Learning from experience – BPAS

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) are the leading provider of abortion services in the UK with over 40 abortion clinics and sexual health centres in England, Wales and Scotland.

They are a not-for-profit organisation but still need to bid competitively, with the competition being both private organisations and other not-for-profits.

BPAS were facing a large pipeline of public sector tenders over the forthcoming year, with one specific ‘must-win’ opportunity to be released imminently. Having been unsuccessful in a recent major tender for which they were the incumbent provider, they approached Bespoke Bids to analyse why they were unsuccessful and how they could improve their capability for the upcoming tenders.

The starting point was to review the unsuccessful bid response in detail to ascertain where it had fallen short. The underlying reason for the loss was detail. Poorly structured responses, mutliple styles from different authors, gaps in responses and lack of location and operational specific detail were some of the many reasons.

Too often people focus on the writing of the tender but actually if you get the strategy and management correct, the writing is straight forward.

We suggested completing a Bid Readiness workshop with us. This is a workshop we designed to prepare organisations for large complex opportunities by making sure people, processes and collateral are optimised prior to bid release.

We prepared for the workshop by spending time with BPAS Director, Rosemary Cutmore to discuss and analyse the BPAS organisation, profile of bids (past and future) and agree on a tailored, optimised agenda for the workshop.

We conducted the face-to-face workshop with the BPAS national business development team (the tender process owner plus 14 regional managers).

We used the workshop to walk through bidding best practice using our training materials. We also covered analysis of the BPAS differentiators versus competition and how these could be developed into future bid win themes (measurable benefits and supporting evidence).

We discussed how each person fit into the tender process currently and how we could adapt their process to implement better practices.

We jointly developed a plan and detailed recommendations to take forward. These included how to get greater operational/delivery input into each bid and also how to develop more location/geographical detailed solutions.

To help embed the recommendations we acted in a supporting role on next bid, working closely with the BPAS bid team. We took full ownership of a few key questions and other questions BPAS led but Bespoke Bids reviewed at draft and final stages and provided ad hoc advice and guidance through the process.

The bid resulted in a major contract win for BPAS with the NHS BLMK (Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes) Clinical Commissioning Group.

Challenge – BPAS bids were large and complex, covering regionally based medical services and requiring detailed plans for local implementation. This required complex input and solutions from a range of technical and operational experts that needed to be combined into a cohesive response.

“Delighted to announce we won the tender.  Several 5s and nothing lower than a 4 so possibly our best score yet.”

Rosemary Cutmore, BPAS

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