Prepare for Tendering – TODAY!

If you have not tendered before and are wondering how you can prepare for tendering (without the pressure of a looming deadline), there is plenty that you can do to make sure that you and your business are ready to answer the standard questions with ease and make a great start to the other areas of your response.

To get you started, below we have provided some typical questions that are asked in an Open ITT (Invitation to Tender) or Restricted PQQ (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire). In addition to the completion of various declarations, forms and certificates, in our experience the following questions are typical of a European scale tender process. This is an indicative list and does not assume to include all questions that may be raised in a tender. It is provided to give an idea of content and enable you to prepare for forthcoming tenders, without the pressure of the associated deadlines. If you can prepare answers to all of these questions, this will make the initial stages of tendering less of a burden.

This list does not include questions that are specific to your industry/product/service.

Company Details

1. Company Name
2. Company Address including main contact telephone number and e-mail address
3. Address of Registered Office (if different from 2)
4. Type of Company or Organisation (e.g. Private, Private Limited Company, Partnership Local Authority, Government Agency, Voluntary Body, Registered Charity, etc.)
5. State the Company’s date of registration and registration number under the Companies Act 1985 (A copy of the Certificate of Enrolment may be required).
6. If the Company is a member of a group of companies, give the names and addresses of the Ultimate Holding or Parent Company of the Group and any other subsidiaries in the United Kingdom. State the relationship clearly.
7. What is the total number of partners?
8. When was the Partnership formed?
9. Is the Partnership a member of a group? Give full details of the other Companies/Partnerships within the group and full details of the structure of the group
10. Company VAT number

Financial Information

A financial appraisal is usually undertaken. You are often required to present company accounts for the previous 2-3 financial years, and you may also be requested to supply a Bank Reference letter or your bank details for the buyers to contact for a reference. A qualitative assessment is often made by the buyers in order to gauge levels of financial risk. A judgement will be made on the outcome of the financial assessment and suppliers may be excluded, taking into consideration other risk factors. Each authority will detail their approach in their documents.
Many authorities use credit reference checks through companies such as Experian and Dunn and Bradstreet. If you do not have a Dun and Bradstreet Number (DNB number) this may well be requested as part of the process. This is something that you can obtain through the Dunn and Bradstreet website.
In addition to requests for company accounts, balance sheets and/or profit and loss statements, some buyers also request key financial information such as those detailed in the list below. Quite often the previous 2 or 3 years are requested (or for the period that is available if trading for less than three years).
a. Financial Year ending:
b. Annual Turnover:
c. Pre-Tax Profit:
d. Closing Stock:
e. Fixed Assets:
f. Current Assets:
g. Current Liabilities:
h. Net Assets:
i. Capital Employed:
j. Share Capital:
k. Net Worth:
l. Cash & Trade Debtors:


Details of Insurance policies are usually requested. It is typical for Authorities to request to see current policies and also ask that you can increase your policy limit to their minimum requirement, should you be successful in winning the contract. Types of insurance requested include;
• Public Liability
• Employers Liability
• Professional Indemnity
• Products Liability


• Number of staff currently employed? Full time, part time, agency.
• How many of the staff are permanent and how many are contract staff?
• Do you use subcontractors?
• Do you use Agency staff?
• Please provide details of your staff training policy.
• Please provide details of the qualifications and certification held by your staff.

Accreditation/Trade Bodies/Associations

• Provide names and addresses of any accredited bodies and/or industry associations to which your Company belongs that would be relevant to the Contract
• List any other relevant professional/trade accreditations.


• Do you have an accredited quality management system?
• How do you ensure quality in the delivery of your products/services?
• Is your Company IS9000 accredited, (If no, do you have an in-house quality control system)?

Equality & Diversity

In addition to being asked to provide your Equality/Diversity Policy you may also be asked questions such as:
• Are you able to provide equality and diversity training for managers and staff?
• Are you able to report and consult on equality issues with your workforce?
• It is your legal responsibility as an employer to comply with statutory obligations under the Equality Act 2010. Please confirm your organisations status in relation to the Equality Act 2010
• In the last three years has your organisation been the subject of any formal investigation by the Commission for Racial Equality, The Equal Opportunities Commission or the Disability Rights Commission on grounds of alleged unlawful discrimination?
• Are you able to record information about the gender, disability and ethnicity of job applicants and monitor how many apply for jobs, get interviewed and gets jobs, keeping this monitoring information separate from the recruitment process itself? (if you reach shortlisting stage you may be required to explain briefly how you do or intend to do this, providing evidence if it is available)

Health and Safety

• If you employ more than five people you are required to have an established Health and Safety Policy. Does your organisation have an established Health and Safety Policy conforming to UK National Legislation? If so, please enclose a copy.
• Please provide details on your Health and Safety Training.
• If you employ more than five people the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 requires you to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as I reasonable practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees. If at all possible, you should appoint one or more of your employees to deliver this training however if there is no one with the relevant knowledge, experience and skills in your organisation who can be relied on to deal effectively with health and safety training you need to enlist someone who has.
• Please provide details of your Health and Safety Officer, including name, and qualifications.


