Harry in the Hot Seat

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Harry in the Hot Seat

Harry joined HealthBid as a Business Development Manager in August 2018. Harry lives in Leeds and has spent his career to date in Business Development within the healthcare, further education and construction sectors.

First question: what is your full name?

Harry George Bennett.

Are there any causes that you’re passionate about?

Mental Health Awareness. A lot of the time, people with mental health issues slip under the radar – it’s not fair that not everyone has access to treatment.

Can you sum up your day so far in three words?

Coffee, stress, coffee.

Sounds hectic! If you could be anybody for a day, who would you be and why?

David Beckham – he has a pretty amazing lifestyle, and he was fairly okay at football.

Now for the most crucial question: do you like cheese?

Yes!

What is your favourite type of cheese?

Vintage cheddar.

What’s your favourite destination you have travelled to?

Florence. I love the food, the wine and the culture and it’s beautiful to look at.

Now the Pub Quiz question: which Royal Family member was the recipient of the GQ Award ‘Editor's Lifetime Achievement Award for Services to Philanthropy’?

I don’t know.

Bad luck! It was Prince Charles. Next question: if you were an animal what would you be and why?

I’d be a dog – you get food, cuddles and walks. You have no worries, a nice house, food whenever you want it and you can chill in the pub all day.

Finally, can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I once woke up at the wrong Premier Inn after a stag do in Manchester – there are 11 Premier Inns in central Manchester, so it’s easy to get mixed up!

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Meg in the Hot Seat

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Meg in the Hot Seat

Meg joined HealthBid in July 2018 as a Bid Writer. Originally from Cambridge, Meg has recently moved to Leeds and is a Qualified Climbing Instructor.

Hey there, Meg! First thing’s first, what is your full name?

Omega Titania House

Are there any causes that you’re passionate about?

I am currently fundraising for St Leonard’s Hospice in York, and I’m running the Yorkshire 10 mile for them in October!

Great cause! Can you sum up your day so far in three words?

Reading, writing, editing!

If you could be anybody for a day, who would you be and why?

I think I’d like to be my parents’ cat, Marble, because she just sleeps all day and people bring food to her.

Are you a fan of cheese?

I am – but I have a lot of dairy guilt when I eat it!

What is your favourite type of cheese?

I like a good goat’s cheese – in France you can get little logs of chèvre, which I love!

Now it’s time for the Pub Quiz question: what is the goal of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe rocket?

I’m assuming it’s to park somewhere – maybe to park on Mars?

Sorry, wrong answer! The Parker Solar Probe is aiming to touch the sun. Next question: if you were an animal what would you be and why?

Aside from Marble the cat, I’d probably like to be an otter. They float around on their backs all day, and their best friends are stones!

Cute! Finally, can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I have a grade 8 in the bassoon.

Amazing! Thanks, Meg!

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Dan in the Hot Seat

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Dan in the Hot Seat

Dan joined the HealthBid team as a Bid Writer in July 2018. Dan is from Yorkshire, football lover and recently graduated with a degree in Business Management from the University of Liverpool.

Morning, Dan! Pretty easy kick off question: what is your full name?

Daniel Josiah Wilfred Illingworth

What causes are you passionate about?

Mental Health, particularly surrounding teenagers and young adults, and Sexual Health.

If you could be anybody for a day, who would you be and why?

I’d probably want to be a footballer, so I’d be the best one in the world - Lionel Messi. I would love to score a goal in front of 90,000 people, it would be an amazing feeling and the crowd would go away buzzing.

Awesome answer! What was the last thing you Googled?

‘Fantasy Football Scout’ – it’s a website that gives you tips on who to select for your Fantasy Football team and gives you stats on the different players [it should be noted that Dan is currently leading the HealthBid Fantasy Football league! - Ed]

Do you like cheese?

Yeah, I guess.

What is your favourite type of cheese?

Mozzarella, but I’m not that fussy. As long as it’s not ridiculously strong!

Now it’s time for the Pub Quiz question: what is the current UK number one?

No.

Unlucky! It was ‘In My Feelings – Drake’. Next question: if you were an animal, what would you be?

I’d like to be something that flies because I want to see the world from a different perspective and it’s easier to get about, isn’t it? A seagull, probably, because they’re always by the sea, so you’d have great views and you’d be able to nick people’s food.

Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I once played football with a professional footballer – Danny Cadamarteri, who’s from my hometown.

Awesome! Cheers, Dan!

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The Importance of the Pink & Red Team

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The Importance of the Pink & Red Team

At HealthBid, we are proud to manage bids via a proven methodology, which allows us to be flexible to client needs and resources.

We have longstanding experience of supporting our clients in both Tranche 1 activity, including capture planning and initial win strategy design, and Tranche 2 – creating the bid itself.

The nature of our business model and our flexible, reactive Bid Engine means we commonly work on bids with a significantly condensed timeline, and on services of varying complexity and size.

It is through an established Tranche 2 process that we deliver extremely high-quality, compliant content to often these strictest of deadlines. We achieve this by prioritising two fundamental elements of Tranche 2; the Pink Team and the Red Team.

The Pink Team

The Pink Team creates the conditions for success. Fundamentally, it allows us to work out where your win themes lie, so we can translate that into excellent bid content.

The Pink Team is an essential kick-off meeting where we get to grips with who you are, what you do and what you’ve done so far. As an external organisation looking in, we are exceptionally well-placed to really capture your unique selling points, and equally, the things that might not have worked previously. Our outside perspective allows us to challenge entrenched thinking, and drive stronger commercial messages.

We use the specification and quality response documents to guide these conversations. We ensure everyone understands the specification and the Commissioner’s expectations, going through the specification page by page to ensure compliance, and storyboard responses based on the content you can give us. We also use these conversations to signpost content that might be needed looking forward e.g. action the distribution of relevant policies and procedures.

