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The CLM experience

Competitive dialogue

'The competitive dialogue process took something like two weeks - and was all consuming. The team was living and breathing the bid for a very long time in the run-up to, and through, the tender period, ' says a member of the CLM team.

'The ODA emphasised that the dialogue process was un-scored, but inevitably during competitive dialogue ODA will have gained a perception and opinion of our leadership and key staff. That this was all about people and relationships - getting that right went a fair way towards convincing the client that this was a team it could work with.

'The ODA needed a very clear strategy across a wide range of issues relating to the delivery approach. As a joint venture, we'd already spent some time developing our ideas during the time between prequalication and competitive dialogue. So we'd already formulated an approach that considered issues such as programme controls, leadership, security and incentivisation.

'All our ideas and concepts were treated in condence, which allowed each tenderer to submit a proposal based on its own approach to the delivery partner role.

'The dialogue also provided us with a clearer and more comprehensive idea of what the client was looking for than you'd get from a conventional tendering process - it offered a chance to ask, in condence, the sort of questions that shape your understanding of the client's position on risk, reward and collaboration.

'In many other public sector bidding processes, prior discussions with tenderers are either conducted in open forum, in which case very little useful information is shared, or else the best ideas from all tenderers are incorporated in the nal bid document. Here, the position of each tenderer was respected to a far greater extent - and as such it was a more benecial process.

'At the end of the dialogue process a tender document was issued, with a response time of less than two weeks. But the benet of the dialogue process was that our team was already up to speed, having engaged with the client's staff and had gained a good understanding of the ODA's priorities.'

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