K Low Consulting announces new director

David Oakes

We are pleased to announce that David Oakes, who has been working with us as a consultant for the last two years, has now joined the business as a company director.

David brings a detailed understanding of the health and social care bidding landscape drawing directly upon roles within local government commissioning, charity, third and the private-sector organisations. The experience allows him to provide clients with a detailed understanding of each opportunity, working with them to develop the bid ‘culture’ and associated strategies needed to deliver outstanding submissions – as evidenced by an 89% win rate across all submissions.  

David started working with our founder Krisja Low after meeting at the Minor Oak co-working space in Nottingham just over two years ago. They soon realised their skills and experience complemented each other and David has gone on to work for K Low Consulting on a variety of projects, showing dedication, commitment and passion to both the business and its clients.

David said: “I am hugely excited to come on board as a director at K Low Consulting. Our working relationship has really developed over the last two and a half years and works really well.

“I’m also really excited about the increasing number of tender opportunities relating to health tech. From virtual wards to the hybrid way of working, this sector is only going to grow over the coming months and years and that is great news for the innovative businesses developing and offering these services and technological solutions.”

To find out more about K Low Consulting and the services we offer, go back to the Home Page.

To contact David, email david.oakes@klowconsulting.com.

What is next for adult social care?

Social care

On 7 September 2021, the government set out its new plan for adult social care reform in England. This included a lifetime cap on the amount anyone in England will need to spend on their personal care, alongside a means-test for local authority financial support.

These plans were part of the Build Back Better campaign announced by the government which has been created to repair the health and social care systems following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like similar plans to revolutionise Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), the government wants to bring various agencies and organisations together to reform social care.

How will social care be funded?


From October 2023, the government will introduce a new £86,000 cap on the amount anyone in England will need to spend on their personal care over their lifetime.

In addition to this, the upper capital limit (UCL), the point at which people become eligible to receive some financial support from their local authority, will rise to £100,000 from the current £23,250. The UCL of £100,000 will apply universally, irrespective of the circumstances or setting in which an individual receives care. The lower capital limit (LCL), the threshold below which people will not have to pay anything for their care from their assets will increase to £20,000 from £14,250.

As part of these changes, there has been a proposed amendment to the Care Act 2014 to the way that people within the means test progress towards the cap. This amendment, subject to Parliamentary approval, will ensure that only the amount that the individual contributes towards these costs will count towards the cap on care costs, and people do not reach the cap at an artificially faster rate than what they contribute.

To allow people receiving means-tested support to keep more of their own income, the government will unfreeze the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) for those receiving care in their own homes and Personal Expenses Allowance (PEA) for care home residents, so that they rise in line with inflation.

The cap will not cover the daily living costs (DLCs) for people in care homes, and people will remain responsible for their daily living costs throughout their care journey, including after they reach the cap. For simplicity, these costs will be set at the equivalent of £200 per week in 2021 prices.

The means test for financial support will continue to work in the same way as it does currently by determining what someone can afford to contribute towards the costs of their care based on their assets and pension.

What else will change?


As well as the Build Back Better policy proposals, the government also released a white paper in March 2022 entitled People at the Heart of Care: adult social care reform, which went further to pledge fundamental changes to the social care system in the UK over the next three years.

These include:

  • Investing at least £300 million to integrate housing into local health and care strategies, with a focus on increasing the range of new supported housing options available
  • At least £150 million of additional funding to drive greater adoption of technology and achieve widespread digitisation across social care to support independent living and improve the quality of care
  • Releasing £500 million so the social care workforce have the right training and qualifications
  • A new practical support service to make minor repairs and changes in people’s homes to help people remain independent and safe in their home
  • Increasing the upper limit of the Disabilities Facilities Grant for home adaptations such as stairlifts, wet rooms and home technologies
  • Up to £25 million to support unpaid carers
  • More than £70 million to improve the delivery of care and support services, including assisting local authorities to better plan and develop the support and care options available

What does this all mean for tendering opportunities?


With additional funding for adult social care products and services being released, that can only mean one thing – more tender opportunities and potential contracts.

