We speak with business leaders and operators on a day to day basis and one of the questions we are asked regularly is "Do we really need policy documents when completing tenders?" Our response is simple, you should have them for your business and NOT just to respond to or participate in the tendering process. Policy Documents are usually considered "Statements of Intent" or "Commitments" for how the business, its employees, its contractors, its sub-contractors, its supply chain operate. Usually any policy documents are managed by a senior member of staff (Director/Partner/Owner) and that they are responsible for cascading, updating, monitoring and reviewing those documents. We are often asked which Policy Documents are needed when responding to tenders. The following list is a guide. It is not always a requirement to possess these documents, but it is becoming expected more and more.
  1. Equality and Diversity Policy / Statement
  2. Business Continuity Policy / Statement (Usually includes Disaster Recovery)
  3. Quality Policy / Statement
  4. Environmental Policy / Statement
  5. Corporate and Social Responsibility Policy / Statement
  6. Health and Safety Policy / Statement
  7. HR Handbook / Policy (including recruitment, disciplinary, grievance policies)
  8. Anti-Slavery Policy
  9. Insurance Policy Documents / Certificate
  10. Data Protection Policy
  11. Contractor Selection / Management Policy
  12. Fleet Management policy
  13. IT Security Policy
  14. Social Media Policy
Mistakes Made So what mistakes are made by businesses when writing their policies?
  1. Writing the policy to suit the tender
This is the wrong thing to do. The policy should be a reflection of how your business operates every day.
  1. Use a standard template downloaded from the internet
There is nothing wrong using a downloaded template but ensure you alter the document to suit your business. We have seen examples where businesses have used other people’s policies as templates and actually left the previous company’s name in the document.
  1. Many believe a policy should be several pages long
Wrong, a policy can be one page or several pages. What you are documenting is what is needed, what happens, how the policy works etc. If that can be detailed on one page then that is all you need to write. People also mistake a policy document / statement with a ‘System’ such as a Quality Management System (QMS like ISO 9001)
  1. A Business makes out they do something that they do not actually do
A simple hypothetical example of this is "We only use low energy, environmentally friendly lighting in our offices". A visit is made by a tendering authority and they find you are using standard light-bulbs that are far from being energy efficient – Two things may happen
  1. They do not realise and you continue on with the misleading information you have submitted
  2. They do realise and your tender response is rejected – it may seem petty but in effect, you have lied on an official document. Environmental issues may be more important to one organisation than another.
Many companies forget, or fail to realise, that the contracting organisation may opt to visit your premises / business operation to verify what you have detailed within your response. Imagine if you have said you do one thing and they find out you do another. Remember, there will be plenty of your competitors SIMPLE RULES DO’s
  1. Document what you really do
  2. Keep it simple – Documentation should be clear, concise and relevant to your business
  3. Ensure you keep the policy documents up to date
  4. Have an owner to manage, maintain and monitor
  5. Review the documents regularly and ensure they develop with the business
  6. Cascade the documents within the team
  7. Get each team member to sign a front sheet to show they have read and understood the policy
  1. Don’t fabricate
  2. Don’t Lie
  3. Don’t mislead
  4. Don’t pretend
And most importantly DON’T risk the reputation of your business by doing one or more of the elements detailed in points 1 to 4. Examples of Businesses and the types of policies that may be requested when responding to a PQQ, RFQ or an ITT: IT / ICT tender 
Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery Equality and Diversity
Quality Environmental
ISO 27001 ISO 22301
ISO 14001 ISO 20000
CSR Anti Slavery Policy
Furniture tender
Quality Environmental
Business Continuity Health and Safety
ISO 9001 ISO 14001
Equality and Diversity ISO 22301
CSR Anti Slavery
Construction / Plumbing / Electrical tender
Corporate and Social Responsibility Environmental
Health and Safety Quality
Equality and Diversity Employment
ISO 45001 ISO 9001
Safecontractor CHAS
CSR Anti Slavery
If in doubt contact us. We are able to help you with your Policy Writing / Policy Preparation Blogger: Paul Tute BA(Hons) MBCS FCMI Boomerang Consultancy Limited has UKAS Certification for ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 www.boomerangconsultancy.com