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North West Network Learning and Skills Council Procurement Round 2008/09 Application Process Briefing John Hacking Angeliki Stogia. About today. This event is to: Outline the LSC ESF funded activity in this tendering round Provide a brief overview of the Invitations to Tender (ITT’s)

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North West NetworkLearning and Skills Council Procurement Round 2008/09Application Process Briefing John Hacking Angeliki Stogia

about today
About today

This event is to:

  • Outline the LSC ESF funded activity in this tendering round
  • Provide a brief overview of the Invitations to Tender (ITT’s)
  • Provide guidance on filling in the application form

It also gives you as potential applicants, the opportunity to ask questions on the procurement process

about north west network

North West Network represents the interests of Third Sector (voluntary and community) organisations in the region in relation to European funding at regional, national and European levelsOur aim is to increase the take up of European funding by the Third Sector in the North West region of EnglandWe also aim to promote and assist the Third Sector to network and develop partnerships at local, regional, national and European levels

About North West Network

the context
The context

LSC approach to Commissioning aims to address national priorities:

  • Delivering better Skills, better Jobs and better Lives
    • European Union’s Lisbon Agenda.
  • Integrating Employment and Skills
    • Leitch review examines the UK’s long term skill needs, with the aim to increase skill attainments at all levels by 2020.
  • NW Skills for Jobs Framework
    • Maps and links existing skills and employment provision. Additional provision commissioned to fill gaps and support smoother, continuous skills development for workless adults from pre-employment training through to continued up-skilling in the workplace.
esf programme 2007 13
ESF Programme 2007-13

Regional Competitiveness and Employment

  • Priority 1 (62%) - Extending employment opportunities for unemployed and inactive peopleLinking with LSC programmes such as Entry to Employment and Foundation Learning Tiers, and Skills for Jobs, including enhancing Skills for Life and specifically targeted activity such as our Offender Learning and Skills Service
  • Priority 2 (34%) Developing a skilled and adaptable workforceLinking with the Train to Gain programme and Apprenticeships, enhancing basic skills, Level 2, Level 3, and some Level 4+ where appropriate
north west challenges
North West Challenges

Priority 1

  • Reduced ESF funding results in a very targeted approach to the ESF programme
  • Major challenges in the North West in relation to workless and economic activity rates - 80,000 additional workers to achieve UK norms
  • NEET is persistent and challenging

Priority 2

  • Alignment of ESF to other mainstream investment in skills
  • Focus on priority sectors
lsc co financing
LSC Co-Financing
  • Co-financing means combining both the ESF money with the required match funding to providers into a single funding stream
  • LSC and DWP/JCP Co-financers in the North West
  • Co-Finance Plan outlines the activity to be funded and spending allocations, also project selection and tendering arrangements
    • The NW LSC Co-financing plan can be found:
      • Or at North West Network’s website
  • A two stage approach:
        • Stage 1 – PQQ
        • Stage 2 - Invitations to Tender
      • Stage 2 now underway
      • All funding including match will be subjected to Open and Competitive Tendering for ESF provision.
        • There will be some commissioning for mainstream LSC funding.
the lsc approach
The LSC Approach
  • Overall Northwest LSC ESF Plan for 2008-2010 £130m
  • Majority of funding was procured in autumn 2007
  • Multi annual contracts from August 2008 to 31 December 2010
  • 16 ESF ITTs classified as ‘ADULTS’, ‘YOUNG PEOPLE’, ‘EMPLOYER’ and ‘OTHER’
  • Focus on target groups and results not on prescribed activities allowing for innovation
  • ESF Round: launch 28 March – Closing Date 2 May 2008
the itts
The ITTs


  • Young People
  • Adults
  • Employer
  • Other / Community Grants

Mainstream LSC Tenders

    • Train to Gain
    • Apprenticeships
    • E2E
    • ESP
the itts1
The ITTs
  • Young People
priority 1 young people
Priority 1 – Young People

