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Project Management – Invitation to Tender (#13 in the series Project Management Guide)
By Lasa Information Systems Team

A template for an Invitation to tender document

Background to the Project

Short section, no longer than half a page, setting out an overview of the project, similar to background section in the Project Initiation Document

Supplier response required

This is the key section that sets out what the supplier needs to respond to. It should be laid out in a clear manner that will ensure suppliers approach the ITT in a consistent way, thus facilitating ease of comparison. You may want to consider setting these out in table form, as an appendix.

Scope of the work

This section should be based on the relevant deliverables, laid out as individual bullet points. Should include any associated work such as ongoing support or training of staff. It may also include asking for the experience/views of the supplier on future development options and how this stage of the development might best be used to ensure that future needs can be accommodated. Each point to be further developed in the Requirements section as described below.

Supplier profile

This should set out what the supplier has to demonstrate to be considered for the job. For example:

  • experience of this type of work in the public/voluntary sector
  • understanding of the values of voluntary sector work, including adherence to equal opportunities statement/policy (worth attaching to ITT?)
  • a secure and stable company – details of the company size/structure
  • clear methods of work – a description of how the contract will be handled and the project managed. How they might handle any difficulties that could emerge. How they might present progress.
  • two referees

Success criteria

Should specify that success criteria not in priority order. The decision making criteria e.g.:

  • meeting the deliverables as regards price
  • meeting the deliverables as regards quality
  • offering creative solutions to the requirements

General contractual details

This should include for example:

  • any guidance on funds available, for example, development is expected to cost in the region of £n (a broad spread is advisable to avoid tenders to within a few pounds of your guide price)
  • ownership of development
  • payment to be geared to milestones, to be agreed with the successful supplier

Timetable and process of choosing a supplier

This should set out a clear timetable and process as laid out in the Project Plan. Include details of the main contact.


This section provides the ‘meat’ of the ITT. It should take the individual bullet points of 2.1 and make them into headings to be elaborated. If the deliverables have been expanded into Product Descriptions then these can be the basis for this section of the ITT. Each section to include:

  • What we want to achieve – not the specific technical solutions but the ‘business’ requirement. This may verge on the technical where we are clear e.g. ‘we require a content management system’, but avoid narrowing the options to specific solutions as you want suppliers to respond (creatively) with their views
  • User requirements (What do staff require to do maintenance or updating? What do end users require?)

It can be useful to present your requirements in a numbered list so that you, and the potential supplier, can check off those they claim to meet. The more precise and detailed you can be about your needs the easier it will be to determine which bidders can meet your requirements. You may want to distinguish between mandatory requirements, things you must have, and desirables, things you would like but could manage without. The process of deciding which requirements you must have can be very instructive. It determines the essence of your project and is a very useful exercise.

For more details contact the Information Systems Team at Lasa –, 020 7377 1226.

Lasa Information Systems Team provides a range of services to community and voluntary organisations including ICT Health Checks and consulting on the best application of technology in your organisation. Lasa IST is responsible for maintaining the ICT Hub Knowledgebase.

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