Pushing the adoption of technology, training and qualifications and working with local authorities to develop support services all present fantastic opportunities for organisations in those areas.

If you would like to be made aware when relevant tender opportunities come up in your industry or field of expertise, contact us today on 0330 1331 041 or info@klowconsulting.com to see how we can help.

Can you deliver on the promises made in your tender bid?

tender contract win

In our last three blogs, we have written about the first three phases of our ‘Four Phase approach’ to tender bids and the benefits of working through these phases to ensure a successful bid outcome.

Phase 1 looks at the importance of developing a contract strategy, which is followed by Phase 2 – Opportunity Analysis and then Phase 3 – Tender Writing and Management.

Our fourth and final phase looks at Implementation and Contract Management, which is essentially the mobilisation stage.

What is meant by mobilisation?


Once you have demonstrated to a commissioner that you have the resources, skills and expertise or perfect product to deliver the contract, you need to deliver the goods, so to speak.

Efficient mobilisation and implementation of your organisation’s services is critical to fulfilling the requirements of the tender and contract.

You need to get the contract ‘up and running’ smoothly, ensuring an easy and enjoyable customer journey for the organisation awarding the contract and any service or product users. You also need to meet any expectations and targets or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) from day one and keep checking on these regularly.

Processes and guidelines


One way to ensure that everything works as intended and meets client expectations is to create processes. And, if you already have processes in place, break these down and scrutinise them before you are due to start delivering the contract. Can these be simplified or improved in any way? Does everyone in the process know EXACTLY what they need to be doing? Do they have all the equipment, budget and resources they need to be able to deliver the best possible service?

Here at K Low Consulting, we work with our clients to do just this.

As part of our bid management process, we design and develop a Mobilisation and Implementation Plan which provides clear guidelines and schedules and ensures everyone is working to the same specifications and expectations. And, we work with organisations to break down complex processes into manageable work streams with clear ownership of tasks.

Managing growth effectively


Many tender bids, if successful, ultimately result in growth for the business. Growth can sometimes mean that processes that used to work on a smaller scale aren’t as effective once you scale up. And, you can’t just ‘give things a try’ and then fix it if and when it all goes wrong. You need to manage any risk involved and plan ahead, looking for any potential problems as part of the tender bid process so these can be resolved before you are awarded the contract. Use the time between submission and contract award to test any processes and procedures.

Contract management support


We find that managing the delivery of a contract is sometimes easier as an ‘outsider looking in’. An impartial, extra pair of eyes and ears can be hugely beneficial.

Following submission and contract award, we provide ongoing support to our clients during this mobilisation process to ensure timely delivery, accurate reporting and that desired outcomes and targets are achieved.

By focussing on achieving successful outcomes and supporting the growth of your company, we are best placed to provide support to your team too. We can help them understand and implement new services and procedures and understand the benefits. We can also make sure there is accountability when needed to guarantee that the contract is managed and delivered effectively.

Our support is flexible and bespoke, but may include:

•              Summary of implementation plan and key stage gates

•              Handover of reporting documentation with clarification around what needs reporting and the evidence required

•              Summary of key commitments and commissioner options for breach of contract

•              Quarterly progress checks

•              Support with reporting completion

•              Internal performance report, highlighting risks

•              Case study production for marketing purposes

Winning a tender bid can be hugely exciting and grow your business substantially but it is important not to lose your head or assume you can deliver everything you have outlined because you simply believe in your team or product.

Take the time to look at HOW you will deliver this contract and if your processes are fit for purpose. Appoint someone to oversee the contract and hold everyone accountable and check that targets are being met – the commissioner, end user and your team will all thank you in the long run.

For more information or to discuss how we can work with your organisation to help you win and manage contracts, contact us today on 0330 1331 041 or info@klowconsulting.com.

Do you have a contract strategy?

Many organisations only apply or bid for tenders when they see one that they feel ‘is just right’ for them, or if they need to find new business fast.

Very rarely do we meet companies, charities or public sector organisations who actually have a contract strategy in place. A contract strategy can be a part of your wider growth or business plans and help provide focus and clarity when it comes to knowing which contracts to go for and where your skills and resources are particularly suited.