Ultimately, our Bid Managers and Writers become part of your team throughout the tender process. The Pink Team offers the opportunity to really establish this strong, co-productive relationship. That’s why we always recommend a face-to-face Pink Team, allowing us to;

  • Establish a familiar, trusted relationship;
  • To share information with ease and clarity;
  • To facilitate effective bid management;
  • Allow us to quickly generate high-quality, compliant content.

HealthBid are a people-based business. What we bring to the table are the skills, knowledge and experience of our Bid Director, Senior Bid Managers, Bid Managers and Writers. The best way to really maximise this value is by meeting us in person and kicking-off your project through a comprehensive and directed Pink Team.

The Red Team

The Red Team is all about quality assurance. It is a critical review of the tender, commonly line by line, in order to ensure the bid is compliant and reflective of your strong win themes.

This meeting is about improving the bid, so we always ask clients to be honest and open with their feedback. Equally we ask clients to set aside a good amount of time for this exercise. At least half a day allows for a fully comprehensive review – the nuances matter! A thorough read through, using the evaluation criteria provided, truly maximises the quality of your bid.

HealthBid can support you in part or all of your tender process – from Red Team Reviews of your internal work, to our full writing and management package. If you would like to find out more about us, please give our Business Development Manager Laura a call on 07341 338200.

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Changes to the Board at HealthBid

I’m pleased to announce a couple of changes to the Bidding Limited Board. Bidding Limited - which owns HealthBid - has been growing rapidly for the last few years, taking on new challenges and most importantly writing brilliant bids for our clients. It’s therefore time for us to grow as a Board.

I am very pleased to welcome Mike Pearson on to the Board as Bid Director, responsible for the quality of everything we write, as well as the strategic and operational management of the bid team. Mike has been running the bid team for nearly two years now, and is vastly experienced in leading projects of all sizes.

In addition, Brendan Fatchett has taken up the role of Chair, and David Haslewood has been appointed Non-Executive Director. Brendan and David have been the driving force of the strategy of the business since the three of us formed it over three years ago, and will continue to push us even further.  Over the next few months, we’ll be bringing our unique team based bidding approach to new sectors, including Defence and Higher Education, so exciting times ahead!

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The Link Between Mood and the Weather

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The Link Between Mood and the Weather

With the last few weeks seemingly seeing the sun a consistent presence here in Yorkshire and the rest of the UK, many of us may have noticed an uplift in our mood. Lots of us have been encouraged to venture outdoors and enjoy the sunshine during our lunch breaks, leaving us energised for the rest of the day. All of this positivity has left us at HealthBid HQ feeling inquisitive, and so in this blog post, we have investigated the science behind such summertime cheer.

 

Sunshine and the Brain

Serotonin

Scientists have discovered that sunlight is linked to serotonin – a chemical in the brain which is connected with good mood. Several anti-depressants such as SSRIs – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – are prescribed for individuals with depression to enhance their serotonin levels exactly due to this reason. An Australian study has found that levels of serotonin are higher during sunnier days in comparison to cloudier periods – regardless of the temperature outside.

Vitamin D

Also linked to general wellbeing is the level of Vitamin D in the body. Various studies have remarked on the presence of low Vitamin D levels in individuals suffering from depression. Moreover, a deficiency in this important vitamin is connected to obesity, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Exercise

It is arguable that a sunny day encourages people to become more active - whether it be taking a short walk during our lunch hour or the more ambitious Three Peak Challenge. Research has linked such exercise to endorphin release  - a mood-improving hormone - and so it seems that the weather's association with improved mood is multifaceted.

Conclusion

It seems that the sun’s rays, and the proactivity it encourages, certainly has a positive effect on our general wellbeing. Here’s hoping our current run of warm weather continues and the long-awaited British Summer materialises!

 

Sources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201307/vitamin-d-deficiency-and-depression

http://time.com/4888327/why-sunlight-is-so-good-for-you/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-mind-body-connection/201505/brutal-weather-depressed-mood-what-we-can-do-about-it

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/

https://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/13/health/endorphins-exercise-cause-happiness/index.html

 

Image C/O Tom Sheppard

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Three Tips for Writing a Successful APMS Bid

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Three Tips for Writing a Successful APMS Bid

At HealthBid we have written and reviewed a large number of APMS bids over the last few months. With a large number of GPs operating under this type of arrangement, it is vital that primary care organisations understand how to write a great bid to either retain their current contract, or look to expand into a new practice. Here are HealthBid’s three top tips for winning this type of work.

Be Organised

The number one issue we see with losing bids is that the bidding organisation was not organised. Organisation is not just a question of getting the bid in on time – although of course this is important – it is also good preparation, and giving the bid enough time to be reviewed and refined. Therefore, there are some key dates to consider:-

Before the bid is released – gather key documents that you can be sure you will be asked for. These include evidence of your CQC status, your business continuity plan, your accounts and other documents commonly asked for as part of the tender process. Identify who will write the bid – including considering outsourcing. Make sure that you understand how the commissioner’s portal works.

Within 1 week of the release – have a meeting to agree how you will deliver the service, with clinicians, managers and your finance team. Make sure that everyone has read and understood what is being asked for. Go back to the commissioner with any questions you have.

No later than 1 week before submission – complete draft one, and have a review team that sits and reads it thoroughly, suggesting amendments. Again, this can be outsourced to give an external opinion on your work

No later than 1 day before submission – upload your final draft, along with attachments. Almost all portals allow you to amend at any point before deadline, so you still have enough time for last minute changes. However, uploading the day before submission means that your bid will not be interrupted by any portal hiccups.

Understand Innovation in GP Services

Commissioners are always looking for interesting ideas, and bids are often won or lost based on the score on innovation questions. Be bold – the contract will be for many years, and you don’t want to look like you are standing still.

