Why Tender Evaluator Qualifications are like Driving Licences … 100 years ago!

In the First World War, there were no driving tests. Anyone could drive any vehicle and were assumed competent just because they had done it before. They didn’t even need to prove they knew the Road Code.

Today’s Tender Evaluators are no different. They’re responsible for decisions that spend millions of dollars of our taxpayer money, yet the vast majority have never had to prove their individual competence or their knowledge of procurement rules.

Even qualified Tender Evaluators have, until recently, gained certification primarily by producing a portfolio of work – much of which had been completed with, or even by, others in their procurement departments. The evidence only showed they were involved in procurement – with little focus on quality or individual work.

And because many candidates were required to follow legacy templates and/or instructions from their seniors and therefore had little control over decisions on the tools used, the portfolios did not provide clear evidence of their personal competence.

Getting the qualification took most people years. It was tedious, and it didn’t necessarily guarantee that the graduate knew the rules of procurement or was personally and individually competent at the nuts and bolts of procurement – i.e. effective planning, putting together quality RFT documents, and carrying out sound and fair tender evaluations.

The new NZQA Tender Evaluator qualification is changing this. It’s great news that the process of getting qualified is faster, more accessible, less tedious, and more robust than previously. And the qualification is valid for all of procurement, not just transport.

Instead of taking years to collate a portfolio of examples that may or may not be good ones, today’s candidates can use scenarios for some of their work – so they can prove their individual competence without being hamstrung by legacy tools or hierarchical decisions.

They can move through the qualification at their own pace, fast-tracking if they want to – without having to gather a mountain of workplace examples (good, bad and indifferent), over several years. A couple of outstanding real-life examples, together with the scenario-based assignments,  demonstrate they’re up-to-speed with best practice far better than the previous methods.

Some of those who have signed up to the new Tender Evaluator Qualification are now close to graduation after just three or four months. They’ve cut down hundreds of hours of boring document collation into completing a few, sharply targeted assignments and answering questions on them to show-case their practical skills in tendering.

Warning – there will be complaints! This change will no doubt be frustrating for those who expect to have their Certificate handed to them as an honorary qualification (because, according to them, they have been doing this – not necessarily well – for years). However, it will be excellent news for the keenest, the brightest and the most motivated of our procurement professionals.

At last, there’s a qualification that’s merit-based, founded on demonstration of practical skills, and accessible to anyone with some experience in tendering who’s prepared to show-case their individual best practice skills.

Graduates will need to show they can actively apply ethical tendering practices and Government’s Rules of Sourcing. They’ll need to plan procurement activities thoroughly and answer questions about their procurement activity (to make sure it’s their own work). Assessment is now a combination of documented evidence, observation, interview and referee comments – not just centred around documented tender involvement.

If you’re keen to get qualified, please drop me a line. I’d love to help you to fast-track your NZQA Level 6 Procurement Qualification so you’re qualified for NZTA projects and other procurement contexts.