Policies and Procedures

Policies + procedures = painful to many

No matter how tiring, mundane, and futile you think developing your set of policies may be, these are the basic content pieces you must possess in order to even be considered by a buyer in many tender-related circumstances. Indeed, if you have tendered before you will undoubtedly have been asked for a Health and Safety policy, Equality and Diversity policy, or an Environmental policy, to name but a few. Depending on what sector you work in, different policies may be requested from buyers.

These are typically required as attachments and cannot simply be put together at the last minute for the sake of a tender, rather, they need to be well-thought-out, robust, considered, and thorough policies. Hence, we always advise clients to ensure they have all policies and procedural documents developed before responding to tenders, as this is crucial to being, what we call, ‘Tender Ready’.

For example:

The construction industry’s version of a typical PQQ is called a PAS-91 (Publicly Available Specification 91) and is derived from similar sources to the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD), which focuses on minimising the time it takes for companies to complete standardised pre-qualification questionnaires. The PAS-91 requires construction companies to have a range of policies in place and for these to be attached to a submission and subsequently evaluated as part thereof.

Thus, if a bidder fails to attach these, or attaches rushed, underdeveloped or poor-quality policies, then they may fall at the first hurdle. So, make sure your policies are developed, genuine, well thought through, and carefully crafted and that you haven’t just copied and pasted something from an online source. Whilst this takes time and effort and does not necessarily mean you will win an opportunity, this will add substance and rigour to your bid.

Here is a list of the key policies all organisations should have in place, no matter what:

  • Health & Safety (it is a legal requirement if you operate with 5 or more employees)
  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Quality (or Quality Assurance)
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (or Social Value)
  • Customer Centric (or Customer Complaints)
  • Confidentiality Policy (including Data Protection – see Info Management page).
  • Risk Assessment. This was under H&S, but the current charity SORP (accounting standard) requires trustees to consider risks and review the steps needed to mitigate them much more widely. See sample document, and the Insurances/Risk Management issues page.
  • Basic Policy (when you would use volunteers, how to recruit/assess suitability, management, two-way ‘contract’).
  • Expenses Policy (with due regard to Inland Revenue rules – see Finance Procedures or Tax and Expenses page).
  • Volunteer Charter, Exit Interview Questionnaire, and other examples should be available at the Volunteer Managers discussion list (look under Files).
  • Staff Disciplinary procedure.
  • Staff Grievance procedure.
  • Staff Appraisal procedure. See sample Appraisal Form.
  • Staff expenses policy.
  • Staff loans (travel, cycle, car).
  • Union recognition Policy.
  • Sick Leave Policy and procedure.
  • Leave policy and procedure.
  • Time off in Lieu Policy and procedure.
  • Recruitment Procedure.
  • Redundancy policy.
  • Induction Procedure and Checklist. See Sample Checklist.
  • Exit interviews.
  • Job evaluation.
  • Retirement policy.
  • Green Office Policy/Environmental Impact.
  • E-mail/internet use policy.
  • Personal, or associated group, use of office facilities.
  • Training policy (staff, volunteers and committee members).
  • Staff involvement policy.
  • Ethical Investment Policy.
  • Sponsorship or Fundraising Policy.
  • Media Handling – who is authorised to say what, how to handle probing questions. Think about before a sensitive issue hits! See Getting the message across.
  • Supplier selection policy (fairness or reasons for preferences such as environmental or social, value for money, reference to Finance Procedures).
  • Insurances (possibly for events, volunteers, trustees etc. as well legal requirements).
  • Reserves Policy (required under Charity SORP).
  • Other accounting policies often part of audit process (eg valuation of assets).
  • Financial Policies and Procedures.
  • AGM procedures.
  • Committee Procedures (standing orders). What to do in the absence of the chair, voting, declarations of interest, expenses.
  • Management Committee/Board (and sub-committee) Terms of Reference.
  • Job descriptions for officers – chair, treasurer (see sample Financial Procedures), secretary and any others.
  • Conflicts of Interest.
  • Having fully developed and well thought out policies is not only helpful, even essential, for a successful tender, but serves to enrich the experience within your organisation itself.

Even if you are bidding for a work as a freelancer, it is a good idea to demonstrate your ability to approach work in a clear, pragmatic way as stipulated by national industry best practice and vigorous pieces of legislation.

As per the new Selection Questionnaire procedures – you can self-certify to obtaining these, however if the buyer asks for any policy documents, you must be able to provide these at a moment’s notice, at any point during the procurement process or thereafter. So it is a good idea not to claim that you have a specific policy when in fact, you do not.

Some of the most often-requested policies when it comes to tendering are as follows:

  • Health & Safety – now, it is a legal requirement to have this if you maintain 5 or more employees
  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Environmental & Sustainability
  • Quality or Quality Assurance
  • Corporate Social Responsibility or Social Value
  • and Customer Service or Customer Complaints Policy

When developing your policies, remember to provide as much detail about your procedures. These are the things on which your policy must be built and are the foundations of how your organisation operates. You will not, for example, be able to have a one-sentence policy that states you comply with national law and best practice. Rather, you will need to clearly show the procedures in line with which your company operates, to ensure the policy is adhered to.

Some of the basic questions you need to answer when developing your procedural content and overall policies include:

  • What are the aims of the policy?
  • Why is this policy important to you as an organisation?
  • What benefits are there by maintaining this policy?
  • How is this implemented?
  • Do you have staff training around your policy?

This list is not exhaustive, and you may need to include the answers to many more similar questions in order to fully develop your policy.

You may have stand-alone procedural documents, such as standardised method statements, written complaints procedures, and so on. These should cover your step-by-step processes into ensuring effective implementation, handling and resolutions associated with your policy – this will go a long way when it comes to tender evaluation.

You can get in touch with our Tender Consultants team today to see how far we can develop your existing policies and procedures and endeavour to make this stand out amongst your competitors.

We also offer a unique opportunity tracking service split across 10 industry-specific platforms where you receive daily updates on both private and public tender and business lead opportunities, every single day.