AEB tender result deadline ditched as ESFA now just ‘hope’ to provide an update


Government officials have said they “hope” to provide an update on the delayed results for the adult education budget tender by the end of this week.

Providers are waiting on tenterhooks to find out whether they have won funding to deliver the national adult education budget from next month.

However, a new message from the Education and Skills Funding Agency sent to providers this afternoon simply says: “We hope to be in a position by the end of this week to provide you with a further update.”

It comes after the results of tendering for the national AEB have been delayed twice.

Results were originally supposed to be communicated on June 24.

The ESFA then said they could not meet that deadline and bidders were told the outcomes would be ready for June 28.

However, when that day came, the announcement was put off to an undetermined time.

Now it seems the agency cannot even give a deadline for when the results will be issued.

The AELP’s chief policy officer Simon Ashworth, who tweeted the ESFA’s latest message, also wrote: “Setting a self-imposed deadline (x2) and missing it is not good, this message isn’t particularly helpful either.

“Providers are desperate to know the AEB outcome. How can they plan? How can they deliver provision from August? Do they need staff and premises or not?”

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

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  1. At this stage in the process, there is no time for current and new providers to plan for 2021/22 even if results are issued before 19 July which is the latest date awards can be made for the standstill period to end before 1 August. A short extension to existing contracts as happened in 2017 seems unlikely (for a similar reason), so I wouldn’t be surprised if the tender was shelved (as happened with the first non-levy procurement) and existing contracts extended for a further year…

  2. So the ESFA have been working through the bids for 4 months and initially thought they would need 2 more working days (between the 24th June and 28th June) to announce the contract awards, suggesting there were some minor things to conclude. Here we are 2 full weeks later with no update and not even the courtesy or an explanation or confirmed date for announcements for provision that is due to be offered to learners in 3 weeks time. This is appallingly inconsiderate, especially as there are jobs at stake and a significant of work for providers to do to be ready.