For activities that are not covered by Co-financingi, a limited amount of ESFi funding is available by making a bid direct to a Government Office. This is called ‘Direct’ or ‘Alternative’ bidding. This means that you make a direct bid to Government Office via your regional partner – North West Network. If you submit an application under direct bidding you will still need to contribute some of the costs of the project yourself. You must already have secured match funding for 55% of the total project costs before making a bid.
Through the process of direct bidding, projects are scored, appraised and selected through competitive bidding at regional level.
There are two ways that Government Office issue funding under the Alternative Bidding system: Government Office will issue an invitation to apply and give a deadline for applications; or Government Office will allow applications for funding to be sent in at anytime.
Since the onset of co-financing, only those projects falling outside the remit of co-financing plans published by local Learning and Skills Councils and Jobcentre Plus are deemed to be eligible for direct bidding. This is expected to be predominantly for projects delivering higher level skills activity (NVQ Level 4 and above, or equivalent). This will apply to all Policy Fields and Measures except Measures 2.2 and 5.1 which, due to the nature of the provision (e.g. research activities), are open to all/any relevant activity.