Outcomes for the national adult education budget tender have been hit by a second delay.

Results were originally supposed to be communicated on June 24 but the Education and Skills Funding Agency last week announced they would not meet the deadline.

Bidders were told the next day that the outcomes would be ready for today (June 28).

But this afternoon a further update was issued and said: “Please note that award decisions will not issue today, as previously communciated.

“We will notify potential contractors on the outcome of their bids shortly. We apologies for the delay and appreciate your understanding.”

No reason for the delay has been issued.

Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Jane Hickie slammed the ESFA for this latest delay.

She said: “Providers must be notified of the AEB procurement outcome today.  It is simply unacceptable that having promised notification yesterday after last week’s delays, the ESFA did not meet their commitment. 

“For those providers that win contracts, they have only a month to prepare for delivery which will delay some programme roll-outs in areas where the reskilling of adults is an absolute imperative as part of the recovery from the pandemic.  The consequences for existing AEB contractors who have missed out on awards in this procurement round are equally serious especially in terms of staffing.

“AELP members are seething over this.  This latest episode is another to add to the government’s ever lengthening rap sheet on poorly handled procurement exercises. Learners and hard-working provider staff deserve better.”

Bids for a slice of the £73 million AEB funding initially up for grabs in 2021/22 opened in February and closed in March.

The service start date is set for 1 August 2021.