Many authorities request that you provide references (sometimes up to 3) from existing or past clients. They do take up these references, so things that are worth considering when deciding which referees to use include:
 Are they available to respond to the reference when the authority contacts them?
 Is their contract similar in nature to the contract that you are tendering for?
 From what sector is the referee? Many authorities ask that one of your references come from other public sector customers.

Reference information typically requested:
• Company/Organisation Name and Address
• Contact Name and Job Title
• Telephone Number
• E-Mail Address
• Nature of Contract and Contract Title/Reference Number
• Value of Contract


• Detail any sub-contractors you will be using for any part of this service and the area for which they will be employed.
• Detail your process for engaging with suitable sub-contractors.


• Has the Company (or any staff within the Company who would be performing this work) committed a criminal offence relating to the conduct of your business or profession? If YES give details
• Are there any convictions or circumstances which may lead to a conviction of the Candidate (including any proposed guarantor) or their directors or any other person who has powers of representation, decision or control of the Candidate, in relation to any of the offences listed in Regulation 23(1) of the Public Contract Regulations 2006.
If answer is yes consideration will be given to when the criminal offence committed and what it was.
If yes, please provide details

• Are there any grounds listed in Regulation 23(4) of the Public Contract Regulations 2006 (including a failure to fulfil obligations regarding payment of social security), which are applicable to the Candidate or any proposed guarantor.
If yes please provide details

Conflicts of Interest
• Do any potential conflicts of interest exist between this work, any senior member of your Organisation or any sub-contractor that you may use? If answer is yes consideration will be given to the conflicts and the potential impact on this contract.
If yes, please provide details

Contract Termination
• Has your company ever had a contract terminated as a result of non-compliance or non-performance within the last three years? If yes consideration will be given as to the circumstances and may impact on whether your Organisation can proceed further with this Tender exercise.
If yes, please provide details

Human Rights Act 1998
• I confirm that this Bidder is compliant with the content of the Human Rights Act 1998.

• Please give a history of any tribunal events in the last three years covering all forms of discrimination, both the total number brought, the type and number of instances in which the Employment Tribunals found against the Organisation. For any Organisation not operating for this length of time must give history since inception. If yes consideration will be made as to the circumstances and may impact on whether your Organisation can proceed further with this Tender exercise.
If yes, please provide details

Court Actions
• Please provide details of any material, pending or threatened litigation or other legal proceedings against the Candidate. Consideration will be made as to the circumstances and may impact on whether your Organisation can proceed further with this Tender exercise.
If yes, please provide details

Environmental Management
Public sector authorities encourage service providers to carry out services on their behalf in an environmentally friendly manner. You are likely to be asked to supply a copy of your environmental policy. And also supply copies of any accreditation held (i.e. ISO 14001).
Environmental Legislation
• Has your Organisation been in breach of any UK/EU environmental legislation or had any notices served by environmental regulator or other body?
If yes consideration will be made as to the circumstances and may impact on whether your Organisation can proceed further with this Tender exercise.

• Has your Organisation ever been prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive or served with an Improvement or Prohibition Notice? If yes consideration will be given as to the circumstances and may impact on whether your Organisation can proceed further with this Tender exercise.
If yes, please give details

Data Protection

• It is a requirement that your Organisation complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 as referred to in the Terms and Conditions. Please indicate compliance.
• If your organisation are registered as Data Controllers with the Information Commissioners Office, please provide details.

Business Continuity

You may be asked to provide a copy of your Business Continuity Plan. You will need to consider what your plan includes in relation to the contract you are tendering for. The buyers want to be assured that you will be able to continue to supply them even in the event of an unforeseen incident. You may also receive further specific questions relating to business continuity in relation to the contract.

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If you require any assistance or advice in preparing  for tendering, please do contact us.

We strongly recommend that you are ready and prepared to answers standard questions such as those detailed here prior to responding to a live tender (which usually has an imminent deadline!). Being prepared in this way will enable you to focus your attention on the detail and the technical responses which are specific to your product or service, which will lead to your winning the contract!

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