Bid Support – Breaking down the question

If you do not know what the question is asking – this is your first hurdle.

In order to jump that hurdle, carefully examine what kind of question it is.

Although there are hundreds of question variations out there, our bid support allows you to tackle every question you get through a very simple breakdown technique.

Does the question have (what it seems like) 10 questions in one? Does it look something like this:


Please explain your risk management procedures, including what risks you feel are vital to overcome as part of this contract, as well as monitoring and mitigation approaches you would use. Please detail who will manage said risks and provide examples of where you have overcome similar risks.

This question asks for a lot of information and the first step to jump this hurdle, is to tackle it bit by bit. We break this question down into more manageable chunks, allowing clear-cut focus on every aspect of the question, making it easier for the evaluator to mark us against their evaluation criteria. We have pinpointed these out and, as part of our bid support, always encourage you to write out sub-headings to manage this effectively. Such as:

General Risk Management Procedures

Contract-specific risks

  • Risks
  • Monitoring
  • Mitigation

Risk Lead

Risk Management Experience

Under each subheading, you can then start to write your content.

Sometimes, however, the question is not that easy to break down and maybe a lot smaller, making the whole manageable chunks scenario more difficult.

Does the question ask you to explain, describe, or provide detail of a process and/or situation? If so, this is a useful way of the buyer seeing how well you respond to this and how you’re reacting to their requirements.

Open questioning allows the buyer to ask for a lot of information with a short question.


Describe how you manage risks?

This question is 5 words long; however, your response limit can be in excess of 5,000 words, dependent on your offering and sector.

The management of risks may have reams of information attached to it. The important thing to do is break this down into smaller subheadings and further questioning.

Sometimes the buyer can be quite extensive in their evaluation guidance and based on this, you may already have your subheadings laid out for you, dependent on what the buyer is looking for/marking during the evaluation stage.

If the evaluation guidance doesn’t provide much detail – then look at the specification and make sure you fully understand what the client is looking for, so you can start breaking your response down into further discussion points.

For example: Your subheadings for the above example may be;

  • Recognising Risks– detailing how you identify/assess risks?
  • Monitoring Risks– what system you use to track these risks?
  • Risk Responsibilities– who maintains responsibility for managing risks?
  • Mitigating Risks– what do you do to mitigate said risks?
  • Risk Reviews– how often do you review these to adapt to change?
  • Contract Risks– what you feel are the top risks for this particular contract?
  • Compliance– what national standards/best practice do you comply with?

These are merely seven subheadings you can write about when drafting your response.

Depending on what the contract is for and the specification included – there could be a whole load of various points you need to discuss.

This is merely a small step with Bid Support when looking at a tender response, but a very important one. We are by no means English teachers, but when it comes to developing a response to accommodate buyer’s needs and requirements, we know what we are talking about!

Need further bid support? Get in touch now with our Tender Consultants!

Start by receiving those all-important opportunities today by booking a free demo from one of our 10-industry-specific portals, dedicated to helping you DISCOVER the right tender opportunities to bid for!



We are over the moon to announce that we have been shortlisted for not one, not two, but three awards at this year’s National Best New Business Awards! The awards will be held at Kensington, London, this coming June!

Hudson Procurement Group has been shortlisted as a finalist for Business Innovation and Service Industry of the Year. Our Growth Director, Jill Hudson, has been shortlisted as Woman of the Year!

What an achievement!

“We are ecstatic with our nominations for these national awards. This is a credit to our fantastic team who constantly push the boundaries, allowing us to help our customers in the best possible way and to see continuous organisational growth!” says Jill.

