Common sections in government tenders

Government tenders have a number of sections that are common to all tender requests. Once you have submitted a few tenders, it can be useful to put together a set of standard responses (where appropriate), which you can then use to address future tender requests.

The following sections are common to most government tenders:

Conditions of offer and conditions of contract

While sometimes known by different names, tenders should always provide the:

  • conditions of offer
  • conditions of contract.

Conditions of offer

By submitting your offer, you are agreeing to the conditions of offer that govern the tender process.

Conditions of offer indicate the closing date, tender timelines and the time and place for lodging your response. The section also tells you how to submit your tender by providing, for example, options for online or postal submissions. It will also indicate procedures for distributing information to tender applicants.

When submitting your offer, you will be asked to provide your agreement to the proposed conditions of contract. You should, at this point, also have an opportunity to propose departures, variations or additions to the conditions of contract. (Note: You may wish to seek legal advice before making any commitment.)

Conditions of contract

Tender documents provide information on the rights and responsibilities of the organisation and successful supplier, and the terms and conditions of the contract for the work.

Specification

A specification for the procurement (also known as a 'statement of requirements' or 'terms of reference') describes:

  • the goods and/or services required
  • any associated requirements relating to things such as delivery, technical requirements, pricing or performance requirements
  • expected timeframes.

Offer evaluation process and criteria (including mandatory criteria)

This section details the evaluation process and criteria that will be used to assess your offer and determine who wins the contract.

Some criteria may be weighted according to their importance (these weightings may also be disclosed in the tender documents). You should also check whether any of the criteria are mandatory.

Specifications, evaluation and response forms

Conditions for participation

This section outlines the conditions providers must meet to be considered for the contract, including professional licences, insurance requirements, necessary experience, expertise and qualifications.

Quality standards and accreditations

In order to bid for and secure public sector tenders, potential suppliers usually have to demonstrate that they meet certain standards of quality assurance. These requirements are generally included in the tender specification documentation, and also form part of the tender evaluation criteria.

As a potential bidder you either have to show that:

  • you have relevant industry-specific quality standards (e.g. ISO accreditations)
  • or
  • the processes that currently exist in the business can satisfy the buyer's need for a certain quality of operations and provision.

Minimum content and format requirements

This section outlines the documentation you need to include, which could include elements such as contributors' CVs, samples of work, proposal overviews, business registrations and insurance certificates.

It also describes the format you should follow and provides any templates you may need to use. To respond to a tender you should use the response forms provided. It is important to ensure that you complete all response forms and observe any word/page limits. You should not change things like numbering, font and font size, etc., without first checking this is acceptable with the government agency concerned.

Policies and principles

This section describes any warranties or commitments you must make to meet the terms of the contract such as confidentiality obligations and fair work standards.

Referees

Before submitting your tender, you will need to supply references from peers and customers who are well positioned to comment on:

  • your business
  • any products or services you provide that are similar to those proposed in the tender.

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