TENDERING INSTRUCTIONS FOR BIDDERS CONTENTS 1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 CITY STRATEGY FRAMEWORK 1.2 DEPRIVED AREA FUNDING 2.0 TENDER INFORMATION 2.1 GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF LSC PROCUREMENT 2.2 TENDER TIMETABLE 3.0 TENDER SUBMISSION 3.1 TENDER SUBMISSION ROUTES 3.2 APPRAISAL PROCESS 3.4 CONTRACT CLARIFICATION 4.0 CONTRACT PROCESS 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 CITY STRATEGY The objectives of City Strategy are to: Increase skills levels to ensure that the workforce has the skills to compete in the global economy by delivering an employer led skills for growth agenda. Improve participation and progression across the City Region to allow individuals to progress into and sustain employment with vocational training support. Tackle worklessness by enabling employers to understand the benefits of our diverse population and to gain commitment to increasing recruitment from disadvantaged areas and groups. Remove barriers to employment to assist the economically inactive into work by strengthening partnership working and taking a joint approach These objectives sit within the wider Government Agenda that places skills at the centre of economic development as highlighted in: Lord Leitch’s recommendations on integrating skills and employment and raising the skills level of individuals The Government Green Paper ‘In work, better off’ To take forward these objectives the West Midlands formed a consortium comprising of representatives from Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Telford, Walsall and Wolverhampton Local Authorities, Job Centre Plus and Learning and Skills Council. All have been working together for the past 12 months to prepare a City Strategy Pathway Business Plan. The business plan received final approval from the Department for Work and Pensions on the 7thJune 2007. As part of the plan the following three main targets, to be achieved by March 2009 have been agreed: Within the 55 identified disadvantaged wards: Reduce the main workless benefit claimants by 8,514 20,677 increase in individuals from priority wards enrolling for a first level 2 8,532 increase in individuals from priority wards enrolling for a skills for life qualification 1.1 DEPRIVED AREA FUNDING The approval of the business plan released £10m Deprived Area Fund for the period July 2007 to March 2009 to assist with the achievement of the targets in the specified target wards. To find out more background information about City Strategy Pathfinder please refers to the website www.lsc.gov.uk for the following documents: City Strategy Business Plan LEITCH Implementation Plan In work, Better off – Green Paper The City Strategy Pathfinder business plan focuses on an integrated employment and skills model aimed at moving workless people from the 55 most deprived wards into sustainable employment through links with employers. This first phase of commissioning seeks to procure in the region of £10m of new activity. Please note that tendered activity should seek to link/add value to, but not duplicate any existing initiatives that may already be funded or available through other sources of funding. Details of Neighbourhood Employment and Skills Plans (NESPs) contacts can be found at the bottom of these instructions. They will be able to provide descriptions of ward priorities in each Local Authority Area. 2. TENDER INFORMATION 2.1 GENERAL PRINCIPLES Existing Projects Projects currently receiving funding will not automatically be funded again, but neither will they be excluded from consideration against the appropriate Tender Specification. However, as City Strategy, is selecting an integrated approach to employment and Skills and is not purchasing pre-determined projects, applicants will have to demonstrate that they have made significant changes to the existing projects in order for it to meet the criteria. Sub contracting Whilst there are no restrictions under this funding stream on sub contracting, the LSC feels that it should, in the interest of value of money, and to ensure as much money as possible is spent assisting the end user that sub contracting will only be allowed at one level. However it is recognized that one provider is likely to be able to deliver all the activity achieved in the Tender Specification. ‘in house’, therefore, partnerships are not strictly considered as sub contracting. However there will still be a need for a contracted accountable partner. Applicants must demonstrate that appropriate sub contracting is not taking place. Value for Money The LSC is charged with ensuring value for money. We will not support or enhance any activities that are in receipt of funding from elsewhere for that activity, nor will we allow for the displacement of core funding where an activity that falls under the remit of another funding body. Management costs must be realistic and reflect the delivery of the activity. We will take into account sources of public funding supporting specific geographical areas. As far as possible we will assess to ensure that activity is not being duplicated and there is additional client activity. We do not expect clients to receive funding from two sources for the same activity and therefore, as well as ensuring that activity adds value to the funds now available in the sub region, also take into account activity being supported through sources of public funds. Match Funding All activity supported under this specification will be matched against European Social Funds at a regional level therefore cannot be used by successful applicants as match against any other funding stream. 