Bidding in Scotland is the same as bidding in England – just change the names??
Wrong! – I’m currently working for several companies who appreciate that there are fundamental differences, even when bidding for very similar services. Getting this right will help your business get a share of the £10 billion per annum of tendered public expenditure in Scotland.
So, what’s different then? I’ll list a few points that bidders should be aware of:
Legislation – Scotland has its own legal system, so any reference to legislation needs checking
Government – Scotland has its own Parliament with responsibility for health, education, legal and justice system, housing and planning, farming and forestry, culture and the arts and water regulation, to name the main powers
Geography – Scotland has a large land area (60% of England’s size), so bids for national contracts need to reflect how goods and services will be delivered country wide. For example, how will you deliver services to rural Scotland e.g. Highlands & Islands, in bad weather?
Terminology – Very important to use the correct terms as using English terms where there are Scottish equivalents will undermine your bid. For example, it is NHS Boards in Scotland, not Trusts; Scotland does not have Academy schools (any schools called academies will be either comprehensive or private schools); and there are no ALMOs (Arms Length Management Organisations) in Scottish housing; to name just a few of the different terminologies
Sensitivities – There may be some sensitivities about the profit from the contract leaving the country. Bidders need to give thought to how they will promote local employment, use local suppliers i.e. community benefits and articulate this in a way that will have resonance in Scotland
Scottish bidders also need to recognise the subtle differences when they are bidding in England. One Scottish bidder was questioned about their reference to “time served plumbers”. The client was concerned that the bidder was planning to use criminals for the contract. “Time served” in Scotland means that the person has completed an apprenticeship; in England it means that the person has “done time” in prison!
So, the moral… if you are spending time, effort and money bidding in Scotland, it will be well worth involving a Scottish based bid services consultant for bid strategy and bid review assistance.