Regardless of what kind of government office you are dealing with – may it be a local or executive agency – every part of its tendering process will be founded on the following.
- Accountability – Steps will be taken to ensure that every party can be held accountable for all of its actions and intentions.
- Transparency – Every transaction performed must be made transparent with paper trails and all other supporting and relevant evidence. This will enable the public to better oversee government activities and interfere if necessary.
- Value of money – Since the government is spending taxpayer’s money, it will be responsible for ensuring that it gets the most value from every transaction it completes.
The Tender Process Explained
Public tendering will always be governed by strict and explicit rules. Without such rules, tenderers or bidders will have more likely cause to initiate legal proceedings if they believe their bid had been unfairly overlooked because of nepotism, favoritism, graft and corruption, and other unethical and illegal considerations.
Many government offices possess a list of pre-qualification requirements to weed out companies who are not in the best position to make a bid or proposal. Obviously, if your business is not properly or currently registered and licensed then that will put you out of the running – for very good reasons. Of course, such lists had undergone comprehensive evaluation before they were approved for use. You can always challenge their validity but obtaining a decision will likely take time.
Rules and Regulations
As mentioned early on, there will always be rules and regulations governing a public tender process. Some of them may make you ineligible for bidding even though you passed the pre-qualification check. Rules and regulations generally concern the following:
- Establishing the identities of parties who are in the position to review and approve bids
- Criterion to be used for evaluating and approving bids
- Inclusions and exemptions for special rules and regulations
- General and situation-specific roles and responsibilities of parties involved in tendering
- Deadlines and timetables that have to be adhered to
- Penalties for violations
Types of Tendering
A government procurement process can also vary according to the type of tendering required.
- Public or open – With this type of tender process, public announcements like advertisements on the newspaper, radio, television, and the Internet are made regarding procurement opportunities. Overall, it is a process in which no attempt on secrecy is made when sharing information about such projects.
- Selective – Companies are from a pre-qualified register are screened, selected, then contacted regarding ongoing or upcoming projects.
- Direct or sole – This is the best type of government bidding process. In this case, the other party only wants to work with your company. You’re sure to get the bid as long as both of you come into agreement about the specifics of the project and your proposal.
Sole tendering may be best as it will not put you in competition with anyone else, but it’s also something that rarely takes place. More often than not, direct tendering occurs in the following situations:
- Emergency work, e.g. provision of medical supplies and services in evacuation shelters or disaster areas
- You or the company is considered the expert authority on a particular field
- You currently have the monopoly or are considered the best supplier for a particular good or service
- No one has submitted a bid
Essential Factors for Tendering
Your bid has better chances of winning if you work hard on improving your company based on the factors listed below.
- Technical – It could have something to do with the process or procedure you use for working, the programs and machineries you use, or even your current skill set. The government needs to ensure that you have the technical experience, knowledge, and expertise to perform the kind of work that most other individuals won’t have a clue to do.
- Financial – Generally speaking, the government will be most concerned about your ability to pay for your own expenses while working on the project. They would prefer that you require the least amount of down payment, deposit, or investment prior to working on the project.
- Manpower – Even if you are working with the government on a temporary or contractual basis, what you and everyone else in your company are doing will still reflect on the government. That’s why they need to be sure that everyone in your company – even those not directly assigned to it – should meet their pre-qualification process.
A Quick Guide to How the Tender Process Works
Not all government offices would the activities listed below. On the other hand, some of them may also require you to undergo additional steps for tendering.
- A public office invites companies to tender or post announcements for companies interested in bidding on government contracts. One or more questionnaires are provided for interested parties.
- A bid bond must be paid as your sign of commitment to seeing the process through until the end.
- If you have gotten this far, then you can finally work on your tender proposal. The government will review it after receiving other proposals during the submission period. You will also be given a window for withdrawing your offer without being penalized.
- The government will entertain recommendations for deciding on a particular bid. Once a decision has been reached, a letter of approval or award will be sent out. It will also usually include a separate document listing down all the other conditions that you have to comply with.
- Contracts are reviewed, revised, and finally signed. Work will commence on the agreed date. Changes may still be made, but there will be cases when court approval will be required before a legal agreement is amended.
Now that you basically understand how the tender process works, do you think this is still the right direction for your business to take? If you are not completely certain about it, then you might want to read our blog on bidding for a tender to have more insights to consider before making any big decisions!