Preparing for the Post-Award Phase: What Suppliers Need to Know

Preparing for the Post-Award Phase: What Suppliers Need to Know

According to the latest available data, over £350 billion was spent by the government on procurement in 2021/2022. So, if you haven’t bid for a government contract before, you could miss out on some exciting and lucrative projects.

But before you get started, there are plenty of things to understand about the unique process of a government tender.

This guide will explain the post-award phase, which happens after you’ve submitted your application and the buyer has selected a supplier. Here’s what you need to know.

Check the Contract

You’ll typically receive a government award letter when you win government contracts. This award letter is a formal notification that you’ve won the bid, although you’ll probably know about the award informally via phone or email.

Once you have that, one of your first tasks will involve signing the contract. So, it’s worth hiring a legal team to support you.

Always check the terms of the contract to ensure they accurately reflect the bid and what was in your proposal. You’ll also need to review pricing and payment terms.

Sometimes, for situations like large construction tenders or lengthy projects, you’ll want to negotiate payment terms if you feel there is a risk to your business in terms of cash flow.

Remember to check the delivery dates if they’re listed in the contract. If you haven’t created a project plan, you risk committing to dates you can’t achieve.

Assign a Team

Once the buyer has awarded you the contract, they’ll probably be eager to start work immediately. But there is much to do in the award phase before work begins.

You may already have a team in place from your bidding stage, but if not, now’s the time to put your project and account team together.

You’ll need to think about having one main point of contact and a project manager overseeing the delivery of sizeable projects.

If you need to hire to get the right resources in place, you should start this process as soon as you are awarded the tender. It will take time to find specialist skill sets, and you don’t want resource issues holding up your project dates.

Once the team is in place, let the buyer know and make introductions.

Agree On Communications and a Reporting Structure

You should put together a communications plan from the moment you’re awarded the contract. This is an essential first step because critical communications might get lost in emails without it.

When creating a communications plan, think about the person, role, frequency, and type of communication most suited.

More senior stakeholders may need less frequent communication, but they’ll want specific communications when key issues need to be escalated.

Speak to your buyer, too. They probably have expectations about the type and format of communication they want from their suppliers.

Don’t forget to write a reporting structure that considers your and the buyer’s team. You’ll probably want to determine criteria for when an issue is serious enough to raise it with a senior.

Create Your Plan

You may already have a draft project plan from your proposal.

But these often change, bidding processes sometimes get delayed, or requirements shift. So, the post-award phase is when you need to get some detail and firm dates into your plan.

Ideally, you’ll have an experienced project manager to oversee this. If you don’t, a team leader managing the delivery is the next obvious choice.

Be realistic with your delivery dates and add a sensible contingency, especially when you have milestones dependent on third parties or the customer.

Don’t forget to check the contract, too. If the dates change, you should raise this with the buyer as soon as possible.

Set Up Your Admin

You’ll want to ensure you’re well-organised when you start your delivery. So, ensure you have someone in charge of the admin. File contracts, requirements documentation and your proposals in a secure online space.

Consider setting up a collaboration area, too, so you can safely share files and notes between you and the buyer.

Set Up Monitoring

Another task you’ll need to complete in the post-award phase is how you’ll monitor the progress of your delivery.

You may want to start by examining any key delivery milestones in the contract and use that to mark out progress checkpoints you can put in the calendar so the team can see whether your delivery is on track.

This is also an area where you’ll need the input of a project manager. You may also want to invest in planning software as it will make tracking your delivery progress easier, typically via an online dashboard.

Connect With the Buyer

A short phone call with your key customer contact might be enough for small tenders to get things moving.

But government projects tend to be sizeable, and you’ll likely have a team of people you’ll need to meet once you sign that government contract. Consider planning a kick-off meeting or workshop.

Allow plenty of time, and plan opportunities for smaller parties to arrange spin-off meetings or chats to work through some details.

You’ll need to ensure that you have representatives from all major teams at that meeting and that it covers the bidding team and the team carrying out the delivery.

Connect With Third Parties

Lastly, you’ll experience multiple parties on many government projects, such as when bidding on healthcare tenders. You may need to liaise directly with other suppliers or government departments to help you deliver your project.

In the post-award stage, start by drawing up a chart to get a feel for these organisations and their relationship with the project.

After that, get contact names and arrange meetings or phone calls so you can discuss the work further. You may also want to involve major third parties in your initial project kick-off meeting.

Post-Award Phase: Getting It Right

If you are lucky enough to discover you’ve won a contract in the post-award phase, ensure you’re prepared for what comes next.

First impressions count, and your new government client will want to make sure you have everything in place to get started. Keep this guide handy, so you know the steps you must take.

For more information about tendering for government projects, head to our current contract database and make sure you register for free to our service.