Our organisation has seen massive business growth since our inception in 2016. Working toward 4 key strands of service to our customers. This includes:

Discover Succeed Procure Invest
This is where customers can receive both private and public tender opportunities daily to their inbox and search for tender and business opportunities. These are not only specific to their sector but specific to their actual service! Buyers are able to publish opportunities for free and stay connected to industry-specific suppliers! This involves a team of formidable Bid Managers / Bid Writers, who make up our Tender Consultants.  They support customers to succeed with their tendering efforts through various services. This also includes bid writing, guide and reviews, tender readiness and improvement programmes. Alongside this, our all-new Tender VLE, a virtual learning environment dedicated to helping businesses understand the tendering world. Similar to our Tender Consultants, we have recently launched our Procure Consult offering, where our procurement experts support buyers in helping develop tender documents that make it easier for them to evaluate and procure more effectively, including developing specifications and minimising ‘scope creep’. We are also launching an all-in-one tendering platform that will ensure efficiency when it comes to future tendering! This is where our billion-pound goal comes into effect, utilising the data that we have received for our digital platforms and capitalising on our Spend Trends offering. This will evaluate both national and international procurement spend to help deliver upon economic changes and forecasts around the world. Procurement will not only be easier to digest, but help large companies invest … in what’s best! Coming Soon!

Our Group CEO, John Hudson has commented saying, ‘to be recognised for our efforts on a national scale is fantastic news and for being a new organisation, this demonstrates that Hudson Procurement Group has already established a strong foothold in the UK market today!”

For a list of this year’s award’s finalists – CLICK HERE!

The winner of each category will be revealed at the Awards on Friday 29th June.


Book a free live demo with Creative Tenders to see how we can help your business grow. 



I know what some of you are thinking – what on earth is TUPE?

One thing we are not here to do, is provide you a whole lot of legal jargon surrounding compliance and adherence to specific laws. This blog focuses on the basics of TUPE and how this applies to suppliers who are tendering!

TUPE is an abbreviation of Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment.

This is commonly used in a range of industries and rarely used in others, however we still think this is useful to comprehend, as this is widely considered across many UK tenders.

Let’s give you an example:

So, Bill, Bob and Ben are all IT Technicians for a local council on behalf of Company X.

Company Y has just won the tender to provide the IT Technical Solutions Contract over a 5-year period for this local council, meaning Company X will no longer provide the services.

To ensure Bill, Bob and Ben are not made redundant or out of work due to supplier changeover, the local council has stipulated that TUPE will apply as part of Company Y’s contract win.

Company Y must then liaise with Bill, Bob and Ben and ensure their transfer from Company X over to Company Y goes without a hitch. They undergo company consultations and inductions and ensure a fair and transparent process is followed, which complies with regulations.

Make sense? – it’s basically a procedure, governed by law, to move employees and any liabilities associated with them from an old employer to a new employer, and when it comes to procurement and supplier changeover, TUPE can be rife!

How does it affect you?

Again, this is used dominantly in some sectors, whilst rarely used in others. You may find you may never have to deal with TUPE. But it’s always good to be aware of what to expect.

The likes of Engineering, Technology, Construction, Utilities, Manufacturing and Logistics, where continuous delivery/support is required with certain buyers from grass-root operatives, means TUPE majorly applies to ensure employees of Company A can continue to work on contracts when Company B takes over.

If TUPE does apply and you have to inherit one or more employees as part of the contract-win, you’ll have to consider multiple things regarding the management of TUPE as per your tender response.

What you should do:

  • Assess the TUPE database! – this may be on a spreadsheet or a similar information sheet – make sure full assessment is made on this. This should detail employee liabilities, such as sick pay, holiday pay, etc. This is where the most basic details of the employee come to light, so you can ensure you can afford the staff you may potentially inherit.
  • Price Correctly! – use the details of all TUPE staff (acquired from the database/information sheet) to ensure you are taking into account clear variances in your pricing model. You, as Company 2 may pay your staff a specific amount, but Company 1 may pay them a lot differently. Take this into consideration.
  • Understand your responsibilities! – do you need to contact the new employees directly or will the buyer bridge this relationship initially? – Understand what you need to do when it comes to managing TUPE staff.
  • Get Help! – in your tender response, if there are any questions on TUPE management, state how you’ll use a reputable and fully qualified legal service for support, advice and guidance to ensure full complicity against the regulations.

If you’re struggling with the mind field that can be TUPE regulations and require some support with your tender management approach, GET IN TOUCH TODAY! Our Tender Consultants are always here to help you understand, prepare and succeed!

How about discovering those all-important opportunities where TUPE may or may not apply? Our Tender Connect service, offers 10-industry-specific platforms providing you will both Public AND Private opportunities across your sector.

