As I have been in the training and Development industry in one form or another and on the front line delivery, for some thirty seven years. I have seen the TEC make mistakes the LSC make mistakes and the SFA and now the ESFA fall under the DFE.
The New ITT for the Non Digital employers bid is in my opinion both illegal (solicitors will let us know by Tuesday) and damage’s the British economy. I have today talked to four bid writers and my own thoughts are noted here.
Why this ITT is wrong is that it is linked to the ROTAP and as such Training Provider’s had to decide which application they should make based on the information. Many did and applied for the route way which would then allow them to bid for work with Employers not on the levy.
This ITT is based on the previous PQQ and actually people who were forced or made the decision formed from that information. So now this new ITT:
- Eliminate small providers sub £200k turnover – this is double the threshold from the previous submission. This will mean around 300 organisations who thought they could bid are now stopped from bidding and should be on the other rout way.
- Use a proportional allocation of contract values in high demand areas to remove SME providers e.g if provider 1 asks for £400k and Provider 2 asks for £380k in an area both exceed the £200k threshold, if the area is oversubscribed by 100% i.e. people ask for twice the pot of money available then both contract allocations get halved Provider 1 goes through to round 2, Provider 2 is knocked out and the funds reallocated.
Remember the Government and EU rules about less red tape and giving SME’s an opportunity to bid for contracts. Even if you get through as an SME with say up to £500,000 turnover, do a great bid you can still lose due to the Bid Evaluation.
The application is a 4-stage process that has some interesting evaluation rules. These stages have been engineered to whittle down the number of applicants at each stage enabling the ESFA to knock out the submissions to arrive at a manageable amount.
The stages will do the following:
- Eliminate small providers sub £200k turnover – this is double the threshold from the previous submission
- Knock out anyone who makes any kind of mistake in the submission – you only have to get one question or area wrong, miss an item or miscalculate the spreadsheet
- Set a minimum contract value of £200k to knock out smaller providers and small contracts
- Use a proportional allocation of contract values in high demand areas to remove SME providers e.g if Provider 1 asks for £400k and Provider 2 asks for £380k in an area both exceed the £200k threshold, if the area is oversubscribed by 100% i.e. people ask for twice the pot of money available then both contract allocations get halved Provider 1 goes through to round 2, Provider 2 is knocked out and the funds reallocated.
Also another Warning: Two more key concern areas are; each question has to score a minimum 50% or the bid is kicked out and the overall score must be no less than 75% which is a very high requirement with little wiggle room for error.
You can also see that they can just say the following is not what we agree with:
1) What a programme will look like including the 20% of the job learning.
2) How we are going to sell the 10% employer contribution in a practical way.
The actual Bid submission requirements.
You will need to complete:
1) Declaration document
2) Subcontracting proforma if we are going to submit any
3) Funding volumes and values spreadsheet
4) Specification questionnaire with 17 narrative questions, and 105 specific bullet points with a limit of 65200 characters (approx. 16000 words).
The Narrative submission.
The questionnaire is about 2.5 times bigger than the previous submission, this will cost more and knock out some providers from applying.
Elements to consider before proceeding with a bid:
You will need to think before committing to a bid it will also shape the direction of the content;
1) What size contract you can have and deliver?
2) What qualifications mix you need to put forward I strongly suggest we need to include some of the more unique items away from mainstream if possible
3) What areas you want to work in geographically. Try to include less competitive areas if relevant
4) What a programme will look like including the 20% of the job learning.
5) How we are going to sell the 10% employer contribution in a practical way.
Photo courtesy: tes.com
So what does it mean?
Well it means the bid will take someone to complete and double check around 8 days to 10 days! Even if you have spent all that time they can throw your bid out due to being oversubscribed.
Also it means that even if you have been through one set of compliance to get on the ROTAP to bid, you are then stopped from bidding, even though you were told, “to bid you had to be on the register”.
So, they bring this out at holiday time and then say the most relevant person should do this in the organisation. Well, they like the minister may be on holiday. So, the bid will take one person about 10 days.
And guess what?
Even though I have said what I have, you have to do all this and if you get through in October you will have to attend a contract meeting and the values or the contract could be changed or taken away.
Why is this bad for the British economy?
Small Companies will close down. Loss of Capital Gains Tax, I think 300 Training organisations will go in the next 12 months.
Unemployment from the industry will mean that the staff will be out of work on the dole.
SME employers will not have the wide pool of training providers to choose from.
Learners will not have the choices or availability.
Knock on to Awarding Bodies will mean more job losses.
Off the Job Training of 20% will mean employers will not take up the apprentices.
If we look at Maths and English and improving this and productivity, then we will only be doing this to large levy paying organisations, what will this mean to the SME organisations who make up most of the apprenticeship take up, employment will not grow
1,600 organisation will go down in number (I think). If we lose 300, this means at least 300 photocopy machines, 300 offices rented and 300 accountants will not be required this gives just a snap shot of the effect to the local economy in the areas where these companies are in …
… I could go on but I will await what the solicitor says and as one put it, in court it could cost the DFE £3,000 for some 4000 organisations plus lost revenue that could be a cost of £12 million pounds minimum and could actually be as high as £120 Million pounds
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