A drawn graphic of a person thinking thoughts and categorising them by numbers. There are thought conversation bubbles all around the person' head. The colours in the image are shades of pink, and their reflective process looks very calm.

Unlocking Effective Evaluation Criteria Writing: Insights from a Brilliant Training Session on Effective Evaluation Criteria

A blog from Cydrannu attendee, Angharad Simmonds, Senior Category Manager within the Procurement Commercial team at Welsh Government.

Last week, I attended an informative training session led by subject matter experts, Alistair Smith, UK Public Sector Account Manager and Drew Schlosser, Director & VP, Professional Services from Commerce Decisions. The topic – Effective evaluation criteria writing.

As a procurement practitioner, I’ve always recognised the importance of this, but Drew’s insights really made me reflect on my current practice and the practices I’ve seen. In this blog post, I’ll share the key takeaways from that session, focusing on how we can enhance our evaluation criteria to drive better procurement outcomes.

The Great Subject Matter Expert | Drew’s expertise was evident from the introductions. His passion for procurement (a relatively dry topic at times), was obvious, and his ability to share his knowledge with examples that were translatable meant that I walked away feeling inspired to give this sometimes under-considered area more time and attention in the future.

Time: A Scarce Resource | Drew emphasised the need to allocate sufficient time to crafting evaluation criteria and scoring methodologies. Often, in the rush of procurement processes, we treat this step as a formality. However, Drew reminded us that evaluation criteria are the foundation upon which procurement decisions rest. Rushing through them can lead to less effective outcomes.

Scoring the Right Things | Instead of drowning in an ocean of criteria, focus on what truly matters. Consider the following:

  • Relevance: Are we scoring aspects directly linked to our procurement objectives?
  • Differentiation: Avoid sameness. If all suppliers score similarly, our evaluation loses its purpose. Seek meaningful differences.
  • Value-Add: Prioritise criteria that impact the project’s success, cost-effectiveness, and risk mitigation.

The Scoring Methodology Dilemma | Here’s where Drew really challenged our thinking. Traditionally, we’ve relied on standard scoring methodologies — often equally weighted. But is this always the best approach? Drew proposed an alternative: a diminishing return scale. Let’s break it down:

  • 0-40-70-90-100: Instead of linear increments, this scale acknowledges that not all differences are equal. The leap from 40 to 70 may matter more than the jump from 70 to 90. By assigning greater weight to higher scores, we capture nuances.

Something that is so obvious, but when time is limited, this is often overlooked.

The Right Outcome | The right outcome isn’t just about compliance; it’s about strategic alignment. Our evaluation criteria should align with procurement goals, supplier capabilities, and project success. Sometimes, the standard methodology won’t cut it. Be flexible, adapt, and tailor your approach.


Thanks to Drew’s training session, it’s reinforced my current practices, but also inspired me to look at how I can improve my criteria writing into the future. Investing time, focus on relevance, and always consider the scoring methodologies.

I look forward to the next two sessions, ‘Value for Money’ and ‘Improve Objectivity in Qualitative Evaluations’, something that is so important to us in public procurement to ensure we’re getting the right outcomes for Wales!