The RFP is dead. Long live the RFP

The world of sourcing is turning on a pin and no less so than around the area of the RFP (request for proposal). Some subject matter experts say the RFP has long been dead, yet others are still painting it as a vital tool to correctly assess the suitability of future partners.

This, the first GSA event for 2020, investigated the virtues and drawbacks of the RFP and took a look at the alternative approaches open to buyers when selecting new partners. We also looked at how this new approach impacts service providers –  is it true that generally bid costs are lower and the probability to win ratio increases?

This half day seminar included a number of keynote speakers who presented their views and experiences and then the morning session closed with an industry debate. 


Mark Devonshire, Chair of GSA and VP and Head of Client Delivery, NTT Data Services opened and chair the event, sharing his views on how the marketplace has changed and some procurement horror stories where lowest price wins but doesn’t deliver.

David Brook, Managing Director, Turnstone Services Ltd

David shared his views on why the RFP is very much still alive and kicking, including a case study where through the RFP an “early favourite was dropped by objective scoring” saving the client from choosing an ill-fitting partner.

Angela Wyatt, Consulting Director, Horizon Seven

Angela shared three distinct approaches to an alternative RFP process, including a major high street Retailer, which took an “absolute no RFP approach” to a major tender and supply side perspectives. Angela also addressed how public sector organisations can use alternative approaches to the RFP, but not fall foul of OJEU regulations.

Imran Syed, Legal Director, DLA Piper  looked at the subject from a private sector legal context and how evolving the RFP process does not necessarily make you more liable to legal challenges from failed bidders. We also looked at how a collaborative approach to the tender process can in fact help develop the contract schedules on the way through the process.

Kerry Hallard, CEO of GSA  chaired the debate and on behalf of the GSA posed the motion: the RFP process is flawed and does not guarantee buyers to select the best partners.

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