There are lots of great resources describing primary care innovations online – this document from NHS England shows some of the great work that is out there in practical, practice based examples - https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2015/12/examples-innovation-gp.pdf

Don’t Make Assumptions about your Competition

Whenever we write a bid for a client, we always assume we are up against multiple, well organised, innovative competitors. Why? Because it keeps us on our toes! We advise you to do the same. You may know that your competitors run poor services, or that they do not have a good reputation for innovation. However, the commissioners do not necessarily know this, and your competitors certainly won’t be telling them! By assuming you are up against a strong bidder, it will help you to keep your bid sharp and focused.

Writing APMS bids is tricky, but by following these three tips, you will be well on the way to a strong bid. And of course, if you need a bit more help, then get in touch with us here at HealthBid, and we can have a chat – call Laura on 07341 338200, email info@healthbid.co.uk or visit the contact us page.

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Women in Healthcare

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Women in Healthcare

With today being International Women’s Day and a large proportion of the HealthBid Office made up of women, we’ve written a post on the incredible contribution that women have made over the course of the last two centuries to UK healthcare. From Elizabeth Garrett Anderson to Ruby Wax, we’ll be discussing the importance of these individuals’ in informing debates on both physical and mental health.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917)

Pictured above

Known as the UK’s first female doctor, EGA strived to become a physician despite being turned down by two hospitals to complete her medical training. Recognising that she could instead train as an apothecary, she set up her first practice in 1865; later going to Paris and qualifying as a doctor in 1870. As well as supporting her sister – Millicent Fawcett - in her leadership of the suffragette movement, EGA encouraged her own daughters to lead professional lives and in part inspired the establishment of the NHS Leadership Programme.

Marie Stopes (1880-1958)

Author of ‘Married Love’, Marie Stopes pioneered the first forms of contraception for women and her significance is proven by the numerous extant Marie Stopes Clinics throughout the UK.

Dr Helen Boyle (1869–1957)

A leading psychiatrist, Dr Boyle made it her life’s work to improve provision for those in the early stages of mental health problems. She founded the Lady Chichester Hospital for the Treatment of Early Mental Disorders in 1905 until the NHS took the site over in 1948. The Hospital was ground-breaking in its defining principles, that there ‘should be provision for the treatment of women by women’.

Dame Cicely Saunders (1918-2005)

Known as the founder of the modern hospice movement, Dame Saunders initially trained as a nurse and later as a doctor, and first coined the term ‘total pain’ to refer to physical, mental and spiritual distress. She founded the first ever hospice in Sydenham, Kent and made an invaluable contribution to the concept of pain management.

Baroness Barbara Castle (1910-2002)

A Labour MP, Castle spearheaded the 1970s campaign to abolish private provision in the NHS, which allowed those who could afford to do so to ‘skip the queue’ for healthcare provision.

Jacqui Dyer MBE (c. 1961-)

Highlighting mental health inequality and vice-chair of the Mental Health Taskforce, Dyer contributed to the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. As a member of the advisory panel for the Mental Health Act, Dyer will help investigate exactly why a disproportionately large proportion of BME persons are detained under the Act.

Baroness Susan Greenfield (1950-present)

Baroness Greenfield is a prominent neuroscientist and former Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain – a laboratory dedicated to scientific research. As a Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University, she leads a team exploring Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. She is a leading proponent of the view that technological development is directly changing people’s minds.

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar (1942-)

Professor of Medicine and Education at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, Dame Kumar is a leading light in the education of medical students, refugee doctors and doctors at various stages of their career.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, DBE, Chief Medical Officer for England (1949-)

Davies advises the government on medical matters and regularly speaks on a global basis on issues surrounding Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR). Her 2013 book, ‘The Drugs Don’t Work: A Global Threat’ highlighted the incredible risk posed by the overuse of antibiotics and their resultant decreasing effectiveness.

 Ruby Wax (1953-)

Initially known as a TV presenter and entertainer, Wax later gained a Master’s degree in cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness from Oxford and has written several books on the subject of mental health. She has inspired the establishment of ‘Frazzled Cafés’ in collaboration with Marks and Spencer UK-wide, which offer attendees the opportunity to discuss their anxieties in a safe and worry-free space.

 

Sources:

https://www.uclh.nhs.uk/aboutus/Campaignsandcharities/EGAHospitalCharity/Pages/BriefBiographicalHistoryofElizabethGarrettAnderson.aspx

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/stopes_marie_carmichael.shtml

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/H%20Boyle%20Poster%20Crest%20Final%20A3.pdf

http://www.stchristophers.org.uk/about/damecicelysaunders

http://navigator.health.org.uk/content/barbara-castle-secretary-state-health-and-social-services-campaigned-abolish-pay-beds-nhs

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/08/jacqui-dyer-race-mental-health-act-black-people-detentions-inequality

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/apr/30/science.highereducation

https://www.ageing.ox.ac.uk/people/view/26

http://www.women.qmul.ac.uk/virtual/women/atoz/kumar.htm

https://www.gov.uk/government/people/sally-davies

https://www.frazzledcafe.org/

Image of EGA - https://goo.gl/y3ddGZ

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Win for HealthBid Client

Late last year, we had the opportunity to work with an established HealthBid client to shape elements of their response to a Healthy Lifestyles bid in the Midlands. This was a really enjoyable piece of work for a client with whom we have developed a great relationship; they trust us to deliver.

We were able to take the essence of all the good content produced for previous bids with them as a base and to craft some tailored pieces for the new tender, with the added bonus of previous tender scoring to improve the response. We really picked out the benefits our client would bring to the commissioners and local population. It was so good to hear today that they’d been selected as the new service provider!

Whilst a lot of our work is writing full bids, we often work with clients during the bid process like this, so that we can bring our skills to a project. To find out more about how we could help your organisation, get in touch!

