Created by Dun and Bradstreet in 1963, a DUNS Number is a unique 9-digit number assigned to each business . Buyers use it as part of their financial due diligence, checking a business’s Risk Score. Risk Scores indicate the level of risk of financial failure eg: 1 = minimal risk of financial failure 4 = high risk of risk of financial failure. If a Public Sector buyer intends to disqualify you based on your risk score, they should advise this in the tender. They will often require a risk score of 1 or 2. For a fee of approximately £95, you can apply to Dun and Bradstreet to find out your own risk score. It is very likely that you will need to know your DUNS number if completing a Public Sector Tender.
This number is used for each business and is directly tied to a company’s credit profile listed in D&B’s database.
Buyers should tell you, or be prepared to tell you the following:
If you don’t get this information with the notification of award, I would always recommend going back to the buyer, in the interests of improving future bids, and asking for all of the above information.
I offer assistance with the Qualification and Quality elements of tenders, I do not give guidance on pricing, but will ensure that commercial responses are compliant and answered in full. Based on the information you give me in response to tender questions, I can put together Quality responses and complete qualification questionnaires.
Yes, I have helped many businesses with these, they needn’t be as complicated for a small business as they sound. If you are tendering in Wales, most Public Sector Organisations will be keen to deliver Community Benefits through the contracts they award. They will be looking for recruitment initiatives which help the long term unemployed or those not in training, education or employment, any training you will provide to upskill the workforce, apprenticeships, any work placements/work experience you can offer, community initiatives eg: local sponsorship etc.
Yes certainly, I do this with a number of organisations, both Public and Private Sector.
There is no charge for obtaining a DUNS number. If you cut and paste the following link you will be able to apply online, however, it may take up to 5 days to receive your number.
Alternatively, if you need your number instantly, start to complete a supplier registration on www.sell2wales.gov.wales. All you need to do is put in your basic company details, company name and postcode, scroll down and you will see an option to look up your DUNS number, this should bring it up instantly. If already registered on Sell2Wales, discard your registration, if not, it is well worth registering, even if you are not based in Wales.
I’m always happy to travel to meet with clients, especially if that is their preference in the first instance. My clients are based all over the UK and I have also recently undertaken a procurement exercise for someone based in Dubai, I’ve probably not actually met about 25% of my client base. So long as you have access to Email and a telephone, I should be able to help you put your tender together, providing as much or as little input as you want. Some clients send me a completed tender for an overview and feedback before submission, others prefer me to write their responses completely, based on the information they give in relation to each question.
I recommend that you try to get a testimonial upon completion of every successful contract you deliver. You might consider creating a standard form which includes on the front details of the works/services/products provided, the contract dates, value, the name, email and telephone number of the client and on the back a series of questions for the client to complete recommending you and evidencing that the contract was delivered on time, within budget and to the required quality etc. Once you start to collate a bank of these, you will be able to select the most relevant to submit with your tender, all the buyer will then need to do is verify the authenticity of the testimonial. And if the tender specifically asks for testimonials or references, make sure you do include them, it’s amazing how many suppliers think that it’s okay just to submit contact details, leaving the buyer to do the legwork!
Yes, certainly. Because public money is involved in your spend, you would be wise to ensure a clear audit trail that proves you’ve gone out to competition and complied with the requirements for transparency and equity, otherwise you could risk your grant being subject to clawback when the funding body undertakes its final audit. Putting out a tender which is compliant with the above requirements will also minimise the chance of your award decision being challenged by an unsuccessful bidder.
Yes, in England there is the Cabinet Office’s Mystery Shopper Service which sits within the Crown Commercial Service and allows government suppliers and potential government suppliers to raise concerns anonymously about potentially poor public sector procurement practice.
Use the service by sending an email to MysteryShopper@crowncommercial.gov.uk or by telephoning the helpdesk on 0345 010 3503.
The results are regularly published: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/mystery-shopper-results
In Wales the Welsh Government has recently introduced its Supplier Feedback Service, a service to support improvements in public sector procurement in Wales. Although this has not been updated since December 2016.
The site states that ‘public sector procurement in Wales should be fair, open and consistent – and comply with the Wales Procurement Policy Statement.
Suppliers using the Supplier Feedback Service (SFS) can work with the public sector to improve public procurement.
The service provides a channel for suppliers to feedback on procurement, to have their questions answered and get clear guidance on procurement rules, regulations and policy’.
Yes, in fact some of the best, and most successful tenders I’ve worked on with clients are those where the business has sought ‘introduction to tender’ training for key members of staff prior to the publication of a tender. This has ensured a team approach where everyone understands the process and their roles in ensuring its success. It is also a valuable means of identifying evidence and the supporting documentation likely to be required to ensure a tender’s compliance. This benefits everyone, when the tender is published, it’s not such a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ moment, and much of the evidence gathering has already been completed, or at least begun. And, most importantly, everyone’s buy-in has already been secured which is far more likely to result in the tender’s success.