PQQ Tender Guide


Trying to get your head around procurement jargon? We take you through the PQQ and give top tips on how to pass this part of the procurement process.

Learn how your business can pass a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire with flying colours in our Supply2Gov Tender Guide.


What does PQQ stand for?

PQQ stands for Pre-Qualification Questionnaire.

It is more generally known as the Selection Questionnaire or SQ, especially as the CCS got rid of the old standard PQQ and replaced it with a standard SQ.

The Government recommend that Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) be removed for low-value contracts (under £111,676 in value), meaning that it has never been easier for micro and small businesses to get involved in public sector tendering.

Why do buyers use PQQ?

The PQQ gives buyers heaps of information about your business as it asks for organisational information such as name, type of company, VAT number, registered addresses and so on.

A Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) will be used during a Restricted or other two-stage OJEU tendering procedure.

In the first selection stage, a shortlist of suppliers is identified using an SQ, and in the second stage, shortlisted suppliers are invited to respond to an Invitation to Tender (ITT). These returned tenders are evaluated, and the contract awarded.

The PQQ should paint a clear picture of your business, its experience and its background in public sector procurement, as well as specifics relating to the buyer’s requirement.


What else does the PQQ ask for?

According to BiP Solutions’ Ultimate Guide to Procurement

“The PQQ will ask questions about the financial and technical experience of your company and will seek evidence relating to issues such as Health and Safety, Equalities, Quality Control (e.g. ISO)and Qualifications, as well as requiring references from past clients and perhaps your bankers.”

Are you a Living Wage employer? This is becoming a crucial question your business must answer in the PQQ and a must if you are to be successful in public procurement. in Scotland, being a Living Wage employer is a requirement for all firms looking to win business with the Scottish public sector.

This brings us on to the wider issue of social value. Paying the living wage to all workers, for example, contributes both to employee wellbeing and the local economy.

Investing in social value may mean a commitment to environmental issues in procurement, for example ensuring sustainable or low-carbon practices are prioritised. But social value can also encompass elements that are ‘closer to home’ for businesses.


How to Pass a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire


The public sector marketplace is competitive, so you want to complete the PQQ to the best of your ability. To help you, we have developed a quick checklist of information you will be asked to provide at the PQQ stage. The following points should help you to put together a good quality PQQ:

Take your time

When working on the PQQ, give yourself plenty of time. You want to put your best foot forward so make sure you have all the necessary paperwork to hand, and that this is up to date. This is especially important for any policies that you submit, which must be up to date and in accordance with all current legislation, or they may be considered invalid.

Read it carefully

Read the PQQ carefully and pay attention to the details.  Remember you can ask questions about the tender at this stage so if you are unclear about any of the requirements, contact the person named within the documents you received.

Complete it

Complete the PQQ. Inaccurate or incomplete forms, or the failure to follow the instructions will mean that your business will not pass and your bid will not be considered further.

Tailor your PQQ

Although some sections of the SQ are standard and universal, for others, you will need to tailor the information you are giving as much as possible. Every tender opportunity is different. When completing the PQQ you should always demonstrate an understanding of what will be required, your PQQ will score more highly.

Brag about your business

Show what your business has to offer. Bragging isn’t a bad thing when it comes to the PQQ so don’t be shy when providing details of experiences, achievements and why you think your company not only can deliver but is the best to deliver the project.

Presentation is important

Just like a CV, PQQ presentation is important. You want to create a good first impression when bidding for tenders, so focus on the small things such as clear typeface, line spacing and use of bullet points.

Keep it simple

Be clear and concise as PQQ that is easy to understand and follow is more likely to score higher. Be sure to index or reference any supporting information to the question it relates to.

Add an executive summary

When working on your PQQ you must include an executive summary. Preparing a summary is a clear and simple way to get the main information across quickly and create a good first impression. Within the summary, give detail what you are bidding for and why.

Proofread your PQQ

Proofreading may seem like an obvious step – but it is an important one. Spelling and grammar mistakes look unprofessional and could throw your chances of moving on to the next stage. Think of your PQQ as a CV, and typos in a CV are a major no-no.


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