AEB contracts extended as tender results delayed further

The delay to results for the Adult Education Budget (AEB) tender will last until the end of July, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has said this afternoon.

Independent learning providers had been told last October that they would need to re-tender for around £110m of the Adult Education Budget for 2017/18.

The tender took place between January and February of this year, with the expectation the results would be shared on the May 19. 

Since then, providers have been desperate to know if they will have any funding from August.

The ESFA finally changed their “in due course” response this afternoon, saying that tender results will now be shared with applicants “at the end of July”, and in the meantime 2016/17 contracts will be extended “for a three-month period, until 31st October 2017.”

The ESFA message to relevant providers said in full:

“Following our earlier messages issued on 9th May and 13th June regarding the impact of the General Election on our planned communications, please note that notifications of contract award will now be made at the end July 2017.

“As a result, the ESFA will now be extending the existing 2016/2017 contracts for Adult Education Budget (AEB) services for a three-month period, until 31st October 2017.

“Details of the existing providers can be found at

“This extension reinstates the original time period scheduled to occur between the result notification and contract start date.

“This means that contracts awarded through this AEB procurement exercise will now be for an initial nine-month period only running from 1 November 2017 to 31st July 2018, with possible extensions for up to two 12 month periods, at the ESFA’s discretion.

“We will shortly be writing to existing AEB providers to confirm the details of these arrangements.”

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  1. Again, this solution only serves to preserve existing providers/provision, and further harms those attempting to compete against them on what is an uneven playing field, whilst trying to gain entry to the market on equal terms. If the government wishes to remove small providers/sub contractors/new entrants and be left with just the ‘same old, same old’ faces then this, as with the Apprenticeship tender before it, is, in all honestly, the perfect way of going about it.

  2. What a mess… So, if you’re a provider in this situation, what do you do about September? You’ll want to advertise provision and, more importantly, re-enrol progressing learners NOW before they go on summer break without ANY guarantee that you’ll have courses for them after October. It’s an astonishingly bad time to extend contracts to, they should take the sensible option and scrap it all for a year and try again then.