Social Care Tender Writing
Tips and Guidance
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Analysis of the Social Care Tender
Analyse the Social Care tender documentation and make sure that your organisation can meet the specification. The questions (method statements) can be used as a reference point and should be addressed in the order that they are posed. Highlight the key elements and important words in the question. Jot them down using bullet points that cover all elements of each question. Ask yourself why Commissioners are asking each question and what it is that they want you to evidence.
Identify your niche and what sets you apart from other social care providers. It does not matter how big (or small) an organisation you are, you do have a USP.
Check for clarification questions on the portal. These are questions that other care providers have asked, which have been answered by the Commissioners. You can also submit your own questions and the answers are made public. Deadlines for asking questions are a week or two prior to the submission date.
You now have the overall structure of a response, which you should substantiate with facts and evidence. Without an underpinning evidence base, responses may lack credibility.
Responses need to be relevant to the question posed; stick to the point. Write clearly and don’t use jargon unnecessarily. Look at the terms in the specification and mirror the language used throughout it.
Be aware of current social care themes which are embedded throughout the Tender specification. This includes demonstrating your knowledge of The Care Act and Personalised Care. Also, focussing on Outcomes based initiatives such as Reablement. If these already form part of your service delivery, then great. If not, it’s definitely worth looking at how you can/will embed them within your general service delivery and referencing so.
Reference should also be made to service capability and capacity to fulfil the contract. This includes staffing/training, innovative practices, measurable outcomes, social value, positive behaviour support, best value (for money) and user involvement. Evidence what you can and/or will do based on past successes, as well as showcasing your future objectives. Facts and figures, if you please!
Take note of the tense of the social care tender questions. Some ask what you are CURRENTLY doing and others ask what you WILL do if awarded the contract. This gives you the room to streamline your practices. However, be forewarned – do not state that you are going to introduce processes which you won’t. Commissioners will expect to see such practices during the contract reviews, if you are successfully awarded the tender.
Commissioners won’t give contracts to just anyone. Evidence what you can and/or will do based on past successes (both quantitative and qualitative) as well as showcasing your future objectives moving forward.
It is highly important to identify what the benefits of your proposals will bring to the service (which will also form part of your response to the ‘Social Value’ element’). Commissioners almost always additionally score providers who meet the specification and provide evidence showing added value beyond the requirements.
Case studies are always a winner in any Social Care Tender. Use case studies to demonstrate service delivery applicable to the question; Commissioners love them!
Beware of Pitfalls!
Don’t lie or fabricate answers. It doesn’t sit well and it will all unravel if your social care tender submission is shortlisted and you are invited to the presentation stage. The presentation consists of an interview with between two and four Commissioners. They are Masters of judging (non) bona fide bids – it’s their job and they do it well. They will provide you with on-going support should you be successful, but don’t be dishonest in your bid as may will harm any future bids you put forward.
Very important – stick to the word count; not one word over, although you can go under it. However, why waste the word count or fill it with irrelevant ‘space-fillers’. Use the word count to showcase as much beneficial information as you possibly can, but ensure that any information used is relevant to the question being asked. There will usually be a required font; ensure this is used throughout.
Keep responses tidy and if possible submit it early. There’s nothing more stressful when you have put blood, sweat and tears into your responses, and the server goes down, for example and you miss the deadline.
Finally, you must review and edit everything you have written. Check you’ve fully addressed all the questions in your method statements and that you haven’t drifted off-course. When you’re 100% happy with the content, proofread and check word count on all method statements. If possible, ask someone else to read them and provide comments. The value of a second opinion cannot be over stated. Commissioners read so many tenders, so it is crucial that your responses are persuasive and make you stand out from your competitors.
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