Winning Public Sector Work is Key for Third Sector Sustainability
Today the Wales Co-operative Centre supported the WCVA in hosting a mini-conference for the third sector on How to Win Tenders. Here, Rhian Edwards, Project Manager for Business Succession and Consortia, looks at the importance of public sector contracts for the Third Sector.
“The public sector in Wales spends around £4.3bn each year through procurement, and winning business with the public sector is crucial for the financial sustainability of many third sector organisations in Wales. Many actually have long standing relationships with these public sector bodies, and have been delivering valued services under grant arrangements, service level agreements, and spot contracts for many years.
“The shift now however to a more competitive tendering environment has been a hard transition for many of these organisations. Contracts are being wrapped up into bigger, more complex lots, and the move towards move collaborative and regionalised tendering is making access to opportunities even harder. Smaller third sector organisations particularly are feeling the strain, feeling very alienated from these opportunities.
“The event today offered practical advice and guidance on how best to win work with public sector bodies. Attendees heard what public sector buyers look for in tenders, had a procurement policy update from Value Wales, and heard the experiences of third sector organisations that have been successful and unsuccessful in winning public sector work. There was also a range of workshops available looking at key issues such as collaborating to win work, effective pitch presentation and contract management.
“Public sector bodies are increasingly looking to engage with the third sector in the delivery of innovative, citizen centred services. However, many third sector organisations feel the procurement processes used by these bodies is a major barrier to them winning this work. The Wales Co-operative Centre and WCVA are working closely with both the supply and the buy side to help overcome these challenges. In October 2013, we jointly launched the Joint Bidding Guide, in partnership with the Welsh Government. The Guide, endorsed by the Minister for Finance, is a toolkit designed to help anyone involved in the bidding cycle for public contracts, whether as a buyer or a potential supplier. The Guide supports the work of the Centre’s Consortia Development Team, who work directly with organisations to help form consortia to bid for work.
“Together with WCVA, we feel this on-going work, supported by events like today’s, will go some way to strengthening the tendering skills and capacity of the third sector and improve their win rate.”
Project Manager, Business Succession and Consortia