Greater Manchester – Prevention of NEET in Salford

  • ITTs are based on the sub-regions, the LSC is seeking alignment with 14-19 strategies and plans and to add value to current activity
  • LSC is looking for provision in Salford
  • Activity targeted at pre 16, Key stage 4 reengagement and transition for those who are at serious risk of becoming NEET
  • Outputs: 78 participants who are disengaged/at risk of disengaging from learning, 47 participants to reengage or prevented from disengaging
  • Overall funding for this tender is £150,000
the itts2
The ITTs
  • Adults
priority 1 adults
Priority 1 – Adults

The Sustainable Employment Programme

Local Employment Partnerships (LEP): a new way of giving 250,000 of Jobcentre Plus overlooked and priority customers the opportunity to acquire the skills needed to get into work and develop skills to stay and progress into work.

  • The LSC procures pre-employment training where the training need arises from a LEP
  • In addition to the pre-employment training the LSC wishes to link this training to post-employment training funded by Train to Gain
  • Together these elements configure the Sustainable Employment Programme
priority 1 adults1
Priority 1 – Adults

The Sustainable Employment Programme

This requires that providers will also either hold a Train to Gain contract:

  • Directly with the LSC,
  • As a sub-contractor, or will
  • Operate in partnership with a provider holding a Train to Gain contract.
priority 1 adults2
Priority 1 – Adults

The Sustainable Employment Programme

The SEP must be a bespoke programme of pre and post-employment training which may incorporate or link with some or all components of existing LSC provision such as:

  • The employability skills programme
  • Skills for Jobs
  • ESF funded activity including pre employability and pre Train to Gain
  • Employer responsive provision i.e. Sector employability toolkits, Train to Gain and Apprenticeships.
priority 1 adults3
Priority 1 – Adults

The Sustainable Employment Programme

  • Outputs: individuals engaged in pre-employment training
  • Results:
    • Entry to job with training
    • Sustained employment at 13 weeks
  • Overall funding for tenders
    • Cheshire and Warrington £421,002
    • Cumbria £214,194
    • Greater Manchester £2,106,599
    • Lancashire £832,008
the itts3
The ITTs
  • Employer
priority 2 employers
Priority 2 – Employers
  • The objective is to increase the skills of the workforce and ultimately to increase productivity
  • A third of employees in the NW do not hold a Level 2 or equivalent and there are significant Skills for Life needs in the region especially numeracy
  • NW employers on average demonstrate a lower propensity to invest in training than employers in other regions
  • ITTs focus on building capacity, workforce skills and Merseyside-specific provision
aim of skills pledge plus
Aim of Skills Pledge Plus

Northwest including Halton – Skills Pledge Plus

Activity funded is intended to stimulate and address demand for workforce development amongst employers across the region through commitment to the Skills Pledge.

The funds will be used to incentivise employers to sign the Skills Pledge by providing funded additional learning and skills provision not accessible through other routes eg Train to Gain

  • Results: 1,000 employers completing Stage 4 of the Skills Pledge
allocations for skills pledge plus
Allocations for Skills Pledge Plus

A total of £1,350,000 is available over 3 years

Sub-regional split

  • Cheshire and Warrington - £236,250
  • Cumbria - £121,500
  • Greater Manchester - £621,000
  • Lancashire - £358,425
  • Halton - £12,825
priority 2 employers1
Priority 2 – Employers

Northwest including Merseyside – NVQ Level 4

  • Activity aims to support employers in the Northwest to develop their workforce and to raise regional skills levels
  • Delivery of the full NVQ Level 4 qualification, primarily for employees who do not already hold an NVQ Level 4 or equivalent, but who hold a full NVQ Level 3. Employees without a Level 3 but for whom a Level 4 is appropriate should be supported as ‘level 4 jumpers’ through mainstream Train to Gain.
  • This can be delivered across all sectors but LSC will prioritise funding for qualifications in regional priority sectors contained in the ITT.
priority 2 employers2
Priority 2 – Employers

Northwest including Merseyside – NVQ Level 4


North West including Halton

  • 880 starts on NVQ Level 4
  • Initial assessments including identification if SfL needs
  • Production of individual learning plans reflecting outcome of information, advice and guidance


