Business Development

How to Win: Health & Social Care Tenders

By Hudson Procurement Group
September 2020

Health and Social Care Tender Writers breakdown their top 5 tips

Our Health and Social Care Tender Writers support businesses of all sizes with securing new contracts. Tenders for healthcare services are amongst the most popular types of contract opportunities we see. Due to the UK’s ageing population and the strain, caused by the pandemic, on the industry, we don’t expect to see any decrease in demand.

When the Hudson Group launched our Hudson Succeed division, we were initially focussed on the creative and technology industries. This was based on our Founder’s background in business consultancy. However, within a very short space of time, we were inundated with requests to write health and social care tenders.

We quickly turned our attention to the sector to ensure that we could support these businesses. Since then, we have supported hundreds of care organisations with their tendering efforts. We have worked with recently established businesses, helping them to secure places on frameworks. This is a great steppingstone for smaller organisations, looking to get their foot in the door with local authorities. We have also supported, larger, more experienced organisations who were looking to increase their success rates and grow.

The Care Act 2014

Our Health and Social Care Tender Writers have noticed that buyer’s requirements are ever-changing. When it comes to procuring healthcare services, buyers can ask to see various documents and evidence of compliance.

The introduction of The Care Act 2014 saw buyer’s requirements change again. The act aims to implement different areas of focus to alleviate the strain on the UK’s care industry. This means that we are now seeing more emphasis on outcomes-led care. Local authority buyers often look for support which can help the service user achieve autonomy. This has mutual benefits. While the service user can live more independently, they also have reduced reliance on the care service.

Top tips from Health and Social Care Tender Writers

1. Check your eligibility

Tendering can be incredibly time-consuming. For this reason, it is very common for care companies to use external Bid Writers to help them tender for work. However, before approaching a consultancy for support, you should first establish your eligibility to bid.

When you initially identify a tender that you want to bid for, first check the budget. If the contract will have a single supplier, you can often determine your eligibility just by looking at the value. As a general rule of thumb, we never advise bidding for a contact with a value that is more than half your annual turnover.

For example, if the contract value is £50,000, we advise that you should be turning over at least £100,000. However, buyers won’t always disclose the contract value in order to invite competitive quotes. If this is the case, you will have to do some extra digging in the tender documents. The required turnover threshold will often be stipulated within the specification.

If you are bidding for a place on a framework, where multiple suppliers will be awarded, don’t worry. If the value is £5million you don’t have to turnover £10million. To determine your economic financial standing, you should thoroughly digest the tender documents and look for any threshold requirements.

But it’s not just about money…

Even if your business meets the financial thresholds, you could still be ineligible. It is always worth reading the criteria listed in the specification. The buyer may require evidence of certain accreditations or registrations such as the;

Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England;
Care Inspectorate in Scotland;
Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales (CSSIW) and;
Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority in Northern Ireland.

Some buyers may also ask for relevant case studies. If you are a new business, this could be difficult to adhere to. In general, buyers will ask for at least three examples of similar contracts that you have delivered. It’s important to identify these requirements before you go any further.

2. Demonstrate compliance accurately

If the buyer does require details of registrations and accreditations (it’s likely that they will) you must respond accurately. Healthcare tenders often require evidence of health and safety issues, safeguarding and staff recruitment, for instance.

Depending on the contract/framework you are bidding for, it is common for the buyer to stipulate a minimum rating. For example, the buyer might stipulate a minimum CQC rating of ‘Good’ for suppliers providing services in England. However, there may be some exceptions if you fall short of the minimum rating. If this is the case, buyers will sometimes ask for you to provide a plan of measures you have/are implementing to combat the issues. These allowances will be at the buyer’s discretion and will not apply in every instance.

Simply stating that you possess the required registrations won’t be substantial. The buyer wants to see evidence of compliance. It is vital that your responses accurately reflect the standards expected. Your competitors will be providing evidence to demonstrate that they are the most capable provider. Don’t lose marks due to discrepancies. You could risk being ruled out altogether.

