Provider won max national AEB allocation after appeal

Portland Training awarded £2.5m in DfE's controversial tender

Portland Training awarded £2.5m in DfE's controversial tender

A training provider awarded a special national adult education budget contract following an appeal after initial allocations had been revealed received the maximum amount possible, new figures show.

The Portland Training Company’s “additional” contract was for £2.5 million, which takes the total amount allocated through the Department for Education’s tender to £77.5 million.

Portland did not appear among the 55 original winners from the DfE’s national AEB tender, which was supposed to be worth £75 million in total. Contract outcomes were communicated in July and allocations revealed in September.

Days after the allocations were published, however, the DfE announced that Portland was to be awarded an extra contract.

After initially keeping the reasons for the additional contract under wraps, the DfE has now confirmed to FE Week that Portland won it following an appeal during the 10-day voluntary standstill period.

The department said the provider successfully challenged the score awarded to it by in relation to a single question. No further details have been shared.

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers previously said the extra award “further undermined” the controversial tender which is being challenged through the courts by Learning Curve Group, one of several major training providers that had bids rejected.

Funding allocations for all types of training offered by providers in 2023/24 were published this week and revealed that Portland is among the biggest winners from the AEB tender, with a total contract of just under £2.5 million.

Portland said it was pleased with the outcome but declined to comment on the details of its appeal.

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