Framework Agreement – Top 4 questions to ask yourself!


You’re most likely to see the term ‘Framework Agreement’ scattered across our tendering portals, asking for multiple suppliers to deliver/supply either one or more services/goods across various locations. Sounds pretty broad, right?

Well, through utilising a Framework Agreement, this is a much smarter way of working for a lot of buyers and procurement agencies. Although it may be a contractual headache at times, the long-term aspects to delivery remain progressive and are more and more often used across the UK procurement sector.

See our TENDERING DOESN’T NEED TO BE COMPLICATED’ blog for other terms you may see!

Multi-provider Framework Agreements are quite simply, contracts or agreements between one or more organisations. There is such a thing as a Single Provider Framework, where one provider is utilised for ad-hoc call-off requests for particular services/goods, however, that is a story for another day.

Multi-provider frameworks can be exhibited via the following example:

London-based Council seeks up to 8 Creative Agencies / Freelancers (per LOT) to undergo multiple creative services. This includes:

  • LOT 1: – Digital Design & Branding
  • LOT 2: – Website Development & Build
  • LOT 3: – PR & Marketing
  • LOT 4: – Managed Print Services

As you can see here, the buyer is asking for 8 suppliers per LOT (service), meaning there will be a total of 24 suppliers as part of this contract. Although you may have to share the spotlight with your competitors, it’s a fantastic way of getting your company heard across the Creative Sector and to show your position in the market alongside your competitors. Plus, there’s work and money involved.

The majority of companies argue that if you don’t score the highest tender, then your impending work is decreased by a long shot. Sometimes, you may be right, but a lot of the time you may be wrong.

Here are the 4 crucial questions you must ask yourself when tendering for a framework agreement:

1. How many suppliers is the opportunity open to?

Remember, the more suppliers the opportunity is open to, the more chance of securing a place on the Framework.

2. Do you have a good chance of winning it?

Obvious question you might say, but you’d be surprised at how many organisations go for work that (at the time of tendering) they could potentially deliver but haven’t got the corporate literature or writing skills to make them stand out on paper. Look at our ‘To Bid or not to Bid’ blog to look at what you can do to ensure your success is maximised! 

3. Are you going for multiple LOTs?

Do you have to submit a response per service/LOT? Does this mean you have to submit 4 or more tender responses? – if so, always make sure you have the resource and time to do this. Never replicate your answers, always give as much time to each individual tender/LOT to ensure increased chances of success. It is better to focus more of your time with something that you can deliver better in, than going for all LOTs where other competitors may have the upper-hand. Go for the LOT where you know you can be number one! If you don’t think you’ve got the upper-hand, then should you be wasting time on it.

4. What is the process of contract award?

One of the most important aspects of a Framework Agreement is to understand the process that you undergo when you’re in the framework and how is work dished out? This could work in multiple ways, so remember to read the instructions carefully. Some examples include:

  • Mini-competition – this is where the buyer asks all suppliers on the framework to quote them a price for a specific job at hand. This may include a quality aspect also. The cheapest quote wins!
  • First Supplier wins all – this is where the supplier who scored the highest via the tender process, will be guaranteed all work. If they can’t deliver a specific element, then it will go down the chain to the supplier who scored second. If they can’t deliver, then the supplier who came third and so on – all the more reason to be completely focused on the service you work best in and become number one!
  • Drop down effect – some buyers take it in turns to disperse work. In this case, the highest-ranking supplier would receive the first job, the second highest ranking supplier the second job and so on.

All decisions to how the framework is managed are declared by the buyer in the ITT (invitation to tender) stage. It’s usually transparent from the get go!

Find out how you can receive various framework opportunities straight to your inbox, by BOOKING A FREE DEMO TODAY!

Frameworks can be extremely complex when tendering for works. Remember our Tender Consultants are here to help!


Top 6 Necessities to Bid Writing! By Daniel Hall

As Nathanial Hawthorne once said – “easy reading is damn hard writing.”

That is exactly what every bid writer needs to do! Make the reading of the proposed content as easy as possible for the buyer/evaluator to comprehend.

Although I’m considered the Procurement / Content Manager across the Hudson Procurement Group, this is a position I gladly accepted based on my skills as a bid writer!

