Peter Riches will present the pre-conference workshop on Tendering for Government Work.

A man in a light suit looks at the camera.
Peter Riches. Image supplied.

Peter is Director and Principal Consultant of Red Pony, a technical writing and editing firm. He has previously worked as a specialist tender writer for the global IT firm, Infosys.

Since establishing Red Pony, Peter has successfully tendered for work with numerous state and federal government agencies, as well as assisting clients win contracts worth millions of dollars.

What will participants gain from attending your workshop?

The purpose of the workshop is to demystify the tender process and go through what it takes to put together a compelling response step-by-step. I’ve worked on over a hundred tenders for clients so I’ve seen how daunting it can be for someone who hasn’t been through it before. Most requests for tenders (or RFTs), and particularly those from government agencies, follow a standard format. Also, in my experience, editors are generally pretty good at reading instructions and writing a coherent response to a question, so they have a distinct advantage when it comes to the tendering process. 

What are the pressing issues relating to your workshop topic?

The first thing I intend to talk about is how to qualify an opportunity, that is, how to decide whether they have a reasonable chance of success to justify the work involved in producing a tender. Compliance is a key factor in any government tender, being able to demonstrate that you can meet all of the requirements and not just some. Then there is how you sell yourself, because at the end of the day a tender is a sales document. That’s probably the part that everyone finds the most difficult — being able to step outside your business and explaining what you do and what value you can add.

What part of your course are you most excited about sharing with participants.

I’m really looking forward to helping participants reflect on what they already do well, and how they can frame this for someone who doesn’t know anything about the editing process. I’m hoping people will be able to look at their work differently, and express exactly what is unique about their business.

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?

I have a seven-year-old daughter who keeps me to a fairly strict routine and ensures the local ice-cream shop is profitable. I have a couple of resophonic guitars (like the one on the Dire Straits Brothers in arms album cover) that I play when I can. In winter I follow the fortunes of the Geelong Football Club, and in summer I like to have the cricket on ABC radio, hopefully somewhere not too far from a beach.

What are you reading at the moment?

As usual, I have a number of books on the go at once. At the moment on my bedside table is The Best American Noir of the Century (edited by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler), Norwood: it Changed the Face of Melbourne (a local history by my dad’s cousin) and The English Patient (because I’ve never read it and I feel that I probably should).