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Justine Allan - Interview

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Justine Allan - Interview

Since our interview with Senior Bid Manager, Darren O’Meara, our team have continued to deliver an abundance of winning bids. This week we’ve interviewed fellow SBM, Justine Allan.

Whilst at HealthBid, she has managed a variety of healthcare related bids such as patient transport, integrated urgent care and healthy lifestyle services and has supported major wins UK-wide throughout her career. Justine likes to bring key concepts to life through graphics as well as through writing. We caught up with Justine during a gap in her busy schedule to discuss her approach to bidding, including her co-ordination of complex projects involving multiple stakeholders.

 

1.     Congratulations on your latest stream of wins, Justine! You’ve worked across an incredible number of tenders – first of all, could you fill us in on the service areas you covered during your time as a bid management professional?

Thank you! I’ve worked in bidding for over fifteen years; covering roles such as Bid Excellence Manager, Group Solutions Advisor and Bid Manager. I’ve worked across construction, marketing and customer communication, patient transport, courier and healthcare communications. During this time I’ve led business development activities, co-ordinated best practice in national and local bid teams, delivered roadshows and Subject Matter Expert (SME)/bid writing training, and of course produced winning bids! Most of my experience lies in the healthcare sector; I’m especially invested in every single bid knowing it can make a real difference to people’s wellbeing.

 

2.     Considering this huge variety of subject areas, do you have a common approach when first presented with the ITT documents? Do you have a set timeline for a bid process with reference to review meetings?

When ITT documents are produced, I make a point of reading absolutely everything supplied, cover to cover. I enjoy planning and organising bids, and my initial focus is to understand the compliance and quality requirements, deadlines and communication channels for each project.  I always use a bid tracker – no matter how small or large the bid; this document lies at the core of my bid management.

A key feature of an effective bid process is the Pink Team - I work to arrange this with relevant SMEs as soon as possible in the bid prep window. I use this meeting to make sure everybody understands the commissioner pack, the timescales and the input required to build a winning bid, whilst extracting win themes. This SME contribution is tracked and chased throughout the response build period.

The Pink Team will also see a date for the Red Team established, which will allow key SMEs and neutral reviewers to consider a near final draft of each response, prior to final submission.

Following Pink Team, I work with HealthBid writers; leading storyboarding sessions and allocating tasks.

Constantly mindful of the limited nature of bidding timescales, I also meticulously project manage the interim period between the Pink and Red Team to ensure that everyone keeps their promises, and the information generated is accurate and of high quality. Using agreed communication routes with key contributors, I will deliver status updates to inform gap filling, actions and monitor any risks for early mitigation. Iterative drafts are produced for consistent review - building quality, and ensuring alignment with client expectations.

All content received and generated is consistently filed using our set templated structures - I’m an ambassador for this consistency which assures version control and maximises efficiency.

 

 3.     You’ve recently finished working on a significant project, with a considerable number of stakeholders - when faced with these bids how do you co-ordinate multiple contributions and present coherent responses?

I make a point of noting each SME who will contribute to the process as early as possible in the bid timeline. This includes how each expert wants to be communicated with and their availability through the bid process. I will brief them during the Pink Team and set early milestones to allow for a single voice throughout the bid response.

Underpinning this approach, I have a designated bid workbook to indicate who is available to give content, their area of expertise and who they’re linked to in their team. I agree assignment of a single owner at the client side to co-ordinate the respective members of the team e.g. Information Technology so as to streamline the feedback provided.

 

4.     Your use of graphics in bids is very impressive – do you have a particular rationale when deciding whether to use these graphics alongside a response?

I’m a firm believer in simplifying messages through graphics, and first worked with them when I was a Bid Excellence Manager at a respected project management consultancy. At this point, bidding was moving from more manual presentation and submission – sometimes commissioners even specified hand-written documents and hand-delivered submission - to a more innovative and online-based process. Graphics were then becoming real currency in expressing concepts in an interesting way; adding diversity to what were previous entirely written documents. Whilst at a branding and graphics agency, I also worked proactively alongside InDesign experts to present engaging bids which allowed concepts of a service model to be translated visually to a single page. Altogether, the innovation of the bidding process has allowed more flexibility in bid presentation; permitting us to highlight key messages and make it more of an interesting task for commissioners to evaluate a submission.

 For example, I often use graphics to make long lists more engaging, to show relationships, illustrate flows of information and visually present patient pathways. I also use graphics to convey more complex messages as it allows simplification of a particular concept.

 

5.     You’ve worked on tenders which have often been subject to change during the writing process –question meanings can be changed according to CQ responses and even word counts can be amended, all at short notice. How do you react to such changes?

I’ve overseen many projects subject to change during the process! It’s really important to remain open-minded, thick skinned, flexible and efficient in the face of these unexpected changes. Clarification questions must be circulated to all key stakeholders in a timely fashion, emergency calls and meetings may be necessary, and long sleepless nights could feature. Moreover, as a bid professional, the ability to avoid dwelling on issues and simply resolve any problems that arise is incredibly important; the supportive environment at HealthBid is a massive bonus here. Any of our team can be affected by such changes during any given month and flexibility is key to make sure we meet the one constant; the final submission deadline. Our unique Bidding Engine model gives us resource to surge when workload unexpectedly grows at short notice.

 

6.     Agreed! It’s obvious that you’ve obviously cultivated a proven method to maximise the chance of winning bids – what does each new success mean to you?

I am extremely competitive, and I buy in to every bid I write; it matters to me what the result is. Wins are extremely gratifying, but whether win or lose I analyse any feedback from commissioners working to improve at the very next opportunity. I love receiving client feedback too, it shapes my own personal growth and allows me to feed learnings and successes back to the team.

Thanks Justine!