Like any job in the world, there are highlights and there are headaches. Bid Writing ain’t no piece of cake and you need to make sure you always focus on delivering the highlights to avoid getting a headache!

Here are my Top 6 Necessities when you are writing a bid:

1. Start planning

If you go in with the intention of winging it – you’ll undoubtedly lose. Make sure you create a Gantt chart (or similar) and assign clearly-defined roles for pertinent actions and time-bound deadlines for the likes of first drafts, content completion and reviews.

 2. Adapt your content

You can reuse some previous content but please remember that every question is different and you’ll need to adapt this to align with the specification. You will, in a lot of cases, have to rewrite your content based on the ongoing changing needs of buyers.

3. Make it appealing

In ITTs, it is of course, typically all about your written word and the way you respond to buyer requirements in a confident and engaging manner. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t jazz your content up. On ‘free-flowing’ proposals (those that aren’t constrained by word counts and the inability to change your response layout). Use the likes of InDesign to make your proposal stand out! There’s nothing better than a first class response that is both descriptive, assertive and makes use of images, infographics, charts and other visually engaging content – depending on the opportunity and sector of course!

4. Know your buyer

Research goes a heck of a long way, especially when you can provide additional value that accommodates your buyer’s goals and aspirations. Hit the [e]books and start researching the buyer to help you gain further insight into what further points you can respond to.

5. Remain assertive and direct

Never write terms like – ‘we shall try …’ instead use assertive vocabulary such as ‘we will …’ – act like the contract is yours already.  Describe what you are going to do not what you’re willing, attempting or trying to do. Write this using bullet points. It allows the response to remain concise, free from superfluous information and more direct- overall supporting your assertiveness.

6. Review. Review. Review

Get your peers to check this. If you’re working on a piece of work for 3 days straight, you’ll have undoubtedly missed simple grammatical mistakes that others will pick up on. Leave it a day or two and go back to review the lot. The more time you have away from any finalised work, the more attention and recognition you give when you come back to it.

These are just a few helpful yet brief hints when bid writing.

Make sure you check out our Tender Consultants for further support OR our Impending Tender VLE service, offering FREE video tutorials on all aspects of bid writing and tendering.


Tender help? Top 5 Tips – March 2018. 

I’ve learnt a lot over the last 15 years of tendering. I’ve made all the mistakes you’re likely to have made and I’ve read hundreds if not thousands of pieces of feedback, both good and bad.

I’ve also sat on both sides of the table. Both as a buyer and a supplier, which allows me a unique perspective on what you should and shouldn’t do when tendering.

During 2018 I will be providing you with thorough tender help in the form of a monthly ‘Top 5 Tips when Tendering’, passing on my knowledge of how to keep on track when bidding for work, in both public and private sectors.

Mastering the art of tender writing is complex. It isn’t something which can be achieved overnight, but once you have a solid foundation, you will be set to achieve significant growth in your business.

With that in mind, my top tips for March 2018 are:

Number 1 – Be realistic

If you turnover £100,000 you’re not going to win a million-pound contract.  If you only set up your creative agency two months ago, you’re not going to win London Fashion Week. Start small and build up.

Number 2 – Set realistic goals

Don’t expect to win the first tender you submit. If you win it, then it is a bonus. Put a value on what you would like to generate in the first year and be sensible with the effort you’ll have to put in to reach that target.

Number 3 – Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If something is unclear, then ask the question. This is usually via the dedicated tender system or email address provided, but make sure you follow their process for clarifications.

Number 4 – Can you make a profit?

If you can’t, bin it. You need to be ruthless and move on.

Number 5 – Ask yourself.  Do you have the time needed to give it your all?

If you don’t feel like you can, don’t even start the tender. Don’t forget, there are other businesses that will put their best resource on winning this tender. You need to compete and assume you’re up against the best. Go for it and give it everything you have.

I hope these tips are useful. If you’re looking at a tender, ask yourself these questions. If you’re still unsure take a look at some other blogs on our website and stay tuned for our Tender VLE website for more response-specific videos we have created.

Or better yet, get in touch with our Tender Consultants for professional tender help.

We are happy to help!

Good luck.