2.3. DAF TENDER TIMETABLE Tender timescale The following table details the anticipated timescale for the tender process. OUTPUT DATE Invitation To Tender document 7th September 2007 dispatched to suppliers Supplier question period 7th September 2007 to12th October 2007 by 5:00pm Return of tenders 15th October 2007 by 12:00 pm Tender Opening 16th to 19th October 2007 Appraisal and Moderation of Tenders W/C 22nd October 2007 Contract Award Panel W/C 12th November 2007 Contract Clarification W/C 26th November 2007 Contract Award W/C 10th December 2007 Anticipated start date January 2008 We will respond to queries up to 48 hours before the closing date for the completion of the on-line documents. A response is not guaranteed after this time. We encourage organisations to complete the on-line documentation as soon as possible and not to leave it to the last minute. The closing date for on-line submissions is 12.00 on October 15th 2007. Organisations should assume that this timetable is fixed and cannot be changed in any respect. They should therefore satisfy themselves that they can meet the relevant deadlines. However, the Council reserves the right to vary the timetable should circumstances dictate. 3. TENDER SUBMISSION If your organisation is interested in applying to deliver activity against tender specifications you can apply in one of two ways: 3.1 TENDER SUBMISSION ROUTES Invitation to Tender – Deprived Area Fund Thank you for your interest in working with The West Midland City Strategy Pathfinder Partnership (CSP Partnership). The CSP Partnership has asked The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in the West Midlands region to contact with organisations who wish to deliver Deprived Area Funded provision. Due to the nature of the funding the provision is only for residents in the 55 most deprived wards in the West Midlands. Full details of delivery requirements including anticipated volumes are contained within the DAF Programme specifications. These Documents together with all the documents making up the Invitation to Tender can be found on the LSC e-tendering website, www. lsc.bravosolution.com This West Midlands LSC only tendering opportunity is a single stage tender which comprises of: Part A – Questions about your organisation, including health and safety, financial viability and equal opportunities. Part B – How your organisation plans to deliver the activities described in the specification and at what cost. Applications All organisations wishing to tender must register on www.ukrlp.co.uk This is a requirement of the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills ROUTE 1 (BRAVO) All those providers who have previously successfully completed Pre- Qualification Questionnaires on the Bravo system for LSC will not have to complete Part A, but they must complete Part B on the Bravo system. As electronic tendering through Bravo Solutions is the only tendering approach the LSC will use, in future all applicants are strongly advised to complete this tender through Bravo. Technical support relating to Bravo system is offered by a Bravo technical Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org Other support from West Midlands staff comes through the Bravo Messaging Service. If your organisation registers on Bravo your whole application must be submitted on Bravo. ROUTE 2 (NON BRAVO) If after reading the information about Bravo e-tendering attached to this site you feel that your organisation could not manage to complete an e-tender then do not register on Bravo. The following link will take you to the tender page where the DAF tender is situated. Ensure that all attachments are downloaded & completed. Any questions in relation to this tender can be emailed to email@example.com . The tender timetable is exactly the same as outlined above for submissions of questions & for final submissions of bids. Ensure you deliver the intended bid by enclosing an electronic copy (on CD) using the address label attached. 3.2 APPRAISAL PROCESS Assessment Framework All applications will be appraised independently by either LSC or Jobcentre Plus staff. Tenders will be appraised on how well they have responded to the requests for information as set out in the questions and have addressed the requirements set out in the relevant specifications. Scoring Framework Where questions are to be appraised they will receive a score from 0 to 6 dependant on how well the question is answered. Half marks will not be awarded. Against some questions there will be a weighting applied to reflect the importance of each individual section. The sections to be weighed will include: Where based/outreach Knowledge/ experience of the local areas Financial information 3.3 NOTIFICATION OF DECISIONS Appeals The LSC does not operate an appeals process. In order to do so a proportion of the funds would have to be held back pending the outcome of the appeal, which would delay a substantial part of the programme. The LSC does, however, operate a complaints procedure. Please note that any ‘lobbying’ of individuals involved in the appraisal and selection process will not be accepted and will result in automatic disqualification of an applicant’s application. 3.4 CONTRACT CLARIFICATION After the tendering and appraisal process has been completed, the LSC will approve successful applications ‘in principle’ subject to contract clarifications. All providers are allocated a Contract Manager, who together with the Regional Contract Team, will work with the provider to develop a detailed definition of the project (delivery plan), based on the Application Form submitted. Contract negotiations are undertaken with providers in order to improve the understanding and definition of the project to be delivered and the processed used to manage the contracts. In some cases we may require changes. For example: We may encourage collaboration between applicants proposing similar activities in similar locations Propose changes in the scale of the proposal to deliver the outcomes demanded Reduce funding if demand exceeds supply. We expect that all providers will use their best endeavours to reach a formal agreement, however, if we are unable to reach an agreement quickly the LSC reserve the right to withdraw from discussions. 