New Providers and Tenders UK
Tendering for Newer Providers
First things first – For regulated activities under the Health and Social Care Act (including both Domiciliary Care and Supported Living), you must be registered with CQC and have policies, procedures and documentation in place, setting out how aspects of your business will be managed, prior to even considering applying for a tender. Once registered with CQC, you can bid for new tenders which are commissioned by Local Authorities.
If you are interested in applying for a particular contract, read through the specification to make sure you can meet all of the requirements. Be aware that some tenders are only relevant to experienced providers, so it is important that you read the specification. This can save you a lot of time. Don’t be despondent if you are ineligible to apply, there will be something more suited to you and all providers have started where you are. Use the time to streamline your processes to make you more ‘submission-ready’. If you can meet the criteria and wish to apply, you must ‘register an interest’ through the portal where the tender is advertised. You will then receive further instructions regarding the application process. Registering an interest in a tender does not put you under any liability to complete the initial application process if you change your mind at a later date. Applications are through completion of a PQQ or an ITT.
Pre-Qualifying Questionnaire (PQQ): This is generally due diligence, self-cleaning and financial standing, to evidence to Commissioners (those awarding the contracts) that you have the necessary structures and processes in place to meet the specification of the service requirements. The primary reason for the PQQ is to sift through the many applicants and dwindle them down to those who can demonstrate they can meet, fulfil and deliver the requirements of the spec from the offset and throughout the duration of the contract.
Invitation to Tender (ITT): If you successfully pass the PQQ stage, you will then be invited to participate in the ITT. This is where your responses to particular questions will need to be more detailed, structured and specific, articulated in method statement form. It is your opportunity to showcase your service delivery skills and highlight what sets you apart from your competitors.
There will also be occasions when the Commissioners will release an ITT without the PQQ. In this instance, the requirements of the PQQ will be embedded within the ITT.