When you look at contract opportunities strategically and in line with your wider business plan, you can ‘see the wood for the trees’ and ascertain if a particular contract will fit in with the direction you want to take the business in. Do you actually want to grow your business in this particular area? Will you need to invest money in equipment or staff to deliver this contract? If so, could this investment be better spent elsewhere in the business to win other contracts that are more aligned to where you want to be and what you want to be known for?

Our Four Phase approach


When we work with clients, we work to a Four Phase process:

Phase 1 – Business and contract strategy

Phase 2 – Opportunity analysis

Phase 3 – Tender writing and management

Phase 4 – Implementation and contract analysis

Over the coming weeks and months we will explore the other three phases a bit more closely, but for the purpose of this blog, we want to discuss what is meant by a contract strategy and why they are so vital when it comes to tender success.

What is a contract strategy and why do you need one?


If you are a business with growth aspirations, chances are you have a business plan or growth strategy in place. This could be in the form of financial targets, growing the headcount of your team or expanding into new products or services. You may even have plans to take on new premises and grow geographically, or to acquire or merge with existing businesses to strengthen your position in the markets you operate in.

Having a cohesive contract strategy that sees you only tender for and take on contracts that are aligned to your business and growth strategy makes life so much simpler and allows you to focus on the opportunities that are right for your business at the right time, rather than being attracted by the ‘carrot’ of a big money contract that you can’t deliver effectively or that takes you down a road that you didn’t want the business to go down.

Developing your contract strategy


Finding and developing your strategy is a great exercise to carry out at the start of your tender journey, which is why it is Phase 1 of our approach.

Thanks to our many years of experience in this area, we can help our clients to create the most effective contract strategy for their business. We understand that every organisation is unique, so we offer a bespoke consultation service to form a business and contract strategy. This is not something we simply ‘go away and do’. It is very much a collaborative process that sees us get to know your organisation inside out. We also conduct in-depth research on potential competitors you may be bidding against, the contract commissioners and the local and national agenda.

Getting results


Writing a winning tender bid requires more than just excellent writing skills. A great tender is backed by expert research and an acute understanding of your organisation now and where it wants to go. It also about being realistic and transparent. If there are any potential shortfalls, problems or challenges that may prevent you from delivering a contract, these will be highlighted and solutions worked towards before you even bid for the contract, and the work you have done will be evidenced as part of your bid.

Every bid we write is produced in alignment to best practice methodology developed from insight gained from overseeing – and winning – hundreds of bids. This learning has provided intimate knowledge of the time and complexity of every task required to produce a winning submission from our bid team, and that of our clients’ internal teams and their stakeholders.

A winning tender is much more than just the words on the page, it is the culmination of a team effort – strategic thinking, investigative research, clarity and focus.

If you are clear and confident in your business and contract strategy then you can make informed choices about future tender opportunities that best suit your organisation and will make it thrive and grow further.

Then you are ready for Phase 2 – Opportunity analysis…

If you would like help with developing a business and contract strategy for your organisation, get in touch with Krisja Low on 0330 1331 041 or info@klowconsulting.com.

What is the NHS System Oversight Framework and what does it mean for procurement going forward?

At the end of June, NHS England (NHSE) announced plans to transform the way integrated care systems (ICSs) buy non NHS goods and services in a document entitled NHS System Oversight Framework 2021/22.

But what is the significance of this framework? And what will it change for companies and organisations looking to land NHS contracts?

What is the NHS System Oversight Framework?

The NHS System Oversight Framework for 2021/22 replaces the NHS Oversight Framework for 2019/20, which brought together arrangements for provider and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) oversight in a single document.

The purpose of the document/framework is to reinforce the system-led delivery of integrated care, in line with the vision set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, the White Paper Integration and Innovation: Working Together to Improve Health and Social Care for All, and aligns with the priorities set out in the 2021/22 Operational Planning Guidance.

