Invitation to tender
Research project two
Tender for a research project looking at building the higher education
(HE) workforce of the future: through building a broad evidence base of
the type of workforce that will be required to best meet national needs.
The HE workforce can best respond to the challenges of the future from
a position of strength. What type of HE workforce do we need? What can
we learn from other sectors and other countries that strengthens the
All HEFCE publications referred to may be found at www.hefce.ac.uk under Publications
Background to the Council
1. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) was established in
June 1992 under the terms of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 as a non-
departmental public body operating within a policy and funding context set by the
Government. The Council assumed responsibility for funding higher education in England
on 1 April 1993. The Council’s main function is to administer grant provided by the
Secretary of State for Education. The Council funds education, research and the
associated activities at universities and other higher education institutions.
2. The Council’s main office is in North Bristol and there is a small London office in
the Centre Point building. We currently have some 240 permanent staff.
3. The Council now wishes to place a contract for an evaluation of the future needs of
the HE workforce. This will require an analysis of current comparative data, extensive
intelligence gathering (including a literature review where appropriate) and longer-term
4. Some of the key questions we would like contractors to consider in this project are:
What are the conditions required for higher education to perform successfully? How can
HE generate the conditions that enable its workforce to perform successfully? What is it
that we need to better understand in order to predict what the future HE workforce might
look like? With whom should we seek to compare and contrast with - nationally,
internationally or across sectors and organisations? Comparisons and benchmarks with
other organisations - both public and private - would be informative, for example, the
NHS or the banking sector.
5. Does HE need to be more contingent in its thinking? A degree of flexibility is
essential in all successful workforces, in order to best represent and support the
particular context while being able flexible enough to meet broader priorities. For
example, contractors will need to consider the wider strategic priorities and challenges
facing HE (such as the recommendations of the Leitch Report, or the Government’s
employer engagement policy) and the consequent implications for the HE workforce?
How flexible does the HE workforce need to be in order to deal with Government policy
interventions of this nature and frequency, while being sustainable in the longer term?
6. In order to build a picture of the future workforce, contractors will need to consider
the challenges facing HE more widely, and we would welcome the opportunity to develop
thinking on this in partnership. Such challenges might include: income; competition;
internationalisation; pressure on staff; outsourcing; and leadership, for example.
7. Our overall aim is to obtain a ‘picture’ of the current state of readiness and
preparedness of the HE workforce, and projections as to how, and to what extent, the
changes are required to meet the future challenges.
8. We expect the contractor to identify progress achieved – and the impact of this
progress - quantitatively as well as qualitatively. Performance in the sector should be
benchmarked against other sectors in the UK as well as – wherever possible – against
HE systems internationally. We invite contractors to add to this list as appropriate.
9. These questions should not be considered to be exclusive, and contractors are
invited to suggest their own as appropriate. There may, in addition, be a small number of
other issues that subsequently arise and would need to be incorporated into the
specification, but these would be discussed with the successful contractor beforehand.
10. Part of this project will involve interviewing a wide range of staff from across the
sector to build on current research about the HE workforce. A number of visits to HEIs
may be required, and we expect the successful tenderer to demonstrate how this can
best be managed to keep the costs and burden on HEIs as low as manageable.
Background to the Rewarding and Developing Staff in HE initiative
11. Since 2001-02, additional resources of some £888 million have been invested in
HEFCE-funded HEIs to help them to recruit, retain and develop staff, as well as helping
to modernise management processes. This was called the Rewarding and Developing
Staff (R&DS) in HE special funding initiative (HEFCE publications 00/56 and 01/16
provide background to the initiative). This substantial investment was in recognition of the
need to sustain the sector’s world-class reputation in order to meet the challenges of the
future, and that this would depend upon its ability to attract and motivate good quality
12. In 2004, we appointed KPMG to undertake an independent, interim evaluation of
the R&DS in HE initiative, looking at the impact of the first three years of funding 2001-02
to 2003-04. Their report can be found at: www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rdreports/2005/rd14_05/
13. In addition to R&DS, there have been other changes to the human resource
management landscape in higher education since 2001. These include:
a. The Joint Negotiating Committee for HE Staff developed and implemented
the Framework Agreement for the Modernisation of Pay Structures (‘the national
pay framework’), which established a single pay spine for all employees in UK
b. Legislative changes in employment law, and especially in the area of equality
c. Increasingly strategic role of HR management in overall institutional
performance (see Human Resource Management, Leadership and Performance in
Universities in the UK – a research project by David Guest, King’s College, London
on behalf of the LFHE)
d. The modernisation of HR management policies and practices including, for
example, the wide-range adoption of HR strategies as a key part of institutional
e. The ‘war for talent’, globalisation and the changing academic career.
14. The results should be presented as a written report, which will be published on the
HEFCE web-site. This should follow HEFCE house style for written documents (guidance
will be provided).