 

If you need assistance at any stage of the bidding process, give our Business Development Manager, Laura Moore, a call on 07341 338200.

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<3 Bidding: How HealthBid can help grow your business

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<3 Bidding: How HealthBid can help grow your business

Here at HealthBid, we recognise that businesses seeking to expand – whether they be private SMEs or larger trusts - can find the bidding process a difficult task. Both types of organisation can lack the resource to commit to this time-consuming process alongside their everyday working commitments, and bidding can be simply regarded as laborious. This post will show how we can take the stress out of this business development process, so you can enjoy the process. Aptly enough for a month which is punctuated by Valentine’s Day, we know and love the bidding process; and actively work to maximise our client’s winning potential. We want to ensure that that the companies we work with do not fear the procurement process, but rather value the opportunity to eloquently express their ability to commissioners.

As proof of our commitment to the bidding process, our experience, combined with our collaborative ethos and proven methodology allow us to utilise our experience and tailor our process to our client's requirements.

Experience

The individual experience of our team members means that we have a raft of bidding expertise on a collective level. Our personnel, including our Bid Director and Bid Managers have an impressive background in managing projects, worth millions to the NHS and the private sector. Taken together, this experience and ethos means that our clients maximise their opportunity to win a bid.

Ethos

Unlike many other bidding organisations who operate as a sole entity, we work on a collaborative and transparent basis. The Bid Engine unites an impressive team consisting of a variety of bid management professionals, who work across a range of areas, from Children’s Services to Patient Transport Services. This means we can offer a consistent bidding service throughout every stage of the bid’s timeline.

Methodology

Capitalising on our ethos and experience, our review process allows us to fine tune business development proposals. A Pink Team allows us to get to know organisations, developing win themes and harnessing the knowledge and expertise of our clients to channel into the final bid. The Red Team, i.e. a final review with a client, enables us to fully develop the story that a business is trying to tell, identifying themes and key information to refine the bid.

Taken together, these three characteristics of our company curb the stress that many of our clients may otherwise feel when approaching a procurement process. We actively enjoy managing projects, and articulately expressing a client’s winning potential.

If you need assistance at any stage of the bidding process, give our Business Development Manager, Laura Moore, a call on 07341 338200.

 

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New Year, New You?

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New Year, New You?

Refresh Your Bidding Model

It’s the month of resolutions. On a personal level, we are all adept at taking some time in January to consider the year just gone and how we might do things better looking forward. Indeed, the classic – be more active, eat less chocolate – makes its 2018 (re)appearance on my list!

However, it might also be the time to think about making some tangible change on an organisational level. Could your approach to bidding do with a refresh?

When it comes to winning public sector work, we find our clients commonly turn to HealthBid because their previous procurement model has been;

  • Resource Draining – compliant, high quality bids commonly require the input of a number of Subject Matter Experts (SME) for content and robust project management to keep the tender on track. Often this means pulling people off their ‘day job’ to help get the bid over the line.
  • Time Demanding – volume of work combined with restrictive deadlines means bidding can be hugely demanding on time. Especially if it comes as an addition to your usual responsibilities, evenings and weekends can become dedicated to tender preparation.
  • Overly Complicated - Without clear lines of responsibility (e.g. a dedicated Bid Manager or Bid Team), project management and action ownership can become blurred and unnecessarily complex; a classic ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ situation. 
  • Under Resourced – if opportunities drop at similar times it may be that just one Project Manager/Team is having to manage several tender submissions at once, without giving each bid the dedicated attention it needs to facilitate a high-quality submission.
  • Technically Driven – whilst the technicalities of service delivery are essential, people too often forget that bidding is all about sales! Without expert writers who are experienced at writing engaging and exciting narratives for Commissioners, the quality of your submission can be jeopardised.   

All, some or just one of these factors can result in a needlessly complex and stressful tender process and ultimately, consistently low win rates. If you’ve found yourself relating to any of the above, it might be time to think differently about your bidding model. Here, HealthBid can help.

We offer a number of services, all of which are guaranteed to inject efficiency, energy and quality back into your bids and improve your chances of success. These range from supporting you through the whole process of winning work to offering additional capacity and a review services.

HealthBid are so successful because we do things differently. Using our unique BidEngine Model, your bid always gets team attention, never being placed solely with one person. Bringing together fantastic project managers, strong strategic director input and talented writers on every project means we always deliver incredibly high-quality work. As specialists, dedicated solely to working in Health and Social Care, our model is also reinforced by an unrivalled level of sector knowledge.

If you think it’s time for a change in your bidding model, give our Business Development Manager call on 07341 338200.  Laura can tell you more about who we are, what we do and how we can help you win more work in the public sector this year!

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Tooth Decay in Children: ‘…a wholly preventable disease’

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Tooth Decay in Children: ‘…a wholly preventable disease’

Following our recent post on the Sugar Tax, this week the HealthBid blog considers some startling figures recently released by the Local Government Association (LGA) on the state of children’s oral health in England. The report highlights;

  • The equivalent of 170 operations per day are performed to remove multiple teeth in children.
  • There were a total of 42, 911 under-18 multiple teeth extractions in 2016/17 – costing the NHS £36.2 million.
  • This is a 17% increase on 2012/13 figures and a total cost increase of £165 million since 2012.  

The cost to the NHS is so staggering because the severity of the decay means treatment must be delivered in hospitals under general anaesthetic. Indeed, tooth extraction is the largest cause of hospital admission in 5-9 year olds.

Representing most UK Dentists, chairman of British Dental Association (BDA) said in reaction to the new figures; “These statistics are a badge of dishonour for health ministers, who have failed to confront a wholly preventable disease.” 

Experts suggest figures are likely a result of excessive consumption of sugary food and drink, coupled with poor oral hygiene. The BDA reports that children aged 11 – 18 get 40% of their added sugars from soft drinks. Similarly, the Faculty of Dental Surgery cites evidence that current intakes of sugar for children in the UK grossly exceeds recommendations.

