TENDERING_INSTRUCTIONS_FOR_BIDDERS

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					            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 help@bravosolution.co.uk
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
procurementmidlands@lsc.gov.uk . 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.

				
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