – again I see a lot of "detailed" specification type tenders – e.g. we would like x number of y type courses run in ABC manner. What I don’t often see is the opportunities for suppliers to really sell added value or to show off their talents. I think this leads to suppliers providing technically OK services but it loses the opportunity for innovation or added value.

    The detailed spec route also means that you’re likely to be inundated with 100’s of suppliers as most will be able to meet detailed specs. Using performance or functional specifications where the supplier has to submit their solutions and performance standards as part of the bidding process will help you to sift out that perfect supplier.

    3. Keep the tender document (an any e-based system it gets submitted on) as simple and easy to use – good tender documents I’ve seen are really clear on:

    – what sections need to be completed and submitted – often checklists are provided

    – keep the number of questions succinct and non repetitive (I often seem to have to fill in similar information several times over)

    – make sure the questions are specific and unambiguous

    – make it clear how suppliers can ask questions about the tender, how they should submit their responses and any timescales for the tender process

    4. Be explicit about how you are going to evaluate the tenders – good tenders I have seen break down further categories than the quality 60%, price 40% which I often see. again this relates to having a good spec in the first place as you can give more detail as to what is important to you. The suppliers can then hone their answers better and this can save both you and them time.

    I recently wrote an article in Training Journal which explored this very subject in a bit more detail – see for more information

    Hope this is helpful Graeme and not teaching you to suck eggs!

    Best wishes





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