Advice on winning business and working in the aid program
for preparing bids
Assess the market
You should first determine whether there is a market within AusAID for the services offered by you or your organisation. If there is a market, it is necessary to identify the opportunities and become informed about the aid program.
Get to know AusAID
Liaison with AusAID staff is important, especially Country Program staff. When travelling in developing countries it is also useful to visit AusAID staff working at diplomatic missions and partner government representatives. It is important to make specific appointments well in advance.
Become knowledgeable about the aid program
Become informed about activities funded by AusAID. Read key AusAID publications, especially those that provide information about business opportunities, such as:
- Focus magazine—produced three times per year by AusAID, provides information about activities and projects
- sector policy documents—provide a broad understanding about AusAID's approach to projects in a range of sectors, such as education and training, health, gender and agriculture
- country strategy papers and country profiles—provide information about current major AusAID activities and sector priorities for countries receiving bilateral aid.
These publications are available on this website.
Network with peers
Network with other consultants or contractors who do business with AusAID. Working as a sub-contractor to a company which has a contract with AusAID can be a useful way to gain experience and skills in the overseas development co-operation program. It is also commonplace for several consultants and firms to prepare a joint tender for activities. Regular updates about companies and individuals who have won AusAID contracts can also be found on the Australian Government's
AusTender website. This information lets you know who your competitors are—they may be useful people to network with.
TAP experience is valuable
Nominate for a technical member position on a Technical Assessment Panel (TAP). This can provide a useful insight into AusAID's selection processes and the quality of tenders (though under no circumstances can there be a conflict of interest). Technically qualified personnel can be nominated for service on TAPs at the time the tender opportunity is advertised—contact the contact officer listed on the tender advertisement to discuss the nomination.
It is important to understand that AusAID is the client and it is the responsibility of your business to tender for projects and aid activities. A competitive approach is required to be successful. It is also advisable to take a medium to long-term view about doing business with AusAID.
Take a strategic approach
When tendering for work, adopt a strategic and focussed approach. Target specific projects and opportunities rather than taking a 'scatter-gun' approach across all sectors and programs. Avail yourself of debriefing by AusAID where feedback is provided about your tender proposal - this can provide valuable insight into improving future tenders.
Salaries and conditions for overseas work
The market sets the rates for consultants, not AusAID. Companies make their own commercial decisions about the rates they charge for consultants when they submit a bid for a project. There are companies that provide advice (which has to be paid for) on rates for the allowances of consultants working abroad. AusAID does not endorse any of these companies so we suggest you search for them using the Internet.
for writing a tender proposal
Understand how tenders are assessed
It is important to develop knowledge and insight into how AusAID assesses tender proposals. The key principles to awarding contracts are designed to ensure that a fair, open and competitive tendering process is used. Experience on a Technical Assessment Panel can provide knowledge and insight into both the technical assessment process and the quality of proposals.
Make sure you submit a conforming tender
Only tenders that conform to stated tender requirements will be assessed. It is essential therefore that you read the tender documentation carefully and that your tender adheres to the proposed format required. For example, your tender must not exceed the specified total number of pages. Do not include additional (excess to 'request for tender' requirements) technical information in covering letters or on page dividers or use the incorrect type (font) size.
Address the selection criteria
To ensure fair and open competition, all tenders are assessed against the selection criteria. It is essential therefore that your tender addresses these. When responding to the Terms of Reference, do not repeat what AusAID has already provided to you. You need to demonstrate that you understand the project and its constraints and display insight into management issues and contingency plans.
Focus your tender accordingly
Take notice of selection criteria weightings provided and ensure that the emphasis in your tender reflects the weightings provided. Focus curriculum vitae on the skills required for the particular project - do not adopt a generic approach. AusAID checks curriculum vitae for accuracy. It is therefore important that you do not make claims that can't be substantiated.
Submit realistic price assessments
AusAID's tender selection process focuses on quality. Prices submitted with tenders must reflect the actual cost of undertaking the task—AusAID is not interested in tenders that do not adequately resource or price the project.
Adopt a quality control process
Ensure that the tender is subjected to some form of quality control prior to its submission to AusAID. A final check of the proposal should ensure that the tender documents conform to the 'request for tender' conditions.
AusAID response to non-conforming bids
To ensure fair, open and competitive tendering processes, AusAID may take the following action if tenders do not conform to the 'request for tender requirements', including:
- additional technical material in, for example, covering letters or page dividers will be removed by AusAID
- where key elements such as technical proposals, curriculum vitae and project data sheets exceed specifications, AusAID will request the bidder to nominate which page(s) are to be removed by AusAID to ensure the tender conforms
- where other breaches occur, such as the use of an incorrect font size, AusAID will return the documentation to the tenderer to correct the breach(es). Tenderers will only be permitted to correct the breach(es) as advised by AusAID and no other changes to documents will be accepted. In the case of the use of an incorrect (smaller) font, correction could result in the document exceeding the page limit specified. In such cases, and following receipt of the corrected document by AusAID, AusAID would subsequently request the tenderer to nominate which page(s) are to be removed as outlined above.
Working as an individual in the aid program
If you are seeking full-time employment in AusAID see
working for AusAID on this website.
To work in the field on a project you should familiarise yourself with AusAID's contractors and then provide them with details of the skills you can offer.
Note that potential team leaders or individuals with special expertise may be approached by more than one bidder. Individuals in this situation can choose whether or not to link themselves exclusively to one bidder. An individual consultant can be included in more than one bid. It is up to the consultant to negotiate his/her preference with the bidder.
If you'd like to work as a volunteer then you should contact a non-government organisation (NGO). You can find out more about
NGOs from the
Australian Council for International Development (
Hints for new players [PDF 25KB]