Tender after another tender

Doing business sucks some times. I love working with a wide range of people - clients in the public, private and charitable sector. Exciting lively people - for instance we did a brand workshop with a firm of lawyers recently.
Sounds awful doesn't it? Twenty people crammed in to a conference room. But they were wonderful, honest and open in defining what they were. And we have come up with a killer strategy for them which will include a Web2.0 gig too!
And then there are tender documents - usually public service - which I hate. For anyone who has not tendered for business in the public sector the bulk of the documentation involves your policies on the environment, health & safety, equal opportunities, public liability insurance, professional liability insurance, risk assessment report etc. These take two days to get together. All wasted time.
Lowest on the list of their priorities are creativity, strategy and implementation. Who reads these things anyway? Usually a checklist ticking committee who have no understanding of PR or communications.
So will we complete another tender? Probably - because that's business.
The last one we lost out on was because our H&S policy was not strong enough. We are a communications agency and have had no serious accidents or deaths in our history. Sigh!


Simon Wakeman said...

Hi Ian,

As someone on the other side of the public sector procurement fence I know exactly what you mean.

All I can say is that as a communicator commissioning work, I'm not that interested in all the paperwork - it's the quality of the creative, thoughts and people that I score tenders on.

Any communicator who uses quality of H&S policies to differentiate between tendering agencies really isn't doing his/her job properly.

I have regular discussions with our procurement team to try to reduce the paperwork associated with tendering - coming from the private sector some of the rules about tendering astound me!


ploop said...

Tenders are a furious pain in neck, I couldn't agree more.

We are seven strong and have lost out on tenders due to poor health and safety planning too. It all becomes an exercise in bullshit with little or no interest whatsoever in the creativity of your pitch.

Ian Green said...

Thanks. I think I hit a nerve here. We have got to the point now where we seriously consider whether to enter into a tender pitch with government agencies because often it's a lottery game.
Last year we did one when the tendering authority was looking through more than 70 applications!
I also agree that the PC nature of these tenders have gone mad. What concerns me is that they have already made their decision before the process begins but because they have to go though the process they get five other agencies to invest a week's effort and resource in a tender that they are going to dismiss anyway.
Am I starting ramble?

Simon Wakeman said...

Now if you felt really vindictive (and ready to burn any bridges you may have), hit them with a freedom of information request for all information relating to the pitch, including notes, scorecards etc!

Public sector communicators who haven't been on the other side of the pitch fence don't seem to appreciate that for an agency a pitch is a significant time (and therefore financial) investment.

I think I'm starting to ramble, but the whole thing does make me embarassed on behalf of the public sector, and starts me off again longing to be back on the other side of the fence. If only there was a more vibrant Kent provincial PR scene....!


Ian Green said...

Great idea - but I like my bridges intact