Analysis Finds Australian Government Procurement Language May Create Waste and Higher Costs

VisibleThread 2017 Study of Australian Government Tender Document Finds Poor Readability Across Key Sections.

SYDNEY, Nov. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- VisibleThread published findings today of an analysis of the Australian Government procurement documents.  The report finds key sections of Commonwealth Tenders have very poor readability.  The report also details typical consequences of poor writing in procurement processes and makes recommendations for improvement.  VisibleThread published the full report on their website.

VisibleThread 2017 Study of Australian Government Tender Document Finds Language May Create Waste and Higher Costs
VisibleThread 2017 Study of Australian Government Tender Document Finds Language May Create Waste and Higher Costs

"Australia is not alone in its struggle to create procurement documents that are clear and easy to read," said Fergal McGovern, CEO of VisibleThread. "But make no mistake, poor readability in Tenders creates unnecessary costs and cause ambiguities and scope creep."

VisibleThread's analysis found almost all sampled to be poorly written. Tender documents used a lot of complex language.  Analysis also found high levels of passive voice and long sentences, both known characteristics of poor readability.

Poorly written documentation creates increased costs in the following ways:

  • Increased administrative costs: confusing tenders cause more requirements questions from bidders and increased clarification traffic and amendments.
  • Lower project success rates: Departments can also miss out on smaller better qualified and more cost-competitive contractors due to poorly worded RFPs. 
  • Increased liability: misguided or confused contractors may make costly mistakes that fall on the taxpayer.  Projects may be delayed or even fail due to poor communication.

"Nobody doubts that Commonwealth tenders are large undertakings and pass through a lot of hands before they're published," added McGovern.  "However, Government is often surprised at the time and resources they preserve when they take meaningful steps to focus on improving readability."

VisibleThread's report analyzes documents randomly selected from www.tenders.gov.au issued in 2017.  The analysis specifically focuses on clarity of sections that explain the desired response to prospective bidders.  Specific Tenders performed better than others in the analysis.  Detail on the readability of specific sections and recommendations for improving writing are found in the report.

About VisibleThread

VisibleThread helps large organizations govern content quality and embed plain language throughout their communication channels. Our software helps staff and stakeholders better understand and be more effective in their roles.

VisibleThread uses Natural language processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)  to process hundreds of documents and web pages in minutes for clarity. This helps improve communications and reduces costs across large organisations.   For more information, visit www.visiblethread.com