This framework applies to all Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), NHS trusts and foundation trusts and focuses on five key metrics:

  1. Quality of care
  2. Access and outcomes
  3. Preventing ill health and reducing inequalities
  4. People; finance and use of resources
  5. Leadership and capability

The approach to oversight is characterised by the following key principles:

a. working with and through ICSs, wherever possible, to tackle problems

b. a greater emphasis on system performance and quality of care outcomes, alongside the contributions of individual healthcare providers and commissioners to system goals

c. matching accountability for results with improvement support, as appropriate

d. greater autonomy for ICSs and NHS organisations with evidence of collective working and a track record of successful delivery of NHS priorities, including tackling inequality, health outcomes and access

e. compassionate leadership behaviours that underpin all oversight interactions

Implementation of the framework

While the scope of this framework reflects the role of NHS England and NHS Improvement as a national regulator of NHS provided and/or commissioned  services, it also recognises that ‘the vision for ICSs is based on the core principles of equal partnership across health and local government: subsidiarity, collaboration and flexibility’ and that ‘delivering the priorities for the NHS depends on collaboration across health and care, both within a place and at scale’.

But implementing the framework won’t be easy and straight forward.

NHS leaders are looking for specificity in how oversight will operate within a system context and there will need to be a high degree of flexibility to design approaches that best reflect local circumstances and maintain ownership and engagement across the full range of system partners.

But implementing the framework won’t be easy and straight forward.

NHS leaders are looking for specificity in how oversight will operate within a system context and there will need to be a high degree of flexibility to design approaches that best reflect local circumstances and maintain ownership and engagement across the full range of system partners.

When will the framework be implemented?

The existing statutory roles and responsibilities of NHS England and NHS Improvement in relation to trusts and commissioners remain unchanged for 2021/22. The framework sets out how NHS leaders and organisations will be required to operate with their partners in ICSs from April 2022.

The oversight framework will be updated further for 2022/23. The updated document is expected to confirm ICSs’ formal role in oversight including:

bringing system partners together to identify risks, issues and support needs and facilitate collective action to tackle performance challenges

and

leading oversight and support of individual organisations and partnership arrangements within their systems.

What does it all mean going forward?

The thinking behind the framework is that local NHS procurement teams will be able to change the way they buy non-NHS goods and services and move towards a more system-level way of working, and away from procurement teams dedicated to single organisations.

ICSs will be able to “tailor their procurement organisation structure based on their respective level of maturity, spend profiles, associated phasing of roles and local considerations” but the lack of data harmonisation at local, regional and national level and clarity around best practice approach could make implementation difficult.

With regards to companies who are looking to supply the NHS at a local level, they will have to keep an eye on how this framework develops between now and April 2022 and establish relationships with the ICSs who will soon be in charge of their own procurement and spending.

If you are looking for help with securing NHS contracts, contact the K Low Consulting team on 0330 1331 041 or info@klowconsulting.com.

How will Brexit affect the tendering process once we have left the EU?

Currently businesses in the UK use TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) to get free access to tender opportunities from the European Union, the European Economic Area and beyond. TED is the online version of the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). It is dedicated to European public procurement and publishes 746,000 procurement award notices a year, including 235,000 calls for tenders which are worth approximately £485 billion.

Businesses can browse, search and sort procurement notices by country, region, business sector and more and all notices are published in the 24 official EU languages.

However, post-Brexit UK contracting authorities will no longer need to publish procurement notices on in the OJEU. So, what does this mean for UK businesses?

Where will businesses be able to find UK public procurement notices post-Brexit?

The current advice from the UK Government is that from 1 January 2021, UK contracting authorities will need to publish procurement notices through a new e-notification service called Find A Tender. This will replace the requirement to publish notices in the OJEU.

This means from 1 January 2021, businesses will be able to use Find a Tender to view public procurement notices published by UK contracting authorities. They will also continue to use existing portals, such as Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI to view low value or location specific notices.

Will existing procurement laws change post-Brexit?

The UK’s existing procurement law is derived from EU directives and are contained in The Public Contracts Regulations 2015, The Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016, The Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 and The Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011. These will continue to apply post-Brexit unless they are repealed and replaced.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed a desire to fundamentally change public procurement rules to “back British business” by moving away from the current level playing field and potentially favouring UK companies over European rivals.

