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

Evelyn Wolf
2 min read
plain language - clarity index

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

SYDNEY, Nov. 17, 2017 – 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.

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 this website 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’s solutions help organizations test & audit their written content for risk and content quality, with dramatically less cost. Customers include; Northrop Grumman, Intel, Accenture and Fannie Mae. Our software instantly finds brand compliance, poor readability and language risk issues within documents and entire websites. Customers produce better quality, more engaging content. Unlike consumer-grade analysis tools, VisibleThread processes hundreds of documents and web pages in minutes. Marketing, Sales and Risk/Contracts Teams in leading global organizations use VisibleThread.

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