What are CPV Codes? The Pains of Procurement

CPV Codes – the abbreviation most people assume is Complex, Problematic, Valueless.

In actual fact, the term stands for Common Procurement Vocabulary – although the prior may still apply.

 What are they?

CPV codes are used to categorise tenders into a ‘subject matter’. This allows for buyers to classify a criterion of what they want to procure and helping suppliers source these business opportunities more efficiently and effectively.

Or so we had hoped.

CPV Codes are 8-digit signifiers, followed by a classification number (for e.g. 12345678-1). This is to electronically source tender/business opportunities and publish them in front of the eyes of the right businesses that offer the required service.

Basically – when a Council needs to tender for a Security contract (for example) over 5 years costing approximately £700,000 per annum, they have to post this on OJEU (due to the high value amount). They publicise this to both UK and European companies (due to the value) and list the code in order for it to be recognised by relevant Security Companies nationally and internationally. In this case, the code is 79710000-4.

This opportunity is then broadcast on various websites across the country specifically appealing to those companies who are registered on various platforms to receive opportunities with the code 79710000-4.

Following so far?

Now, the initial concept of CPV codes was destined to be the answer to buyers and supplier’s prayers nationally, as procurement moved closer toward the digital age over a decade ago. However, somewhere along the line, things got a tad confusing and more complex.

Because UK procurement is so vast and wide, there is literally a CPV code for every service and product you can think of that is mainstreamed in the UK/EU. It’s apparent that a lot of buyers are either not aware of this, are using codes incorrectly or not using them at all.

Want to find out about CPV codes and love a little light reading? Feel free to read this 375-page document – it tells you every code from the supply of Petroleum jelly (09221100-5) to the supply of Beetroot (03221111-7).

In 2016, there was a large piece of research carried out by the European Commission which stated that out of the sampled 405 contract notices tested.  23% had the wrong code associated with the scope of work tendered. That is nearly a quarter of notices not being sourced and published in the correct way through using these codes, making it HARDER for buyers to get their opportunities in front of the right businesses. Now imagine if they had tested 1000 contract notices. How many of these would have been seen by a minority and not the majority.

A recent example of this (from Feb 2018 – below) shows a DPS for the Provision of One-to-One Tutors.

CPV Codes
CPV Codes

Please also see ‘DPS – What is a Dynamic Purchasing System?’ for more information on this type of opportunity.

The buyer AND online portal in question have used the following code – 80000000-4 Education & Training Services, and probably unbeknownst to the buyer, there is a more specific code available for use – Tutorial Services 80590000-6. This is a prime example of how opportunities aren’t filtered across sub-sectors and are typically kept general and as a supplier (for let’s say ‘Business Enterprise Training’, who don’t offer 1-2-1 tutorials to children) you are either inundated with irrelevant opportunities or depending on what codes are used and which portals you are registered with (as not  websites use CPV coding) – receiving no opportunities at all.

Now, what if the buyer had only used the code Tutorial Services 80590000-6 and the supplier wasn’t receiving notifications due to them clicking an incorrect code upon sign-up or if the portal doesn’t use the CPV code option all at.


It’s worthy to note that a contract for the ‘COLLECTION OF KEY QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION ON THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION’S MERGER DECISIONS’ was never awarded due to the code for ‘market research’ being used, when in fact, something more appropriate like the code for ‘economic research’ or ‘research services’ could have been used.

 This is where Tender Connect steps in.

We NEVER rely on CPV codes and through using procurement specialists, we filter through all opportunities in the Creative Sector across hundreds of notification platforms daily to ensure our customers receive the bespoke opportunities that apply to THEM!

The majority of national portals have electronic algorithms that scour and publish opportunities based on CPV codes alone, meaning a quarter of these are not being publicised as effectively as they can be.

With our services – If you are a website/digital agency, a design agency or an events management company, you’ll receive individual tenders that apply to you.

We also provide Full Service Agencies a range of opportunities that are specific to them too!


Please see our ‘Why use Creative Tenders’ blog for how this works in full.

Or for more information about our Creative Tenders portal CLICK HERE.

Don’t get put off by CPV codes.

We don’t use them!

We don’t need to!

Join the revolution!