The Government has also indicated that after the Transition Period the current regime will change and the country will join the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) and the UK’s procurement regime will be based around this.

What would this proposed change mean for UK businesses?

The Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) is an agreement between the 20 parties of the World Trade Organization. It allows UK businesses to bid for government contracts in other countries and foreign businesses to bid for contracts in the UK.

This means post-Brexit UK businesses will have some access to the public procurement markets of the 27 EU member states, as well as the USA, Japan and 18 other countries. However, whilst GPA membership opens up procurement above certain value thresholds, the UK will not have the same level of access to procurement markets that it had as an EU member.

Presently, the UK is signed up to the GPA through its EU membership. From 1 January 2021, the UK expects to join the GPA on substantially the same terms. It may take up to 30 days to come into force after 31 December 2020, but the UK Government believes that the impact on businesses should be minimal. UK businesses will still have access to government procurements in many overseas markets. They may temporarily lose some rights provided by the GPA.

Businesses concerned about bidding on a foreign government procurement shortly after 1 January 2021 should click here to contact the Department for International Trade.

What changes have already been made to UK procurement law?

The Public Procurement Regulations (Amendments etc) (EU exit) 2019 became law last year and its provisions will come into force on 31 December 2020.

One of the most notable changes as a result of this are, as mentioned earlier, that the UK public bodies will use Find a Tender and will no longer be required to publish notices on TED.

Existing templates for contract notices and contract award notices will be replaced with new templates to be used with Find a Tender. UK public bodies will no longer require bidders to explain prices and reject tenders which appear to be abnormally low where the bidder has received State aid.

If you need help with commercial bid writing, get in touch today to see how we can assist you.

Contact info@klowconsulting.com or give us a call on 0330 133 1041.

What does IR35 mean for recruitment companies looking to respond to a tender?

The off payroll working rules – commonly known as IR35 – were introduced by HRMC in 2000 to tackle tax avoidance by workers supplying their services to clients through an intermediary. Such workers are referred to by HMRC as ‘disguised employees’ as they don’t meet the HMRC definition of self-employment and as a result tax and National Insurance Contribution (NIC) aren’t paid correctly. The rules are designed to ensure workers, who would be classed as an employee if they were contracted directly, pay broadly the same tax and NIC as employees.

If a worker is deemed ‘inside of IR35’ they are required to pay tax at the same rate as an employee in the appropriate pay bracket. If they fall ‘outside of IR35’, they are considered self-employed and can tax themself. Those ‘outside of IR35’, are responsible for paying their taxes on time.

‘Deemed employees’ do not reap the same benefits as typical employees. For example, those who fall into IR35, pay the equivalent in tax of a typical employee but are not entitled to sick pay, holidays or pensions.

How is IR35 changing?

The rules of IR35 are not changing, but the administration of the legalisation is.

It is proposed that the assessment of whether IR35 applies will fall onto the private sector end user of the worker’s services for all payments by medium and large businesses from 6 April 2021.

Where the end user decides that IR35 does apply, the fee payer – which may be the end user, a recruitment agency or a third party paying the intermediary – will be responsible for accounting for and paying the related tax and NIC, including the additional cost of employer’s NIC, to HMRC.

The new rules apply to private sector medium and large businesses who are the end user of the worker’s services and to the fee payer, if different, such as fee payers in the recruitment sector.

Small companies are exempt from this legalisation but public sector companies are not.

How will this proposed change impact businesses in the recruitment sector?

If you supply a worker who provides their services through an intermediary to a client in the public sector now, the client must decide if the rules apply. They must pass the determination to the person or organisation they contract with.

If you supply a worker to a client in the private sector, the worker’s intermediary must decide if the rules apply and pay the tax and National Insurance due. The private sector includes third sector organisations, such as some charities.

How does IR35 affect tendering?

IR35 is a concern for lots of employees due to the change in accountability of who needs to make the judgment as to whether the employee is inside or outside of IR35.