Whilst it is of course essential to consider intersecting socio-economic factors, tooth decay is largely preventable through reduction in sugar consumption, a regular brushing routine and sufficient exposure to fluoride. Given a widespread Public Health focus on self-care, championing self-driven, non-clinical solutions to health problems, it would be unsurprising to see oral health take a prominent role in Children’s Services commissioning going forward. Especially where improved education and behavioural intervention can alleviate current pressures on an overstretched NHS.

Having written, managed and won a number of Children’s Services tenders over that past few years for our clients, HealthBid have a robust understanding of Commissioners expectations when it comes Children and Young Peoples (CYP) health. If you are interested in finding out more about what we do and how we can help you win more public sector work, give our Business Development Manager Laura Moore a call on 07341 338200.

Sources

BBC News - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42662425

BDA - https://www.bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/Child-decay-stats-badge-of-dishonour-for-ministers

Faculty of Dental Surgery - https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/search/#SearchTerm=childrens%20oral%20health

Gov.uk - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-oral-health-an-evidence-informed-toolkit-for-local-authorities

The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/13/dentists-warn-of-child-tooth-decay-crisis-as-extractions-hit-new-high

The Independent - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/uk-sugar-addiction-nhs-rotten-teeth-children-operations-cost-food-drink-diet-a8156151.html

LGA - https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/170-operations-day-remove-rotten-teeth-children

Sugar Smart Campaign - https://www.sugarsmartuk.org/about/

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...And Another Win!

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...And Another Win!

We're proud to announce another win for the HealthBid team. We have been working with Greenworks Controlled Environments, who provide climate control and air conditioning, to support writing a bid for services at Addenbroke's Hospital.

These services include the maintenance of vital air conditioning and other refrigeration systems at the Trust. The bid was vital for Greenworks, as they had provided the contract for a number of years, and so it represented an important part of their business.

Mike Pearson, who managed the bid for HealthBid, said, "This was a technical bid for a fantastic client. As a team, we worked with Greenworks over a long period of time, understanding them as a business and people. We developed key win themes, and then articulated these in a clear, well-written bid. We're really pleased to have won this piece of work."

If there's a bid that we can help you with get in touch.

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The Energy Drink: A Beverage Too Sweet to Be True?

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The Energy Drink: A Beverage Too Sweet to Be True?

The recent news that Waitrose will be banning the sale of energy drinks to under-16s from 5th March has reopened the debate on the health impact of such drinks. In this post, we’ll consider the science and developments around these beverages.

The Science

Energy drinks contain caffeine and sugar, with the caffeine resulting in a spike in heartbeat and sugar boosting glucose levels, though also going on to produce debilitating sugar crashes. A shocking 78% of energy drinks contain levels of sugar which exceed a child’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). This content is exacerbated by the fact that the typical serving sizes of energy drinks are larger than similar sugar-sweetened drinks. Alongside this, the ‘energy’ provided by such drinks is enhanced by the addition of high amounts of caffeine, derived from the guarana plant. With the RDA of sugar and caffeine at around 30g and 400mg respectively, the fact remains that these energy drinks contain much more than this.

Lobbies for Controlled Consumption

2017 saw the true results of sugar consumption publicised, with the rise of reduced and sugar-free diets attributable to this scientific evidence. Jamie Oliver’s programme ‘Sugar Rush’ explored the nature of children’s sugar consumption, and highlighted energy drinks as particularly high in sugar. The fact that energy drink brands actively target such young consumers to buy their goods means that one in three British under 18 year olds say that they regularly consume energy drinks. Such a prohibition would therefore have a significant impact for a large proportion of young people.

Following this, he recommended that a so-called ‘sugar tax’ be introduced and for all such drinks to be banned in their sale to under-16s. Oliver aligns with the teaching union, NASUWT in his comments, who have even gone so far as to label the drinks ‘readily available legal highs’. This has resulted in Waitrose leading prohibition of these drinks for younger generations and will act to encourage other supermarkets to similarly limit their sale of such beverages.

The Future

2018 will see a UK-wide ‘Sugar Tax’ introduced, and this levy will see soft drink brands who produce drinks containing 5g/100ml contribute c. £520 million to sports funding in primary schools. This has had a knock-on effect for drinks companies such as A.G. Barr, who have replaced half of the sugar in their popular ‘Irn Bru’ beverage with the controversial sweetener Aspartame in order to avoid this tax. However, the outcry against this substitute has been characterised by a petition signed by over 40,000 people. Therefore, it seems that the backlash against such solutions mean that such manufacturers may need to consider paying up, or placate consumers using other methods.

 

Sources

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/how-much-caffeine-before-i-end-up-in-the-er/267129/

http://fuse.ac.uk/research/briefs/Should%20we%20be%20concerned%20about%20energy%20drinks%20and%20young%20peoples%20health.pdf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15982904

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/average-energy-drink-contains-more-than-an-adults-recommended-daily-allowance_uk_5a32a3dde4b00dbbcb5b9e2e

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/04/waitrose-ban-sales-high-caffeine-energy-drinks-children-16/

https://www.diabetes.co.uk/nutrition/2018-uk-sugar-tax.html

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/shoppers-panic-buy-irn-bru-ahead-of-recipe-changing-to-avoid-sugar-tax-a3732051.html

Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seafrost/2202643084/

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Win for HealthBid Client

We're always excited here at HealthBid when we can share news of a win for one of our clients, and this win is no exception!

One of our longest standing clients, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT), has been successful in their bid for Health Visiting services in Warwickshire. These services are for children and their families from birth through to school age, and provide a vital public health function, as well as immediate support for families at an often stressful time.