3. Understand the importance of social value

If you follow our Hudson Insight Series, you will have noticed an increased emphasis on the importance of social value. We have seen this increase as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This also applies to the care industry.

Regardless of the pandemic, our Health and Social Care Tender Writers advise that social value should always be an important consideration. It is a requirement in almost every care tender we have worked on recently. The success of your tender submission could be determined by your social value evidence.

When The Public Services (Social Value) Act came into effect in 2013, it imposed a statutory responsibility on public service bodies. The aim was to ensure that public money is used to enhance and positively impact the local area.

For example, if your employees are local, the money from the contract will be used to pay their wages and boost the local economy.

However, in order to demonstrate your social value to a buyer, you should think in broader terms than simply economics. Other ways of demonstrating your positive impact on the community include;

Community outreach projects

For example, volunteering or working with education providers to offer placements.

Good practice

Simply demonstrating good business practice through maintaining positive working relationships with other organisations or evidencing how you respect the work-life balance of your employees.

The environment

Environmental considerations are also a common way of demonstrating non-monetary social value. For example, using energy-efficient equipment in your workplace or encouraging reducing business travel by car.

4. Plan, then tailor your method statements

In order to prepare for future tendering activities, our Health and Social Care Tender Writers advise creating a bank of method statements. Based on your services and the contracts you want to deliver; it is possible to pre-empt the required content.

For tenders with heavier weightings on quality rather than price, your method statements offer opportunities to pick up considerable marks. To achieve the best results our Consultants recommend;

Breaking down the specification and getting to know the buyer

What do we mean by this? The specification contains information to help you paint a picture of the buyer’s ideal service provider. Read and digest the documents thoroughly to ensure that your responses address their exact requirements. You can even use their own lingo to demonstrate your understanding of their criteria.

Structure your responses

Most of the time, the responses will have word counts. There is no room for waffle. To avoid including unnecessary information, make a note of the key points you need to address for each response. This will help you stay on track when you begin writing. When planning the responses in this way, don’t forget to refer back to the specification. Ensure that your key points answer the buyer’s queries directly. Don’t make them search for the information.

Create boilerplate responses

To save time, you can create boilerplate responses. Think about the contracts you will want to bid for and draft ready-to-go method statements. If you do decide to create a library of content, ensure that you tailor each response when applying them to a live bid. Don’t lose marks by leaving in the wrong buyer’s name or referring to a different contract.

Write concisely and keep it simple

Buyers don’t want to read through reams and reams of irrelevant content or technical jargon. It is important to demonstrate your understanding and expertise in your industry but don’t lose the buyer’s attention. Keep each response concise by using short sentences and directly addressing the key information.

5. Be realistic and start small

When searching for new business opportunities, it’s easy to get carried away in the contracts you would like to deliver. However, it’s important to remain realistic and focus on the contracts you can deliver. In this blog, we have already discussed how to identify the projects you are eligible for. It’s important to keep this in mind and start small.

Is this your first time tendering for work? Are you a fairly new business? We would recommend looking for framework agreements and spot provider packages. Buyers are less likely to ask for a high turnover or a long trading length. Securing work in this way is a great first step to securing bigger contracts once you have a portfolio of experience.

How can we help?

At Hudson, we support healthcare businesses from the beginning of their tendering journey to the end.

Step 1: Find health and social care tenders

Our Healthcare Tenders portal is dedicated specifically to the industry. Our team of Opportunity Trackers manually search for tenders from thousands of sources, daily. They then upload them to one central system where they are categorised with industry-led keywords. We also send our clients a daily bulletin, alerting them to newly uploaded opportunities that are relevant to their business.

Visit our website to book a free live demo to tour the Healthcare Tenders portal. Browse the tenders and see how the system can help your business grow.

Step 2: Win the contracts you find on the system

Simply request a quote directly from the system or contact our consultants directly. Our team of health and social care Tender Writers hold an 87% bid success rate. They are trusted by over 700 businesses, globally, so you can rest assured that your bid is in safe hands.

For more information or to request a quote, please visit our website.

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