As a bid partner to recruitment clients, at K Low Consulting we are noticing a lot more recruitment tenders want to test and scrutinise the supplier’s knowledge of IR35, especially if the contract is outsourcing the management of recruitment processes. Commissioners need to be assured they will not be at risk of financial penalties. Essentially, commissioners are looking to see if the bidders are IR35 compliant.

It is important to identify how IR35 will affect procurement. You should analyse IR35 at your own risk. Having a long-term strategy in place will allow you to be prepared for IR35. Specifically, understanding how to use contractors and procurement interims under the IR35 legalisation will ensure visibility and control.

What should recruitment companies do?

To make sure you can demonstrate your knowledge of IR35 in recruitment tenders it would be advisable to:

  • Assess the current arrangements for your clients and identify the number of workers supplied who operate via off-payroll status
  • Decide who in your organisation will make IR35 determinations and how payments will be made to contractors within the off-payroll rules
  • Identify which clients are outside the rules through not meeting the criteria to be classified as a medium or large business
  • Review internal systems, such as payroll software, process maps, HR and onboarding policies to see if they are up to date.

If you need help with the questions you may be asked on tenders in relation to IR35, get in touch today to see how we can assist you.

Contact info@klowconsulting.com or give us a call on 0330 133 1041.

How to avoid a last-minute panic when bidding for a tender

You have found a tender that your company would be perfect for – fantastic!

But the deadline is tight and now you’re racing against time to submit the tender.

To avoid a last-minute panic when bidding for a tender, follow our Top 10 Tips:

  1. Read tender documents carefully

Download all the documents provided on the portal, read them carefully and consider:

  • Contract value
  • Length of contract
  • Key dates (submission deadline, contract award notice date, clarification dates, etc)
  • Contract details
  • Key requirements

    2. Plan, plan, plan!

Familiarise yourself with the bidding process. Have you been involved in tendering before? If so, what did you learn? Can you transfer any knowledge gained from your previous bids to create a more efficient plan this time?

You need to ensure your company is ‘tender ready’ and that you can fulfil the contract and submit a compelling bid before the deadline.

Often people underestimate the time it takes to prepare, write and submit a tender. From pre-bid to post-bid there is a large time span. Plan your answers so you hit all of the points the commissioner is looking for.

3. Get organised

Bid co-ordination is a key component of planning and organising a bid. Delegate tasks to the people within the company who are best placed to provide the relevant information. You may want to dedicate an individual to co-ordinating the bid and keeping track of the information required.

Create an information spreadsheet or mobilisation plan to keep track of who is responsible for gathering which piece of information. Set achievable deadlines to ensure information is gathered in time. Create shared folders to enable individuals to easily upload relevant information and documents.

4. Formatting

It is vital to consider the formatting of answers. For example, if the commissioner states they want the font to be Arial size 11, follow this guidance.

Answers will also be limited to specific word counts. Specify word counts at the end of your answers to save the commissioner time.

5. Relevant attachments

The PQQ (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire) will state the relevant attachments needed to support your submission. This may include:

  • Company policies
  • Case studies
  • Organisational charts
  • Mobilisation plans
  • Project plans

Case studies take time to write. Ensure you have relevant case studies prior to bidding. Attachments should be ready to be uploaded at the time of submission.

6. Clarify all ambiguities

Clarify any uncertainties as soon as possible. The clarification stage invites bidders to raise queries. At this stage, you should clarify anything you are unsure of.

The commissioner releases a list of these questions and their responses after this stage. Read through this carefully to check if there is anything relevant to your bid.

7. Pricing

Is your price right? A thorough pricing plan, prior to bidding, is essential. Having the means in place to fulfil the contract is vital and commissioners will look for a detailed and thorough pricing plan.

Make sure you have carefully evaluated your pricing – you can lose marks, or even worse, lose out on winning the tender completely, solely due to pricing.

8. Check thoroughly

It is important to check your tender responses thoroughly to check they are grammatically correct and read well. Sharpen your phrasing and key messages in your answers and ensure you are hitting the main answer requirements stated by the commissioner. Look at ways to make what you are saying more concise and ‘to the point’.

Get others to check through the answers to help refine key messages and add in any valuable points.

9. Submit early

Any tenders submitted after the deadline, even if it is only a few seconds late, won’t be considered!