These services complement existing school nursing services in Coventry and those that SWFT won in Solihull earlier in the year, giving an opportunity for innovation across the West Midlands.

Glen Burley, SWFT's Chief Executive commented, "The teams are absolutely delighted to be able to continue to provide health visiting services across Warwickshire and have been key to delivering a plan that meets the requirements Warwickshire County Council have set out for the local area."

The process was a competitive dialogue. We supported both in preparing the team for the presentations and with the creation of the final bid documents. 

To find out how we can help your organisation to win your next bid, get in touch with Laura, our Business Development Manager on 07341 338200.

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2018 Procurement Thresholds Confirmed

All government procurement over a certain value in the UK must follow EU regulations around transparency and fairness. 

The NHS is no different, and so healthcare contracts are subject to EU procurement law. The threshold values for procurements are updated regularly to keep them in line with inflation or any other legislative change.

The 2018 values have been confirmed as follows:-

Supply, Services and Design Contracts - £118,133

Works Contracts - £4,551,413

Social and other specific services - £615,278

These values are for the whole contract lifetime, and exclude VAT.

The deifinition of a social service is complex, and is based around CPV codes. A list of these can be found here

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Why Outsource Your Bid?

With Christmas just around the corner and your leave calendar starting to look much busier, we couldn’t think of a better time to talk about the benefits of outsourcing.

There are several reasons why using HealthBid will benefit you, both during the festive season and beyond. Our top three are;

  • Dedicated Capacity
  • Professional Project Management   
  • Expert Writing  

Capacity

Managing and writing a high-quality bid requires substantial time and resource investment. Our clients often come to us because of the increasing tension they have managing their bid processes alongside their day jobs. HealthBid can take the pressure off.

We essentially become your own in-house bid team, giving your tender the undivided attention it needs to succeed. Even as ‘outsiders’ we create bespoke and tailored bids which genuinely reflect who you are and what you can do. Indeed, we are proud of our ability to truly immerse ourselves in our clients’ organisations, even within significantly tight deadlines, meaning we always write from an informed and genuine perspective.

Let us help you to take back control of your time and resources – bidding doesn’t have to be a drain on your time and staff.

Project Management

Using HealthBid to manage and write your bids ensures your tender gets dedicated project management, using the proven Shipley Associates methodology – including capture planning to pink and red review teams.  

Our Bid Managers will get you through the tender process efficiently, seamlessly and successfully. Through exceptional organisation, project planning and coordination, they ensure everything stays on track – allowing you to stay calm and confident even during that final deadline week!

Expert Writing

We are professional writers, consistently producing exceptional content. Recent feedback from our clients is a real testament to this:

“We are extremely happy with our submission and the way the bid management process has been managed by yourselves.  The amount of information you have taken on board and captured within our submission, alongside how it is presented is impressive.” (Lifestyle Services client)

We are skilled at weaving our clients unique win themes into a vibrant and interesting story for commissioners, bringing their innovative services alive. We know how to do this in an appropriate, engaging style, ensuring responses incorporate both compliance requirements and the sales-based tone necessary in every successful tender.

“Thank you all so much for the swift, succinct and great work.  It has been a pleasure and I hope to work with you on projects to come.” (GP Federation Client)

The quality of our written work is also reinforced by our extensive experience. Having worked across numerous health and social care sectors, writing for a variety of Contracting Authorities, we know what Commissioners are looking for. Our unrivalled level of sector knowledge and experience, spanning the entire Bid Engine, is an asset in every bid we write.

We can support you through the whole process of winning work, from identifying unique win themes to project managing and writing your tender. Find out more by speaking to our Business Development Manager Laura Moore on 07341 338200.

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Festive Aromas: Cinnamon and its Importance to Health

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Festive Aromas: Cinnamon and its Importance to Health

Christmas is just around the corner and festive Spotify playlists are in full swing throughout the UK’s offices and shops. Besides the sounds of Christmas, however, many shops are also choosing to scent the air of their aisles with Christmas aromas to encourage shopper spending. In this blog post, HealthBid will consider the significance of a typical festive aroma; cinnamon, to health. In the light of Pret a Manger’s introduction of the Turmeric Latté, it seems spices really are big business in the UK.

What is Cinnamon?

Whilst many of us are familiar with this spice in the Western World, its origin can actually be traced back to the inner bark of a large tree thousands of miles away. The Portugese first discovered the spice in Ceylon – now Sri Lanka – in the early 1500s.  There are two dominant types of the spice: Ceylon and Cassia Cinnamon, with the majority of the former found in Sri Lanka and most of the latter found in Indonesia. The health benefits associated with the spice come from the essential oil present in its bark - known as ‘cinnamaldehyde’.

Neuromarketing

The smell of cinnamon is incredibly evocative - indeed, neuroscientists have proven through the use of fMRI scanners that the scent, above all others, causes individuals’ brains to light up and encourage festive sentiments. In fact, it is a proven seasonal marketing technique for this exact reason. 

Health Benefits

Cinnamon is an ingredient within Pret’s popular Turmeric Latté, with nutritionists claiming that it is linked to both reduced blood pressure and effective management of blood sugar for those with Type 2 Diabetes.  In addition, the spice’s carminative effect helps relieve gastrointestinal problems, with fans opting to make tea with ground cinnamon and hot water to help combat such digestive symptoms. The essential oil also has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Despite this, it is important to recognise that too much cinnamon can also have an adverse effect on health. In fact, cassia cinnamon contains coumarin – an organic chemical compound which in large quantities can negatively impact on your liver. Ceylon cinnamon is therefore a safer bet, though less commonly found in typical supermarkets.

Supplementing your Diet with Cinnamon

With the RDA for cinnamon around 1.5-6 grams of cinnamon per day, there are many options by which you can incorporate the spice in your diet – including via coffee, curries and puddings. Alternatively, simply swirl a sprinkle of cinnamon, one sprinkle of mixed spice and one sprinkle of nutmeg into a mug of warm milk for a soothing, caffeine-free drink.