  • 572 of learners achieving and NVQ Level 4
priority 2 employers3
Priority 2 – Employers

Northwest including Merseyside – NVQ Level 4

Sub-regional split

A total of £1,555,000 for the Northwest including Halton

  • Cheshire and Warrington - £272,477
  • Cumbria - £141,338
  • Greater Manchester - £708,349
  • Lancashire - £403,087
  • Halton - £30,000
priority 2 employers4
Priority 2 – Employers

Northwest including Merseyside – Vocationally Relevant Second NVQ Level 2

  • Activity aims to support employers in the Northwest to develop their workforce
  • Delivery of vocationally relevant second NVQ Level 2 qualification, at a subsidised cost to the employer.
  • This can be delivered in any sector where there is demand, subject to the employer committing to provision of first NVQ Level 2 for eligible employees.
priority 2 employers5
Priority 2 – Employers

Northwest including Merseyside – Vocationally Relevant Second NVQ Level 2

Outputs: North West including Halton

  • 6200 starts on NVW Level 2 including NVW Level 3 ‘jumpers’
  • Initial assessments including identification if SfL needs
  • Production of individual learning plans reflecting outcome of information, advice and guidance

Results: North West including Halton

  • 4,340 of learners achieving NVW Level 2 or NVQ Level 3 for L3 ‘jumpers’
  • Progression to NVQ Level 3 where this is appropriate for the learner
priority 2 employers6
Priority 2 – Employers

Northwest including Merseyside – Vocationally Relevant Second NVQ Level 2

A total of £6,044,404 for the Northwest including Halton

Indicative allocations:

  • Cheshire and Warrington - £936,883
  • Cumbria - £604,440
  • Greater Manchester - £2,780,426
  • Lancashire - £1,571,545
  • Halton - £151,110
the itts4
The ITTs
  • Other/ Community Grants

Other/ Community Grants

Lancashire Community Grants co-ordinating body

  • The LSC will manage Community Grants in the Northwest (excluding the Merseyside ‘phasing in’) area
  • Seeking a grants administrator for Lancashire
  • Total of £442,397 available in 2008-2010
  • To issue small community based organisations who would not normally access ESF – maximum grant £12k
other community grants
Other/ Community Grants

Cumbria – Skills for Jobs for Offenders

  • Activity aims to support offenders in order to gain sustainable work following the Skills for Jobs routways.
  • Strategic aims to support the delivery of an integrated employment and skills system known as ‘Skills for Jobs for Offenders’.
  • Supporting offenders who reside in Cumbria and serve sentence entirely in the community or will return to Cumbria once their sentence has been completed.
other community grants1
Other/ Community Grants

Cumbria – Skills for Jobs for Offenders


  • 94 offenders supported,
  • 65 progressions from Skills for Jobs Stage 3 to Stage 4


  • 28 offenders entering employment with training,
  • 23 continuing in employment with training after 13 weeks
  • 19 offenders in employment after 6 months
  • 42 economically inactive participants engaged in job search activity or further learning.

Funding available:

  • £138,762
the itts5
The ITTs
  • Mainstream Provision
    • Apprenticeships
    • Train to Gain
    • E2E
    • ESP

Apprenticeships develop employee skills through a blend of on the job training, classroom learning and workplace experience. For information about each Apprenticeship framework see

The LSC wished to receive offers to provide Apprenticeship education and training to learners and will fund the knowledge-based (depending on the framework) competence-based and key skills elements of Apprenticeships.


Response to National ITT

To respond you must complete the National Questionnaire available with this ITT on BRAVO under the reference ITT_28197. The completed questionnaire must be uploaded as an attachment to the national Apprenticeship ITT.


Response to Regional ITT

To respond you must complete the Regional Questionnaire and the Regional Proposed Provision Spreadsheet which can be found on BRAVO under the reference ITT_28206.

Each of your responses must be uploaded as attachments to the Technical Envelope of the regional ITT to where it apples. Completed questionnaire must be uploaded as an attachment to the national Apprenticeship ITT.