However, before the deadline has expired, tender portals will allow you to amend or upload any additional documents after your initial submission. So, if you are waiting on that final quote or evidence to ‘slot-in’, get a completed bid submitted first. You can re-open, refine, and re-submit when it arrives.

If you’re still in the initial stages, deciding whether to bid or not to bid for a tender, read our ‘To Bid or Not to Bid’ blog post to help you make a decision.

10. Ask the experts

If this is really out of your comfort zone, ask for help. Often the value of the contract awarded by far outweighs the cost of using a consultant or advisor with years of bidding experience and it significantly boosts your chances of submitting a winning tender bid.

If you need help with tendering, get in touch today to see how we can help. Contact info@klowconsulting.com or give us a call on 0330 133 1041.

Getting ‘tender ready’ in tough times

Every industry is experiencing major changes as we continue to adapt to a new way of life thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic. Unsurprisingly, this has had an impact on the amount of tender opportunities that are currently available.

For example, lots of tender opportunities that were expected to come out in March and April have been delayed until mid-May.

But all is not lost, and there is still a lot you could be doing to get ‘tender ready’ for when the opportunities are eventually published.

Bidding for a tender takes a considerable amount of time. From undertaking research and collecting evidence, the tender process can be long, complex and require a lot of attention. So, the most important thing organisations can do now is to make sure they use this time to prepare for future tenders as much as they can.

Remember, if you are not spending this time doing preparation work, your competition might be!

How to get ‘tender ready’
What you can do now will depend on your industry. To begin with, consider the information and resources that you will need for any upcoming contracts and your probable tender submissions. You can then work through activities and start to collate information that you are very likely to need. These may include:

  • Designing your delivery model and mobilisation plans
  • Meeting any compliance requirements and ensuring related policies are in place
  • Completing research
  • Addressing weaknesses and collating supporting evidence

For example, we are supporting a number of clients that have all successfully passed the selection questionnaire for HealthTrust Europe’s (HTE’s) Total Workforce Solutions 2 Framework. The second stage ITT, has been delayed until mid-late May. By taking the opportunity to perform preparation tasks and the draft ITT questionnaire, we are effectively extending the tender submission window which will lead to better higher quality scoring bids.

Review your previous tenders
Take this time to review your previous bids and refine them. Ask yourself: ‘Where could we have scored better marks?’ Identify any weaknesses in your business or your tender bid and tackle them.

Gather evidence
Collect examples of associated works that you have done, or are doing, that demonstrate best practice. Use this time to consult and engage with those you work with. Ask service users or clients for testimonials and any feedback or other information that may be useful. Think about the evidence you may need to give as they can form the questions you could ask your service users. The answers could also help you to make any improvements to your services, communications or processes. Also look at how you can prove your delivery model with statistics.

Get expert help
We might be biased here, but it can really be the difference between a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ if you employ the services of a professional consultant. Consultants – like us – can help providers with a variety of different processes. For example, we can identify potential holes in the delivery of a contract and can review policies and look for any gaps. Our expert team can anticipate what is needed from a contract and what you need to do to get ‘tender ready’. We identify gaps and weaknesses and can produce a clear plan on what you need to do. We charge on a consultancy basis but can also offer a free advice service.

K Low Consulting is unique in that we don’t just write tenders – we offer a four-stage process to help our clients:

1)      Business & Contract Strategy (Phase 1)

We help you develop a cohesive contract growth strategy aligned to your business and carried through in the opportunities we identify and win.

2)      Opportunity Analysis (Phase 2)

Our opportunity analysis service helps us identify and analyse the right opportunities for you to develop your strategic goals.

3)      Tender Writing & Management (Phase 3)

We are experts in tender writing and management. We have a cohesive tender writing and management process, helping you win bids.

4)      Mobilisation & Implementation (Phase 4)

Winning the bid is only one part of the tender outcome. We work with you to help break down and manage complex contract mobilisation and implementations, delivered against manageable work streams.

If you need help with tendering, get in touch today to see how we can assist you. Contact info@klowconsulting.com or give us a call on 0330 133 1041.