Small Businesses, sick of the Government taking money off you? It’s time to turn the tables….

Small Businesses, sick of the Government taking money off you? It’s time to turn the tables….

So, we are almost half way through 2017 and everybody, especially small to medium business owners, are struggling to keep up with government decisions. Particularly, how politics has destabilised their playing field with Brexit, General Elections and certain decisions leading to uncertainty in the marketplace.

Such uncertainty is highlighted in the mixed bag of results thrown up by the numerous surveys published since the turn of the year.  For example one survey, Close Brothers Business Barometer, shows that 64% of companies surveyed with a turnover of less that £500k said they were not confident about the UK’s economic outlook for 2017. Whereas, Yahoo Finance highlighted research carried out by the American Express Global SME Pulse, which showed that 50% of UK SME’s surveyed expect to see growth of at least 4% over the year.

Such is the uncertainty for SME’s that, in a poll by funding-provider Liberis, 58% of all SME bosses listed reducing costs as their priority while a mere 39% said that their priority was to expand their business.

What most businesses seem unaware of is that we are fast approaching 2020, the deadline for the government achieving its pledge to spend £1 in every £3 with SME’s.  Whilst most government pledges are met with a shrug of suspicion and disinterest, it would be worth noting that this particular pledge could add up to £15bn worth of business opportunities.

It seems like a scam?

While you may be of the opinion that the halls of Westminster don’t always echo with the sounds of MPs championing the ‘little guy’. In this case there actually is something in it for you. In 2015, the Cabinet Office announced an ambitious new target to get more small businesses working on central government contracts.

In 2013 to 2014, central government spent £11.4bn with small and medium-sized businesses, by 2020, the government wants to increase this by an extra £3bn per year directly or through the supply chain. As part of these targets, the government has improved the way it buys goods and services to help more small businesses bid for public sector contracts, by streamlining the process and making winning business that much easier.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock said, “This is such an amazing opportunity for the country’s diverse and innovative small businesses, and today I urge them to get stuck in. From computers to uniforms – there are so many opportunities for small businesses to work with us, and I want to see more of them providing value for money for the taxpayer and benefiting from our spending.”

John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service said, “Further opening up our marketplace to small businesses is good economic sense all round – making it easier for them to access and win government business opportunities, whilst encouraging increased competition and market innovation to deliver best value for the taxpayer.”

But aren’t government contracts notoriously difficult to apply for?

Historically, the process was lengthy and complicated but as Emma Jones, the government’s Crown Representative for SME’s recently blogged, things are a now a whole lot easier and she urges businesses to seize this opportunity to bid for and win government contracts.

She goes on to inform that the Prime Minister announced a review of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which will look at how they can increase the initiative’s impact and give more innovators their first break and that they realise that working with small businesses with new ideas generates innovation in government.

So, they do want your goods and services and with the government currently looking for everything from toiletries to tax advice, marketing services to interior design, and with the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing that the government pays suppliers within 30 days, it is time to take advantage.

I’m interested, but I’ve never tendered before, what is my next step?

Now that you know all of these great opportunities are out there but are new to the tendering process, please don’t be put off.  Help is at hand in the form of Hudson Procurement Group who will put in place a bespoke solution to help guide you through the process and also steer you to success in landing contracts.

Through Tender Connect, businesses are able to purchase services from our suppliers on ten sector specific platforms.  It also acts as an inter-trading platform allowing buyers and suppliers to trade with one another creating a sense of community and business collaboration.

Our tender consultancy service, Tender Consultants Ltd, allows you to access the best bid writers in the UK, led by Jill Hudson, a focused and energetic Growth Coach. With over a decade of tender writing experience, and growing both UK and international businesses across a range of sectors, Jill has developed bespoke Tender Ready exercises which allows businesses to either take the first steps into tendering, or improve success rates where they may currently be lacking

We offer Tender Training for companies looking for support with Tendering and one to one coaching that is specific to your business and, due to common requests we’ve had from customers, we’ve launched a Tender Writing service for those businesses who wanted tenders writing on their behalf.

Take the first step, visit Hudson Succeed online or call us on 0203 051 2217 today.


Book a free live demo with Creative Tenders to see how we can help your business grow.