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On 17 June 2024 the Minister for Finance, Senator Katy Gallagher, announced updates to the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs), and the introduction of the Commonwealth Supplier Code of Conduct (Code). Both the CPRs and the Code will come into effect on 1 July 2024. To support business’s preparation ahead of the effective date, information on the Code is available on the Finance website, and the Responding to an Approach to Market and If you are awarded a contract sections of the Selling to Government website. Further information on the changes to the CPRs is also available on the Finance website. Finance is updating content on the Selling to Government website to align with the updated CPRs.

How do I give my tender response the best chance of success?

The following quick checklist presents some key points to consider when preparing your tender submission to give it the best chance of success:

  • Is this the right opportunity for your business, and does your business have access to the necessary capability and capacity required to deliver the required goods and / or services?
  • Do you understand all the requirements?
  • Have you attended any briefing offered?
  • How, when and where are tender submissions to be lodged?
  • Have you planned your tender preparation and allowed plenty of time to meet the deadline?
    • This includes ensuring you have all licences, required documentation and evidence of compliance with related policies at hand and ready to include in your submission.
  • Is your response straightforward and to the point?
  • Have you addressed all mandatory conditions for participation and evaluation criteria?
  • Have you demonstrated value for money?
  • Have you emphasised what sets you apart from your competitors?

The questions in this checklist have been expanded below to give you some further things to consider as you prepare your tender response. This section complements the information available in the below sections of the Guide to selling:

Is this the right opportunity for your business?

Participating in tender processes can involve costs for your business in terms of developing a competitive response that meets minimum requirements, with no guarantee of success.

Take the time to determine whether each opportunity is potentially rewarding and cost‑effective to pursue, based on its match with your competitive advantage, your demonstrable business history and experience, your business capability and capacity, and the size of the market.

Do you understand all the requirements?

It may sound simple, but be sure to read the tender documents carefully, highlight key points, and seek clarification from the procuring organisation as soon as possible – particularly if you are uncertain about any issue or require clarification of information.

Have you attended any briefing offered?

Be sure to attend an industry briefing if it is offered. Industry briefings provide an efficient opportunity to ask questions and hear what competitors may ask. Attending these sessions will give you a better idea if this business opportunity is right for you, and how to best prepare your business to tender.

As part of their market research or market impact analysis, some Australian Government organisations may hold industry engagement events prior to approaching the market. These are often advertised on AusTender or through industry organisations, sectoral newsletters, and different types of media, including social media, and the organisation’s website.

How, when and where are tender submissions lodged?

Most Australian Government organisations utilise AusTender’s electronic tender lodgement functionality for the secure submission of tender submissions, but the lodgement method is on a case-by-case basis.

The method and timeframe for lodgement of tender submissions will be included in request documentation. For business opportunities advertised on AusTender, the ATM notice will contain the lodgement method and closing time and date for the ATM.

Make sure you check the lodgement method and timeframe as soon as you decide to lodge a submission to an ATM, so you understand how long you have to prepare a submission.

Have you planned your tender preparation well and allowed plenty of time to lodge your submission?

Late tenders cannot be accepted, so make sure you know where and when your tender submission must be lodged. If you need to form a consortium or engage sub-contractors to complete the work, be sure to allow others enough time to provide input into the tender submission.

When preparing your submission, make sure to have all of the documentation, evidence of certifications or compliance with relevant policies and any other material required to present a complete submission.

It is also valuable to monitor AusTender Business Opportunities so you know as early as possible of the release of an approach to market.

Is your response straightforward and to the point?

There is no standard format for tender responses—they vary depending on the nature and complexity of the procurement. However, you will always need to complete any mandatory forms, provide any requested evidence or attachments, and follow formatting style or templates and schedules provided. Your tender submission will be evaluated on content, not extravagant presentation. It is also a good idea to use simple, straightforward language and keep to the point.

Put your response into the same order as the information in the request documents so that it is easy to follow for the people evaluating submissions. Use headings and lists to make your content clear. Do not include merchandising material unless it is permitted and addresses the evaluation criteria directly.

Have you addressed all mandatory minimum requirements and conditions for participation and all evaluation criteria?

It is extremely important to demonstrate that you comply with all specified conditions for participation, and that you address all the evaluation criteria and any other specified requirements. Make sure that your business can comply with the terms and conditions of the draft contract.

Remember, if you do not meet the minimum requirements and conditions for participation, your response will be set aside and excluded from further consideration.

Check that you have addressed every evaluation criterion effectively, and that your response fully demonstrates your ability to deliver the work required. Ensure you sign any declarations required and include any additional attachments and / or evidence requested.

Further information on common minimum requirements is included in the Frequently Asked Questions – Minimum Requirements section of this website.

Have you demonstrated value for money?

Value for money is the key consideration for Australian Government buyers.

It is very important to understand that Australian Government organisations are looking for value for money rather than just the cheapest price.

Value for money includes the price, as well as other factors such as total costs of ownership (e.g., repairs and maintenance, end of life disposal costs), quality and suitability of the goods and services for the purpose and availability in the timeframe.

Always bid competitively the first time. You will probably not be given a chance to improve your offer later in the process. Equally, do not under-price to win the work assuming you will be able to extend the value of the contract or increase your price once the contract is signed. You will be required to commit to the price you have quoted in your tender submission. Be sure not to over-promise in your tender response, as this could cause trouble for you later on if you are unable to deliver.

Have you emphasised what sets you apart from your competitors?

Think about how you would evaluate your tender submission against the evaluation criteria if you were the official responsible for assessing tender responses. You may wish to emphasise areas where you exceed the requirements, and where you feel you can add value for the Australian Government organisation or contribute more broadly to the Australian economy. Your tender submission will usually be competing against several alternative proposals, so be sure to clearly identify potential points of difference from your competitors (for example, where you may be suggesting an innovative business solution).

Have you clearly explained why you should be selected?

Do not assume that the Australian Government buyer knows you and your business, even if you have worked for the tendering organisation before. The people for whom you have worked in the past may not be a part of this tender process, so you cannot assume that the buyer will know anything about your previous work for their organisation.

Be sure to fully explain what you do and how your product or service will meet the requirements. Your offer will be judged on the information contained in your tender submission, so be sure to provide enough detail to demonstrate why your business should be the preferred supplier. Do not pad your tender unnecessarily or fill it with marketing – just stick to the facts and give good examples of what you can do to meet the requirements.