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Red Review – A Guide to What, How and Why

Jack Bolton
Written by
Jack Bolton

Bid reviews are essential to producing high-quality responses. But a good review is not as simple as just proofreading for grammar and typos.

Bespoke Bids’ “Red Team” review process ensures that every bid provides all the information and quality required to win.

Unbiased Reviewing

When you have invested blood, sweat and tears into a bid, critiquing it can be difficult. The key to Red Reviews is employing a fresh set of eyes. This ensures an unbiased opinion on the quality of your responses.

When writing in-house you should assign two members of your organisation who haven’t been involved in the bid to be your Red Team.

Our Red Reviews always include at least one senior member of our team and one member of our client’s. This process ensures bids are reviewed impartially and fairly.

Buyers Perspective

Not being emotionally invested in the work, the reviewer can place themself in the buyer’s shoes. The reviewer can then critically assess whether responses answer all the buyer’s questions, meet the evaluation criteria and address objectives.

Ensure the Red Review team understand the ITT, specification, and evaluation criteria thoroughly. The devil is usually in the detail, and a good Red Review will spot particulars that have been neglected by the bid writer.

Red reviewers should use the evaluation criteria to score responses. This gives an accurate idea on how the bid will score during the official evaluation process. As well as giving a score, the reviewer should also write a detailed summary of the reason for this score. Responses that score low can then be improved and re-reviewed before submission.

Bottom-Up Scoring

Scoring follows a set methodology called ‘Bottom-Up Scoring.’ This is the methodology used by evaluators, and so by using it Red Reviewers simulate the marking process.

This enables reviewers to accurately benchmark the reviewed response and offer practical and constructive criticism.

The principles of Bottom-Up Scoring are simple: to score a 2 out of 5, the response must have met the criteria for a 1 out of 5, to score a 3 out of 5, the response must have met the criteria for a 2 out of 5, and so on.

The evaluator marks from the bottom of the evaluation criteria, hence the name, and moves upwards to higher marks only when lower criteria have been fulfilled. Good bid writing and reviewing follows this same process – for a house to be worth anything at all it must be built on solid foundations.

Document Control

It is vitally important to maintain document control when working through the review process. Otherwise, comments, changes, and improvements can be lost. Before starting the Red Review, ensure the latest version of documents are clearly marked. Then, assign each response to a member of the Red Team for an initial Red Review.

Once this has been completed, the responses are reviewed by the second member of the Red Team, adding their comments over the ones already made.

All Red Team comments should be given and consolidated within this one document meaning feedback can be easily followed and changes more easily applied.

Red Review General Tips

Your response will change, so there’s no point doing a full proofread during Red Review. Finalise all content and structure, then proofread. The bid team carry out this final review before submission in our process. Red Reviews should also focus on win themes and added value in your bid, ensuring responses align directly with the buyer’s needs and evaluation criteria.


A successful Red Review can make or break a bid. The key takeaway from this blog should be using Red Reviews to take the buyer’s perspective, and to apply the evaluation criteria. Thinking like the buyer means you can tailor your responses to what they want and pre-empt any criticisms they might have. To ensure your bid scores highly and increase your chances of winning more contracts, complete a Red Review by following these steps; alternatively, contact Bespoke Bids to have an expert carry out a review for you.

I hope this article has provided you with useful insights on why bid reviews are essential when producing high-quality responses. Click here if you want to learn more about our tender writing services.

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