Freedom of Information Act
15. Please be aware that as a public body, HEFCE is subject to the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOI). Our policy is to fully disclose tender information in
compliance with the FOI, if a FOI Act request is received. However, we will not disclose
any information that forms part of this tendering process until the final award of the
contract and all unsuccessful bidders have been informed.
16. There may be elements of your tender submission which you consider to be
potentially commercially sensitive and would not want them to be disclosed. The FOI Act
does allow certain exemptions related to trade secrets and commercial interests see
www.foi.gov.uk/ for further details. Therefore, where you consider tender information
falls into this category, please extract the information and insert it into a separate
annex, which we will treat as being potentially commercially sensitive but you
should refer to it in the main body of the tender. When HEFCE consider it to be
appropriate and practicable, we may seek the views of the contractor before disclosing
information in this annex. The contractor acknowledges that information provided in this
annex is of indicative value only and that HEFCE may nevertheless be obliged to
disclose this information in accordance with the requirements of the FOI Act. All
information in the main tender documents would be disclosed should a request be
17. Tender responses should provide the information set out in the following
a. The nature of your organisation, its size, and current turnover.
b. Your understanding of the job required.
c. The methodology you propose to use to undertake the study.
d. The timescale to complete the study.
e. An outline of your capabilities to undertake the project, including details, or
CVs of your staff who will undertake the study.
f. Any other details about your organisation you feel may be relevant.
18. The Council wishes to agree a fixed price for the work. We remain open to ideas
for how the breadth of information we will require can best be gathered. Contractors
should quote their price for the analysis, and indicate how they propose to charge for
expenses if these are to be presented as an additional item.
19. The Council’s preference is to pay for the work on completion. If contractors seek
payment by instalments, then the Council will expect to see such payments associated
with the delivery of identifiable products or the achievement of clearly defined milestones.
Contractors should indicate how this requirement will be met.
20. For the purposes of this project, HEFCE would expect to have contact with a
nominated member of your organisation. Please indicate how you would meet this
21. Indicate whether your organisation has any procedures to enhance quality.
22. Indicate the names of two current or recent customers, preferably within the public
sector, for whom you have conducted a similar service and to who reference may be
23. The Council intends that work on the evaluation should begin in August 2008, with
the analysis available by the end of December 2008. There are no timing restrictions, but
we would expect to publish the outcomes of the analysis on the HEFCE web-site in
January 2009. Findings will also be publicised in HEFCE’s ‘The higher education
framework: a framework for the future’ (expected publication date – September 2009).
Contractors will be expected to meet this timetable.
Procedure for tender selection
24. Tenders should be sent to the Council in the envelope provided to arrive by 1200
on Thursday 3 July 2008. Enquiries about this tender should be made to Amy Norton at
25. Tenders must be accompanied by a signed certificate of non-collusion, set out in
the form given in Appendix A to this ITT.
26. The Council may invite one or more contractors to an interview to further explain
their service and how they can meet the Council’s needs. If such a meeting is necessary,
this will be held on Wednesday 23 July in London.
27. The contract will be awarded to the tenderer who demonstrates:
a. A complete understanding of, and experience of working with the HE sector.
b. An in-depth knowledge of the HE workforce in England, as well as in other
sectors and in other countries.
c. An ability to use these comparisons for the benefit of the study.
d. The bid that demonstrated good value for money.
e. An ability to meet the requirements of the timetable.
Certificate of non-collusion
We certify that:
a. The prices in the tender have been arrived at independently, without
consultation, communication, agreement or understanding for the purpose of
restricting competition, as to any matter relating to such prices, with any other
tenderer or with any competitor.
b. Unless otherwise required by law, the prices which have been quoted in the
tender have not knowingly been disclosed by the tenderer, directly or indirectly, to
any other tenderer or competitor, nor will they be so disclosed.
c. No attempt has been made or will be made by the tenderer to induce any other
person or firm to submit or not to submit a tender for the purpose of restricting
d. No attempt has been made directly or indirectly to canvasses any employee or
adviser of the HEFCE concerning the award of the contract which is the subject of
this invitation to tender.
On behalf of:
(HEFCE publication 01/58)
Priority areas for HR strategies
1. Each HR strategy should cover the following areas:
a. Address recruitment and retention difficulties in a targeted and cost-effective
b. Meet specific staff development and training objectives that not only equip
staff to meet their current needs but also prepare them for future changes, such as
using new technologies for learning and teaching. This would include management
c. Develop equal opportunities targets, with programmes to implement good
practice throughout an institution. This should include ensuring equal pay for work
of equal value, using institution-wide systems of job evaluation. This could involve
institutions working collectively – regionally or nationally.
Strategies should also cover how institutions will address (or are already addressing) the
need to achieve:
d. Regular reviews of staffing needs, reflecting changes in market demands
and technology. The reviews would consider overall numbers and the balance of
different categories of staff.
e. Annual performance reviews of all staff, based on open and objective criteria,
with rewards connected to the performance of individuals including, where
appropriate, their contribution to teams.
f. Action to tackle poor performance.