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Top tips for tendering at your local authority

16th December 2019 Posted by

SUEZ Materials Recycling FacilitySomerset Waste Partnership recently completed a successful tender for the council’s waste collection options, despite challenging circumstances. Following the release of the reflective guide from all parties involved in their recent recycling and waste collection contract a recent webinar was co-hosted by SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and letsrecycle.com shared the procurement process of the Somerset Waste Partnership.

The panel at the webinar included Mickey Green, Managing Director of the Somerset Waste Partnership, Andy Grant, Technical Director at Eunomia Research & Consulting Ltd who were the lead technical advisors, and Peta Johnson who led SUEZ’s successful bid.

You can watch the webinar recording here.

The five takeaways from the webinar

  1. Recognising that the policy landscape will change is key – build in flexibility to the process and schedule review periods in the contract to enable both parties to reflect on changing circumstances. This will help to make the contract look attractive for the market and for ensuring the contract is not priced for all the uncertainty upfront
  2. Using the right procurement process will save money – Somerset Waste Partnership utilised the dialogue meetings to focus on the things that could be changed, to drill down into the technical solutions and to find ways of sharing the risks appropriately, which in turn ensured the prices were sharp and competitive
  3. Having a good team (including advisors) was essential to enabling progress and dealing with uncertainty – having the core team at the dialogue meetings helped all parties to refine solutions, whilst good documentation ahead of all meetings allowed bidders to work through options and scenarios and bring back questions and ideas
  4. Knowing what you want in terms of service will save time and effort – bidders don’t like costing up endless options and variations if they are unlikely to be delivered, so focus on what you want and need and test it early on in terms of the affordability window with the bidders
  5. Understanding the market is vital if you want competition – testing out contract lengths, procurement routes, timetables and key objectives with the market early on will avoid launching a tender exercise with little interest.

Throughout the session we asked the audience if the current level of uncertainty was forcing their hand in terms of procurement options, and the resulting poll was not surprising at all:

  • 36% are actively considering in-sourcing the service
  • 28% are committed to outsourcing
  • 36% are looking to delay their procurement until we have greater certainty.

SUEZ Romaquip vehicleWe published the guide to provide confidence to the 70 or so local authorities that are due to come to market in the period 2020-2023, whilst policy remains uncertain. Judging by the feedback, 73% of our audience felt more confident about procuring in uncertain times at the end of the session than they had at the beginning, the insights provided in the guide should do just that.

So, if you are thinking about the market, and are worried about your service and the tendering process then please spare an hour to listen to the experts who took part in the webinar, and to follow up read the short guide with top tips and lessons learned. It will help to demystify uncertainty and confirm the flexibility of procuring a partner.

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