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Posts Tagged ‘Tender selection criteria’

Author: Maurice Downing (Corfocus)

Ambiguity makes for witty dialogue and an intriguing plot in Oscar Wilde plays such as The Importance of being Earnest but I am no fan of it outside of the theatre.  And I absolutely hate it when it turns up in Government tender documents.

At Corfocus our clients are companies bidding to win government tenders and I have to say that one of the biggest hurdles they face is not – can they do the job at competitive prices but can they unravel the ambiguities within the Request for Tender documents, especially the all important assessment criteria. 

Our clients often come to us and ask “what’s the difference between demonstrated capability and demonstrated capacity?”  Or it might be how is “demonstrated expertise” different from “demonstrated experience.”  In everyday land these terms are often used interchangeably and create great angst amongst clients who are trying to develop their best tenders, especially the inexperienced.   Check out the thesaurus in Word and you will see what I mean. 

And then there are the following doosies I came across in a recent tender

Criterion 2: The Tenderer is required to demonstrate through a Work Methodology Statement (WMS) how they intend to carry out the works.

Criterion 4: The Tenderer is required to demonstrate through a Works Methodology Statement how they intend to deliver the Services.

What’s the difference?  Can you spot it at a quick glance?  And would you bet the future of your business on your interpretation. Tenderers do every day of the week.  It’s no wonder companies can go into a tail spin and stress out when tendering for government projects.

For goodness sake, when are we going to get some plain speaking in Government tenders? 

Why is it a problem you might say?  It’s a problem because ambiguous RFTs can result in ambiguous tenders from suppliers.  Do they really have to be riddles that companies must unravel?  You know the old saying sh*t out means sh** in.  And it doesn’t have to be this way.   

So why improve it?  Because if the government released better RFTs the chances are the government would get better tenders in response and if they get better tenders then it is highly likely they will get better results.

So isn’t it time government stopped bunburying about in the land of tender and said what they wanted in plain English?  We have all smiled and laughed when Algernon and Jack both claim to be Earnest and the resulting confusion this creates for the rest of the cast.  Ambiguity in all its comical splendour.  But I can tell you it is no laughing matter trying to interpret confusing terminology and assessment criteria and then finding out you lost because you got it wrong.

What do you think?

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