The Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) is an active participant in the local economy, responsible for purchasing a wide range of goods and services. To obtain these goods and services, DJCS regularly invites tenders to meet our needs. As such, DJCS is interested in receiving the best tender responses possible to ensure we can fairly evaluate responses and provide the best value for money outcomes to the Victorian public.
This guide has therefore been developed to assist you when responding to DJCS tenders.
Types of tenders
Tenders are released in a variety of methods and formats. Some tenders are released publicly, while others are issued to selected suppliers only. Suppliers may check the Tenders Vic website for public tendering opportunities.
Suppliers may also review the State Purchase Contract and Construction and Supply Register lists. These lists include pre-qualified suppliers for different categories of goods and services. Some categories give suppliers the opportunity to be added at any time, while others are only opened periodically.
Value for money
Value for money is the key objective of all DJCS procurement processes. Value for money is not necessarily the “cheapest price” or the “highest quality”, but includes a range of different objectives including:
- the capability to meet or exceed the department’s job/project requirements (quality levels)
- sustainability factors
- performance standards
- the total cost of ownership
- the risk profile of the tenderer and its response.
Understanding the tender structure
A tender from DJCS is typically structured as a four part document, though this may vary for some types of engagements. Parts A to C contain DJCS’s project-specific information, which will tell you what areas you need to address and what information you need to include in your response. Part D provides an opportunity for you to present your offer. You should use the information contained in Parts A to C to construct your submission in Part D.
PART A: specifications Provides the requirements for operational capability in respect of which DJCS invites offers
PART B: conditions of participation Sets out the conditions applying to the invitation and the invitation process
PART C: contract Sets out the proposed terms and conditions that will apply to the provision of the Goods and/or Services and the Service Level Agreement
PART D: the offer Specifies the information to be provided by the tenderer in response to the evaluation criteria and the invitation
Departmental procurement process
Evaluation criteria describe the factors and requirements that suppliers will be evaluated against and will be used by DJCS to identify the best value for money response. Tenderers should take care to ensure that they address the evaluation criteria in their tender response. You should consider the four types of criteria that responses are evaluated against, as outlined below:
Conformance Your adherence to the project’s mandatory minimum requirements
Technical/Operational The merits of your proposed solution and your capability/capacity to deliver
Legal Your compliance with the proposed contract/terms
Commercial The commercial risks, financial viability, total cost of ownership and insurance levels associated with your organisation
Completing your tender – Dos and Don’ts
The following section provides some important tips for completing your tender response.
- Read the tender in full, taking special consideration for the requirements and specifications outlined in Part A.
- Consider the values DJCS staff uphold when evaluating a tender, specifically value for money, accountability and probity. These values are key to the process of evaluation.
- remember that competitive pricing, the capability to meet or exceed the department’s job/project requirements and the clear demonstration of that capability in your response is essential to your success.
- Think of your response as a way to showcase your capability to meet the need, rather than your business itself.
- Keep in mind that your evaluator can only assess you on the content you include, even if you have existing work with the department. Don’t leave anything out.
- Rely on the criteria and information you read in parts A, B and C of the tender to guide your response.
- Use references and examples of your work that relate to the key requirements of the tender. Don’t refer to outdated or irrelevant experience.
- Consider and include the cost and resource impact for the department if you are submitting value-add initiatives.
- Know that you won’t receive favour or additional information from DJCS staff during the process.
- Understand the market and your competitors.
- Only make a submission if your organisation is capable of meeting DJCS’s need.
- “Put your best foot forward” – describe truthfully but in full your organisation’s best capability to address the tender’s requirements.
- Address the Evaluation criteria, considering the four types: conformance, technical, legal and commercial. .
- Ask for clarification if you’re unsure about any element of the tender process or documentation.
- Attend procurement or tender briefings (if offered) and post contract award debriefs.
- Ensure your tender response is coherent and co-ordinated and free of any spelling errors or contradictory statements.
- Allow plenty of time. Don’t underestimate the time and effort involved in preparing a quality response.
- Know that the next step of the evaluation process at DJCS is a practical assessment and negotiation. If you are shortlisted, you should focus on preparing for a practical demonstration.
- Prepare thoroughly for practical assessments or negotiations (if invited).
- Make statements or claims in your tender response that your organisation will be unable to deliver on.
- Submit generic responses that are not tailored to address the project’s specific needs.
- Falsely claim previous successful clients and projects.
- Copy previous tender responses without consideration of DJCS’s needs.
- Unnecessarily dispute DJCS’s terms and conditions.
- Seek favour from DJCS staff during the process.
- Treat practical assessments (e.g. interviews or product demonstrations) as a “sales exercise”.
- Significantly alter your technical solution or add new costs after you have been shortlisted.
- Modify the tender response format in your submission.
- Submit your bid after the tender closing time – late bids will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances.
It is imperative that tenderers adhere to the outlined rules contained in the tender. This particularly applies to declaring conflicts of interest and refraining from attempting to influence any DJCS representative during the process: offers of gifts and hospitality should not be used to try and influence outcomes. In return, DJCS staff will afford you fairness, impartiality, security, confidentiality and identification/resolution of conflicts of interest as part of our own probity considerations.
If you have any further questions about the tendering process, you may contact DOJ-OCPO-Engagement@justice.vic.gov.au Information surrounding current tendering opportunities can be found on the Procurement Activity Register on this website.