It’s a matter of policy
As part of the PQQ or ITT process you are likely to be asked about your company policies. You might be asked to confirm you have them, confirm they cover a particular aspect or be asked to provide a copy.
The most common policies asked for are: Equality and diversity; Health and safety; Environmental and Quality Assurance.
Other policies often referenced include Complaints; policies on Sub-contractors, Suppliers and Procurement; policies on Discipline, Grievance, Bullying and Harassment; Anti-bribery and corruption; Training and development; Pay, rewards and benefits and Data protection/Information governance. Some industries will have specific requirements, such as Working in peoples’ homes; Lone working; COSHH (control of substances hazardous to health); Safeguarding or Whistleblowing. A Business Continuity Plan may also be required.
Ideally, you will have excellent policies already in place, up to date and being followed before you even begin to think about tendering for business. But in any case, preparing to bid is a good opportunity to make sure your policies are fit for purpose and that they are not going fail you when your submission is evaluated.
There are lots of good online resources to help you prepare you own policies, and if you are setting up in an industry you have experience of you probably have a lot of knowledge as to what policies are needed and what those policies need to cover. Alternatively, you might subscribe to services that will supply you with appropriate policies “off the shelf”, either for a specific aspect of your business (such as employment law) or for your whole operation. You might even ask SME Tenders to prepare or review policies for you!
Even if you are paying for an off the shelf “solution” to your policy needs, don’t assume it is going to be enough to get you through the tender evaluation process. Before you submit, make sure:
- Your policy covers everything mentioned in the service specification that it needs to
- You refer to up to date legislation, particularly in health and safety and employment policies
- Your policy has been reviewed in the past 12 months and this is referenced in the policy
- Your policies use consistent language, look similar and present a uniform and professional image of your company
- You sign and date each one
It is all too tempting to tick the YES box on a PQQ when it asks you if you have a particular policy, without thinking too much about whether your policy is truly going to meet the needs of the service. When you sign the PQQ or click “Submit” you are confirming the accuracy of your submission – make sure your policies don’t let you down.