  • Funding available: up to £10,350,000 (inclusive of additional learning support funds) This includes a minimum commitment of £350,000 to support Programme-Led Apprenticeships for Adults (25+) in Regional Economic strategy priority sectors.
train to gain ttg
Train to Gain (TtG)

TtG aims to help employers in England of all sizes and in all sectors to improve the skills of their employers in order to improve their business performance.

TtG funding is available for education and training where the employer’s skills needs match defined national and regional skills priorities.

The programme provides a publicly-funded contribution to employee education and training to allow employees to achieve ‘Skills for Life’, a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at Level 2 or 3.

For more information see

train to gain ttg1
Train to Gain (TtG)

Commissioning route: Commissioning and OCT run parallel, so any existing TtG provider wishing to expand delivery significantly (above 20% starts and outcomes) needs to respond to the ITT.

Providers delivering Apprenticeships may also seek to negotiate TtG provision through the planning route but the LSC might not be able to meet providers aspirations in terms of TtG volumes.

Through OCT contracts are available for 3 years, through commissioning only for one year in duration.

Given the above, Work based Learning providers are advised to respond to the tender.

train to gain ttg2
Train to Gain (TtG)

Response to National ITT

In the NW £47m is available for 2008/09 to existing providers through negotiation, with £100m additional funds available for 2008/2009 – 2010-11 through competitive tendering.

For information on current rates visit

To respond to the ITT

  • Complete the National Questionnaire available with this ITT on BRAVO under the reference itt_28100
train to gain ttg3
Train to Gain (TtG)

Response to Regional ITT

A total of £100,000,000 is available across all strands (SfL, NVQ2, NVQ3) over a 3 year period.

To respond to the ITT

  • Complete the Regional questionnaire and the Regional Proposed Provision Spreadsheet which can be found at BRAVO under itt_28092
  • Each of the responses must be uploaded as attachment to the Technical Envelope of the Regional ITT to which it applies.
entry to employment e2e
Entry to Employment (e2e)

e2e aims to assist young people who are not yet ready to access apprenticeship, FE or employment through a personalised programme of tailored support to engage in Post 16 learning opportunities.

The main target group being those not in education, employment or training (NEET).

All e2e learners must be able to access:

  • Basic & Key skills appropriate to their need
  • Vocational development
  • Personal & social Development
  • For further guidance:
entry to employment e2e1
Entry to Employment (e2e)

There is a National e2e tender and the Northwest has five ITTs for e2e one per local LSC area. Each local area annex will further detail sub-are requirements.

  • Total funding £37 million per year for 3 years.
  • Start date 1 August 2008 end date 31 July 2011
  • Deadline for responses: 28 May 2008 at 16.00
location of itts
Location of ITTs
  • ESF ITTs can be found at the LSC website:

  • ITTs can be accessed through the BRAVO portal To view the tenders you need to have a PQQ, log in to the portal and:
    • Click on My ITTs
    • Choose the heading of the ITT you would like to respond to
    • Click on the ITT NUMBER
    • Click on settings, buyer attachments and messages – right hand side
    • Click on buyer attachments
location of itts1
Location of ITTs

To view a tender

  • Attachments include:
    • Read me first
    • Education and Training contract for services
    • Specifications for each project in the ITT (tenders)
      • Questionnaire document and spreadsheet for each project in the ITT (application forms)
    • Jargon Buster
    • Kite marks
how to respond to a tender
How to respond to a tender

To respond to a tender:

  • You can ‘reply’ or ‘reject’ the ITT (give reason for rejecting)
  • Click on the ‘Reply’ link to complete your ITT response
  • Complete the online questionnaires in the Technical and Commercial Response screens
  • In the Technical Response screen, attach a completed questionnaire document and spreadsheet for each project in the ITT that you are bidding for
    • Further instructions are included in the ‘Read me first’ document in the ITT
messaging service
Messaging service

To view messages:

  • Click on the number of the ITT you wish to respond to
  • On the left hand side click on the ‘Settings, Buyer Attachments & Messages’ tab.
  • Click on messages. 

To send a message (regarding ITT content):

  • On the same screen, click in the created message link, underneath the list of messages.

