Tender Writing Policies: New Bribery Act Rules

Do you have a complete and up to date suite of policies in your tender writing and policies library? Well here’s one more to add to the list. The Bribery Act 2010 finally arrived on 1st July 2011. If you missed our spring bulletin, the Act creates a brand new offence applicable to UK commercial organisations who fail to prevent individuals ‘associated’ with it from bribing another person on their behalf, no matter where in the world the bribery occurs. Conversely it also extends to non-UK entities conducting business in the UK. So how can your organisation protect itself from prosecution?

The key is to ensure the business has adequate procedures in place. Of course, prevention is better than cure but in the event the organisation is faced with defending its position in court, the ability to illustrate a robust set of anti-bribery and anti-corruption processes are in place will be vital to a successful outcome.

But where to start when considering how to structure a new set of guidelines? The Ministry of Justice have helpfully suggested six guiding principles: Proportionality, top level commitment, risk assessment, due diligence, communication (including training), monitoring and review. Small businesses who only trade within the UK may rightly feel as though this is overkill. If this is you, perhaps consider a watered down version such as ensuring everyone is aware of the Act and its implications and clearly stating the company’s view on accepting or giving bribes. Larger organisations will need far more robust processes in place and a solid policy rolled out throughout the organisation as part of their ongoing training program. They may also decide to put a senior management steering committee in place. However, the starting place for any size organisation is to conduct an assessment of the potential risks that may exist.

For more information about the Bribery Act 2010 or the suite of policies you hold in your tender writing library contact us

Questions to ask yourself before starting down the Tender Writing route

When about to embark on the long journey towards winning a tender, we think that these questions are important discussion points for your team.  Even if you think that the PQQ is quick to complete, this is only the tip of the iceberg.  To ensure that you are in the best position to win your next tender or proposal you must ask yourself these questions before beginning the tender writing process:
Can my company exactly match the buyer’s needs?
  • You may look at a contract and think that your company can do most of the work but if there are areas that it cannot manage, your chances of qualifying or winning are seriously reduced.
  • Limiting areas include specification, geographical location and coverage, mandatory accreditations etc.
  • Is the contract the right size for my business?
  • You shouldn’t bid if the contract value is more than 25% of your turnover. Buyers will be checking that the tender contract value does not exceed 20-30% of the tendering company’s turnover to be sure the contract value will not be too much for the company to handle.
  • The size of your company dictates the maximum size of contract it is likely to win.
Can I show relevant experience?
  • Buyers like suppliers who can prove they can do the job, therefore references from similar organisations for similar work are ideal.
  • If you haven’t got these, you will need to show you have ‘transferable skills’ from customers with similar needs.
  • If the work you are bidding for is not a ‘core competence’ (i.e. it represents only a small element of your company’s overall turnover) it can reduce your chances of success.
Has my company got sufficient trading history?
  • Public sector buyers generally ask for (audited) accounts from the last 3 years (although sometimes 2 years is enough). This means that start-ups are not always in the best position to win bids.
  • Has the business seen year on year growth and if not is there a valid explanation for why not?
Has my company got enough time and expertise spare?
  • Will this project clash with any existing or upcoming work?
  • Tender writing is time consuming – you will need to invest a significant amount of your time and resources to create a winning bid
  • Tendering can also be a daunting task, especially if you do not have the right skills or expertise readily available
Is it a Framework Agreement?
  • If it is, how likely are you to get work that will make your application worth it?
  • Will I have to subcontract?
  • If you do, are you sure that this is the kind of work you want?
  • How will the subcontracting part or parts of the contract be viewed by the client?
  • Can you demonstrate supply chain quality assurance is achieved?
  • What is your subcontractor recruitment policy?
  • Is there an effective management process for subcontractors?

If you are still not sure and need help with your tender writing then do call us on 0203 405 1850 to help you evaluate your next big opportunity.