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Should I bid on this DOS framework tender?

There are a lot of tenders posted on the DOS framework, providing a lot of opportunity! But how can suppliers choose those that are worth the effort?

With Digital Outcomes and Specialists being a great opportunity for suppliers, they need to make sure they’re not wasting time and resources with which tenders they apply for on the framework. Here’s some advice….

First thing’s first: as a Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework supplier you will receive email alerts every time a new opportunity is published, so this is a great reminder to regularly go onto the Digital Marketplace and find opportunities that could be of interest. There is no reason why you as a DOS supplier shouldn’t adopt the same mindset as a buyer and create a shortlist of potential opportunities. Once you have your potential picks then this is when you get into the nitty gritty of really deciding whether or not you should apply for an opportunity, and here’s how…

Check the date the DOS opportunity closes

If it’s tomorrow and you’re stuck in an all-day meeting, let’s face it – you aren’t making that deadline. Make sure there is a reasonable amount of time for you to organise your response.

Do you have the resources?

Do you have people available who can work on this bid? If not then it isn’t worth sending in something that is half-baked.

Can you start on the start date given?

This sounds like obvious advice but if you have other work and ongoing projects can you spare the time?

Is the work location viable?

Again, somewhat apparent but often the work will require you to be based at the offices of the department you’re working in and if this is the other end of the country, you need to be sure that the work is worth the commitment.

Do you have the correct security clearance?

This will vary from project to project and often clearances need to be in place prior to the work starting on the opportunity.


The budget of an opportunity gives a good indication of the scale of work that needs to be provided. Does this match your expectation of what you can deliver? If your prices are at the higher end and the budget isn’t very large, then your expectations and the buyers may not be aligned.

Do you have the correct skills and experience to deliver the work?

A biggie, you need to actually have the essential skills and experience to deliver the work. As well as having the experience you need to be able to evidence it. To prepare for this:

  • Know your role or outcome
  • Remember the Digital Service Standard
  • Read the brief thoroughly – twice!
  • Be able to evidence all Essential and Nice to haves

One of the best ways to structure your response for the tenders published on the Digital Outcomes and Specialist agreement is to evidence the problem, how you solved it and how this benefited the organisation. Stats are great; if you know it doubled productivity or cut call waiting times in half, say that. And remember, check that your examples of work are within the date range, if one is given.

Ask questions!

If something isn’t clear raise it. In 2018, research by dxw showed that 71% of opportunities do not adequately explain what problem is being solved and 68% did not have a clear summary of work. If it’s an outcome you could ask if there is an incumbent in place? Or if the opportunity has been advertised before? For a specialist role, is it a pre-existing role? If so is the incumbent bidding on this role? The numbers from dxw are incredibly high and suggest that perhaps some opportunities aren’t necessarily of the highest quality making it all the more important to have your questions at the ready.

Not every opportunity published on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework will be a viable one, for some or all the reasons above. But, rather than waste time, resources, and potential revenue applying for everything under the sun make sure it is actually really worth it. Quality over quantity!

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