To send a message (regarding BRAVO portal/techcnial difficulties):

  • Email BRAVO solutions directly on
questionnaires tender application forms
Questionnaires (tender/application forms)
  • The questionnaires are not the same for each activity field. There are small variations between them (refer to the scoring table in your packs).
  • As you complete the forms make sure formatting is not altered as they might get rejected by the system.
  • There is a maximum character limit for each section and sub-section. Failure to comply could affect the way in which your tender is marked.
questionnaires tender application forms1
Questionnaires (tender/application forms)
  • The questionnaires (word and excel documents) have 7 sections altogether, some with more than one sub-sections.
  • Different marks have been allocated between the sections, some have higher mark allocation and minimum thresholds and some are more crucial than the others.
  • There is a minimum quality threshold for some sub-sections under Section 1. Please note that any tenders that fail to meet the minimum quality threshold for any of the sub-sections of Section 1 will not continue to be scored by the assessment panel.
questionnaire sections
Questionnaire Sections
  • Section 1 – Activity Arrangements and Delivery Arrangements
  • Section 2 – Management Arrangements
  • Section 3 – Added Value and Value for Money
  • Section 4 – Track Record
  • Section 5 - Cross Cutting Themes and Exit Strategy
  • Section 6* – Output and Outcome Profile
  • Section 7* – Funding Cost

* These sections are found on the separate excel spreadsheet

questionnaire sections1
Questionnaire Sections

* These sub-sections do not appear in every questionnaire and scores vary too

questionnaire sections3
Questionnaire Sections

* These sub-sections vary from questionnaire to questionnaire and scores vary too

tendering process
Tendering Process
  • Basic Checks – Technical/Commercial Parameters
  • Evaluation
  • Contract Award Panel
  • Debrief
  • Appeals Procedure
contact details
Contact details
  • FAQ uploaded at LSC’s website and updated on Tuesday and Thursday every week:
  • For questions regarding content of tenders: use BRAVO messaging system
  • If you require any assistance use the online messaging service, or the BravoSolution help desk is available Mon – Fri (8am – 6pm) on: email:

Phone: 0800 011 2470 / Fax: 020 7080 0480

why do tenders fail
Why do tenders fail?
  • First stage checks (submission past deadline, incomplete sections, sections missing, incorrect forms etc)
  • There is not enough money for all tenderers
  • The question asked is not the question which is being answered
  • Project does not match the specification
  • Statements made by the tender writer are not backed/justified by evidence
tender writers assumptions
Tender writers assumptions

Tenderer makes assumptions:

  • What is written is needed
  • What is written is appropriate to what is being asked for
  • What is written is obvious to the appraiser
  • The appraiser has prior detailed knowledge of the project/organisation/activity
the reality what will appraisers be looking for
The reality: what will appraisers be looking for
  • Does the evidence provided and research undertaken indicate that this project is needed?
  • Will the activity proposed by the project address the need?
  • Is project activity suited to the target group?
  • Will the project complement other activities in the same area?
  • Does the project represent value for money?
  • Is there a better option?
  • Does the track record of the organisation reflect this assessment?
examples from poor bids
Examples from poor bids
  • We will deliver a customised programme that is tailored to the needs of the individual as a result of in-depth initial assessment.
  • A wide range of training programmes will be offered.
  • Previous courses have been well attended.
  • A network of links already exists.
  • A variety of organisations will be approached.
  • The Steering Group will meet regularly to evaluate the success of the project.
  • The project will be closely monitored by the Area Manager.
  • This project is closely aligned to the Tender Specification.
what impression does that project give
What impression does that project give?
  • The project has not been thought through
  • They are trying to squeeze a project into the tender specification
  • They don’t have the capability to deliver
hints and tips
Hints and Tips
  • Do not make assumptions
  • Avoid jargon – assume the reader knows nothing
  • Answer the question that is asked
  • Read the guidance
  • Answer all the questions as fully as you can
  • Ensure your project matches the specification
  • Do not write something you can not deliver
  • Quote your track record relevantly