As a bid writing professional, I wouldn’t dream of submitting a bid unless it had been reviewed, by more than one person, and usually, I have more than one review. Ideally, if your client has sufficient resources, then you can hire a professional editor or proofreader. But many organisations are not able to do this, and therefore reviews have to be carried out internally.
Effective reviewing is one of the most important tools for producing a good quality bid. But there is often confusion over what is meant by ‘reviewing’ in a bid context. People can also get a bit defensive about reviews, especially if they get feedback that requires them to do a lot of editing. (Who wants more work?) I find that it helps to refer to it as ‘polishing’ the bid, highlighting what is already good, and being constructive in the comments. Reviewing is a tool – it’s not a stick to beat people with!
To ensure the process is effective, give reviewers clear guidance on why they are reviewing and what type of feedback they should provide. For example, in the past, I have asked a client to read a draft bid to sign off the service solution, and they have come back with ‘there’s a typo on page 11.’ AND THAT’S IT!
So be very clear, that you are asking reviewers to check for:
- Overall offer
- That attachments/diagrams/policies are consistent with what is written in the bid.
Also get the right person to review, depending on what they’re reviewing for. For example, you need a strategic thinker to review the overall offer. Both a finance and an operational person should review the budget, to ensure everything is included, and that resources are realistic to deliver the service.
You want to ask your most picky, thorough, detail-orientated person to check for consistency and proofreading. That’s the right person to carry out this type of review. For example, I’ve seen bids where the same member of staff has been referred to as a ‘case worker’ in one answer, and a ‘support worker’ in another. Why is this a problem? I have known commissioners to mark down the bid scores because not all the staff mentioned in the bid were included in the financial model. They couldn’t find a reference to support workers in the financial schedule, because there they had been called case workers. So, as well as being irritating for someone reading your bid, it can also affect your overall score.
Whatever you do, do not skimp on reviewing, it really is one of the keys to bid excellence.