Sources:

M. Lindstrom -Brand Sense: Sensory Secrets Behind the Stuff We Buy'

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-cinnamon

https://www.thekitchn.com/should-you-be-adding-cinnamon-to-your-coffee-231050

Image Credit:

www.kjokkenutstyr.net

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Darren O'Meara - Interview

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Darren O'Meara - Interview

At HealthBid, we continue to deliver winning healthcare bids for our customers. Recently we’ve celebrated successes in the Department of Health Future Operating Model and 0-5 Children Services. Senior Bid Manager Darren O’Meara was instrumental in the delivery of some these key successes. We catch up with Darren for his insights in transforming that blank ITT into a successful tender. Read on for some top tips on how HealthBid’s proven bid management methodology offers an excellent pathway to producing high-quality content.

Congratulations on your latest wins Darren! To begin with, we wanted to ask you what your immediate approach is when assigned a project? 

Thank you, it’s been great to see our hard work resulting in some great successes for our customers.

Starting a new project, once we have identified stakeholders to be involved, a clear communication plan is agreed. The project plan can then be developed to facilitate the inclusion of all stakeholders at critical milestones. The project plan outlines both internal and external timescales and overall shapes both writing time and review around such key dates. In my experience, fundamental to effective project planning and ultimately, a winning bid, is taking the time to assess the opportunity to understand the key requirements and timelines of the bid. Equipped with this understanding we can then assist our customer in realising and developing their win themes to be articulated throughout the bid.  

At HealthBid, the Bid Engine provides a unique approach to bidding, offering a wealth of knowledge and expertise which is engaged for the benefit of each bid. Part of my planning involves engaging the Bid Engine to ensure each staff member assigned to the project is briefed and clear on their role in the bid process. Our model’s strength was demonstrated working with the NHS Collaborative Procurement Partnership to achieve an unprecedented success - top scoring in all 6 Towers and securing the maximum 3 Towers within the Tranche 1 Procurement for the Department of Health Future Operating Model.

On the subject of communication, HealthBid works with many different healthcare companies across the UK and client liaison is key to efficient project management. How do you approach such liaison and keep clients updated on the bid management process?

The key to effective communication is early preparation, and here at HealthBid we often start the process of capture planning with customers before project documents have been issued. One of my first tasks, beginning a project is to identify who is the key point of contact for each client and key stakeholder. Identifying that key point of contact allows for regular targeted communication, a key element of efficient project management.

Each client brings their own unique experience and approach to the bid process - I see one of my main responsibilities as remaining flexible and quickly adapting my project management style to suit. In some cases, a project may concern multiple stakeholders, therefore I must remain adaptable to each stakeholder’s wishes, whilst also ensuring that decisions are made which every partner is ultimately happy with.

To take one example, in our successful work with NHS CPP, we worked with multiple stakeholders from each of the 4 founding NHS CPP Procurement Hubs including North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative, the London Procurement Partnership, Commercial Solutions and the East of England Collaborative Procurement Hub. The challenge with such a complex and diverse set of stakeholders was to secure the mutual agreement of each organisation to make sure each stakeholder was adequately engaged in contributing to the final bid response.

To assure successful liaison, we use a variety of methods of communication and do not simply rely on one medium. Effectively we strike a balance between telephone, email and face-to-face meetings. Whilst face-to-face meetings are a must for key milestones in the bid process such as Solution Design, Pink Teams and Red Reviews, regular communication is critical to engaging all stakeholders and often facilitated by conference calls at weekly intervals to ensure that all parties are informed and updated. 

As a Bid Manager, you often have several people working for you at once -  you’ve previously mentioned HealthBid’s Bid Engine. How do you assign workload and work with these staff members?

I will often assign content to team member based on their knowledge or experience of a certain topic, however it is important to build on a writer’s existing skillset, as a fresh perspective can equally provide unique and engaging responses.

Managing a project team involves consistent review to ensure progress in line with the project plan. Proactive planning, complemented by regular internal review optimises the quality of the bid response.  

As an experienced bid professional, you have worked on a variety of OJEU procurement processes for clients. Longer open processes, such as Competitive Dialogues, can often last several months. Do you have a particular methodology to deal with these processes as opposed to closed processes, consisting of an SQ and ITT?

Fundamental throughout every procurement – be it a closed or an open process - is that the client solution is presented and articulated in a manner which maximises the opportunity available. Drawing on our established and proven bidding methodology, including capture planning and use of review meetings, throughout each and every stage of the process is essential to ensure the customer is prepared for each stage.

For example, we recently successfully project managed the bid process for a 0-5s Service for a well-respected NHS Trust which included 2 competitive dialogue sessions prior to ITT. Through regular design/review meetings we were able to identify win themes which were consistently and clearly articulated to the Commissioner and developed and enhanced throughout the various procurement stages.

Such longer projects are more prone to change according to Commissioners’ wishes. How do you react to such alterations as changing timelines?

As a business, reacting to the changing face of healthcare is one of the key strengths of HealthBid. The agile nature of our Bid Engine provides the flexibility and experience to react to changing commissioners wishes. Our approach goes beyond consultancy; to actively provide a comprehensive and winning bid response which has been shaped by our customer and driven by HealthBid. Such a nature relies on the dynamism of our staff, and the flexible nature of our bid methodology.

Finally, given your recent successes, what do such results mean to you?

We work so closely with our clients; the challenges we face together throughout the bid process, combined with the trusted relationships we build, ensure that the outcome of the bid is personal to us. We anticipate results as much as our clients and there is no better feeling than celebrating our successes.

If you’d like to hear more about our bid management process, don’t hesitate in calling Laura Moore on 07341338200, or sending us your details.

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