Online only, so far

Quality Management System? Eh?

SOME local authorities put their media and PR work out to tender - often via an outsourced operation. In some cases, local authorities or their media contractors require journalists taking on such work to complete a very general tender - in at least one case it seems as if the tender was originally designed for large organisations, not sole trader freelances.

The NUJ's Freelance Office has come across a tender document for work on behalf of a local authority that demands the freelance detail the following: quality management and assurance system; environmental management system; business continuity plan; and complaints procedures. The freelance in question tried to explain that such organisational procedures aren't built into their sole trader small business model. But this point was rejected, with the reply that the tender document had been "adjusted" for small businesses.

If you have any experience as a freelance of dealing with such onerous demands by local authorities for detailed policies and systems such as those above, please let Freelance Organiser David Ayrton know. Any intelligence in this area will help the Freelance Office to advise members what to do in such cases.

One freelance suggests that in response for detail on their "Quality Management and Assurance System", a suitable reply would be to say that you undertake all the work personally, that you have so many years of undertaking such work, that you can provide references for former clients.

In response to "requests" for detail on your Business Continuity Plan, the same freelance suggests telling them that you have a network of expereinced associates - other freelances you know who can take over the job if needed - and offer to provide their contact details.