10th Feb 2020

A recent FE Week article contained details that would appear that an independent learning provider, East Birmingham Community Forum (EBCF) have serious concerns over the way their tender was evaluated by a contracting authority, West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). The procurement was for a proportion of the Adult Education Budget allocation. Whilst the only information we have about this case at the moment is from the FE Week article, what is clear is that independent learning providers are aware of The Public Contracts Regulations and are willing to bring legal challenges against contracting authorities when they feel these have been breached. 

Those involved in the procurement of sub-contracted training providers on behalf of their FE College should follow this case with interest and ensure all those involved in this type of activity are aware of The Public Contract Regulations and the duties it places on contracting authorities when sub-contracting to training providers. More information on these regulations can be found at The Further Education Library of Procurement or contact your CPC Regional Procurement Advisor for more information.

Whilst this case has yet to be heard by the Courts, according to FE Week, EBCF are challenging on the grounds of manifest errors in the scoring of their bid, including:

  • WMCA scoring EBCF three for one question and seven for another question, when the published scoring matrix detailed available scores being even numbers between zero and ten
  • Providing unclear and inadequate feedback on the evaluation of EBCFs bid

It also appears EBCF are alleging that a compliant standstill procedure was not adhered to when awarding the contracts.