Looking ahead to 2020: A successful year for K Low Consulting

Reflection on 2019

We’ve had a great year at K Low Consulting and are excited about the new year ahead! In this article, our team reflects on 2019 and looks ahead to the future of K Low Consulting.

In 2019, we have experienced significant and rapid growth. We have expanded our associate team, which includes bid professionals with significant writing and management experience, senior clinicians and specialist advisors, such as quality management and accreditation. Our team has been in high spirits throughout the year, keeping up with client demand and workload.

An intern from Nottingham Trent University’s graduate scheme, Mia Penny, was employed as a ‘Marketing and Tender Executive’. With the help of another associate writer from the team, Victoria, they have experienced some fantastic marketing wins in 2019.

“From September 2019 I joined K Low Consulting as a ‘Marketing and Tender’ intern after studying a master’s degree in Media and Public Relations at the University of Leicester. Since joining, I have been involved in different aspects of the business and have benefitted from hands-on experience from the outset. Krisja has helped me in developing my skill set and has guided me when learning new skills. Shadowing Krisja and being heavily involved in daily business activities has been challenging but exciting! I have particularly enjoyed being involved in Marketing the company and launching the website, which has resulted in some fantastic marketing wins at this early stage! I’m looking forward to the year ahead and seeing where my role at K Low Consulting takes me.”
-Mia Penny, Marketing and Tender Executive.

Wins of 2019

Within our first year, we have had some fantastic results. Our STATS have been evidence of our work this year,  we have had circa. 88% of client wins, 90% client retention and delivered 615% social return on investment for an £800k contract.

We strive to strengthen current partnerships with our clients in 2020, helping them to win more high-value contracts and develop their organisations even further. Looking ahead to 2020, we’re seeking to create more partnerships and build our client base.

Progressing on to a digital landscape, 2019 saw the launch of our website and social media accounts. Since the launch, we have had some remarkable results, including being on the first page of Google within 5 weeks of the website launch.

Some Testimonials from 2019

“Krisja and his team are knowledgeable about the Education industry and approached the tender in a systematic and organised manner. Although there was a tight deadline, they went above and beyond to involve themselves with our organisation and gather as much information as possible to produce an excellent tender response. They provided a fresh input into any potential issues and identified these in the early stages. For our most recent project with Krisja, we have been invited to the next stage and we are confident that we will win the tender. I would recommend Krisja and his team to anyone, and plan to work with him in many more projects in the future. Thanks again for the hard work.”

-Business and Resources Executive, Educational Establishment.

“… Thank you so much for the effort you and your team put in.  You kept us on track throughout the submission process and although we only had a short amount of time to work on this tender, you covered every answer in-depth & we were very pleased with that we had pulled together!  Pleasure to work with.”

Chief Executive Officer, Specialist Social Care Recruitment Provider.

“This is the second NHS dental tender we have worked with Krisja on. We won the first and are very confident of our chances on the second. He is always professional, diligent and flexible. His knowledge and input on healthcare bid strategy, delivery models, and commissioner perception is excellent. He always goes beyond compliance, to find creative ways of making our proposal the very best it can be!”

Practice Director, Dental Practice Group.

Click Here to See More Testimonials

Some outstanding wins in 2019

A glimpse into 2020

In 2020, K Low Consulting plans to continue assisting our clients to produce outstanding results. We carry through our ethos and values, continuing to win tenders for clients. There are also plans underway to deliver tender and funding workshops to Practice Managers after partnering up the Practice Managers Association (keep an eye out on details to follow!).

We’re also heavily involved in with the development and launch of an innovative Healthtech tool, MSK Gateway. This tool supports GPs to reduce appointment time, improve patient experience and outcomes. It enables GPs to manage their patients better by assigning them tailored exercises based on their symptoms. This year the tool will be launched into pilot practices, thus, we are looking for partner practices to use the tool to improve patient experience and outcomes. Check out the video below to see a promotional clip for MSK Gateway.

Contact Us Today

If you need help with tendering, give us a call today to see how we can assist you. Contact info@klowconsulting.com or give us a call on 0330 133 1041.