Government RFPs – to bid or not to bid
Requests for Proposal from Government Departments (Government RFPs)
differ from those from commercial companies in a few ways. Government
procurement is highly regulated, and therefore Government RFPs and RFPs
issued by their agencies and other decentralized government departments
have a standard format and structure.
How do they differ from commercial RFPS?
Government Departments usually keep a list of approved
suppliers to which you can apply to be added and this list is used to
invite bids. Governments in most countries are also required by law
to publish or announce RFPs in a public forum while private companies
can limit their bidders as they see fit.
Government RFP process
The method used by governments to buy goods and
services for the state is governed by complicated regulations and is,
predictably, bureaucratic. Become familiar with Government regulations
in your country before submitting the bid. Some Government RFPs are now
being issued in electronic form but still require a hard-copy of the bid
to be hand delivered or mailed.
Government bid documents
The content of a government RFP will include:
- Information to bidders. This provides all necessary instructions
for preparing your proposal. These include how they want your bid
organized, how to submit questions, how the proposal is to be delivered
- Scope of (SOW) Describes what the Government wants you to do or supply and asks you to provide details of your solution.
- Pricing Schedule. This section is most important and
instructions should be closely followed. It is often requested in a
spreadsheet format for easy comparison with other bids.
- Delivery instructions. Read carefully as this may
impact on pricing. It states how contract deliverables will be packaged
and shipped or reports provided.
- Performance, Inspection and Acceptance issues. This
section covers due dates, quality control, the handling of rejects and
explains remedies for defaulters.
- Contract Administration. This explains how your firm
will interact with them, how they handle changes and extensions to
contracts, and how documentation will be exchanged.
- Terms and Conditions. Government RFPs include
specific clauses that will be incorporated into the contract and will be
- Appendices. These are sometime also called exhibits.
This is a list of attachments which you need to refer to when you
respond to the RFP. It will include technical specifications and
- Submissions. These are documents you need to provide
such as your tax status, personnel numbers, ownership of your firm,
type of business organization etc.
- Evaluation Criteria and the Award. Defines the
factors and weighting used by the selection team to rank or grade your
proposal. The award decision is made on this evaluation.
Unfortunately, many qualified bidders choose not to
respond to Government RFPs because of the long purchasing cycle and the
mound of paperwork involved. The fact is that the government and its
agencies control the highest value and the greatest number of projects.
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