4.0 CONTRACT PROCESS Contract Once the delivery plan has been agreed, the applicant will receive two copies of the LSC contract for signature, both of which must be signed and returned to the LSC before funding can commence, one copy will be returned to the provider, once they have both been signed by the LSC. Please note that contracts need to be signed and returned to the LSC by the 10th working day in the month to enable us to start contract payments in that month. Applicants will be able to seek clarification of clauses with their contract manager if necessary. However applicants should note that no changes can be made to the standard clauses contained in the contract. You can see the clauses in the three types of contract (Education and Services for other public bodies) on www.lsc.gov.uk/hw. Provider Induction Once the contracts have been signed we will arrange for a Provider Induction. This will either be as a presentation or a meeting at the provider’s premises with all of the relevant partners and staff. The induction gives Local LSC’s the opportunity to outline the main activities involved in running an LSC contract and gives the provider’s staff an opportunity to ask any questions and meet the LSC staff that they will be working with. Learner Data Submission All providers are expected to have an adequate ICT infrastructure in place to manage the administration of the project as well as logging of learner induction, action planning, support, progression and achievement. Providers should take into account when costing their projects that they will needs to use the Short Record to evidence impact of activity of IT-based Management Information Systems. Learner and delivery data will need to be collated and input directly by the provider using LSC online data collection routes, Provider Online. Provider Online Provider Online Data Capture is intended for small – medium sized providers. The system is a secured password protected only web site into which individual SR information is manually entered. The portal is connected to the national learner data database. No additional software is required. The minimum recommended system specifically for Provider Online users is: Internet Explorer version 6 or higher Windows 2000 or higher Broadband Internet access (fast internet access) Pentium II PC or better The submission of this information within a prescribed programme electronic data system is a contractual requirement. Evidence to support statistical data submitted by providers needs to be retained. Their relevant local LSC will inform successful providers as to the exact data requirements and procedures. In addition to the online data, providers will be required to submit information to the successful provider who will have responsibility for the City Strategy Pathfinder Tracking System. Audit Your outputs and the type of evidence that you will need to provide will be agreed before a funding contract is signed. During the course of the contract you will be visited by your Contract Manager, who will monitor your progress, offer support and generally ensure that you are complying with the contract. The LSC’s Provider Financial Assurance Team (PFA) will cover an assessment of the evidence that you will have collected to support the outputs you are claiming. They will: Examine the evidence that you have collected to support your outputs Assess how well you are controlling the sue of LSC funds and whether you are complying with DWP rules and Determine of the LSC needs to recover unspent or unsupported funding from you. Providers will be expected to establish and/or maintain sound systems of internal controls to manage the provision. Each funded project will be subject to at least one audit visit each year. PFA will require access to all the records that support your activities. You will be required to present your evidence on what you have achieved in a way that minimises their work and yours and allows them to easily ensure its completeness and accuracy. PFA staff will contact you well before they arrive to explain this process. Evaluation Projects are required through their contract to have an evaluation built into their delivery plans and to produce an interim report and a final evaluation. However in addition to your own evaluation organisations will be expected to contribute to the overall evaluation of the City Strategy Pathfinder. The City Strategy Pathfinder consortium will be commissioning evaluation based on a framework produced by DWP. Projects will be expected to co-operate with the organisation appointed to take forward this work. External Inspection All formal reviews conducted by the LSC may be supplemented by four yearly inspections by the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI). The LSC will support organisations in preparing for inspection should the Inspectorate select you for a visit, advance notice will be given. 5.0 FURTHER INFORMATION Freedom of Information The Council is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Under the provision of the FOIA the Council is required to provide information it holds in response to a request made in accordance with the FOIA. This includes information about third parties. Organisations are referred to the Guidance to Tenderers and Learning and Skills Council’s Policy for Access to Information (Annex A) Conditions of Contract. Contract The Council’s Terms and Conditions of Contract for the delivery of Education and Training are included in the tender documentation. Tendering organisations will be required to indicate their acceptance of these Contract Conditions as part of their tender submission.