This is crucial. You need to know what it is the buyer wants and which important issues you will be scored on. The most important thing you will probably ever do in any tender is to pay particular attention to the stated evaluation criteria in order to guide your answers.
If you are not measured on something, there is absolutely no point in flat-out going to town on it (although, as stated in Tip 1, you still need to provide an answer). When developing your answers, make constant reference to the evaluation criteria to ensure that you are both on track and also emphasising key points. As stated earlier for PQQs, watch out for Pass/Fail criteria questions that can also be in the tender document – these will need answering fully because any ‘Fail’ will mean you would take no further part.
An OJEU-threshold award must by law be based solely on the ‘Most Economically Advantageous Tender’ (MEAT). Within this ‘MEAT’ banner, EU rules allow tender evaluation and award to be via the best ‘Price/Quality’ ratio (value for money) but it can also be on ‘Price’ or ‘Cost’ (e.g. whole life-cycle costings). The buyer’s evaluation criteria must be stated in the Contract Notice, or in the Invitation to Tender document at the latest. Any criteria chosen must also be linked to the subject matter of the contract.
Note that buyers are also encouraged to apply the ‘MEAT’ principles even for lower value, sub-OJEU threshold tenders. Basically, whatever they say they will evaluate you on, regardless of the overall contract value (OJEU or not), you should ensure that you comply with those requirements.