Project Selection

North West LSCi applies open and competitive tendering practices and details of Invitations to Tender (ITTs) are advertised on their website. Full details of the ITTs are available upon request from procurementnorthwest@lsc.gov.uk

Basic Eligibilityi
Upon receipt of valid Tenders, members of the Procurement Northwest team will perform basic eligibility checks on the Tenders. These basic eligibility checks will comprise of:

  • Has the correct ESFi Co-finance Tender Application Form been used?
  • Have both parts of the ESF Co-finance Tender Application Form been submitted (Part A – Word Document and Part B –Excel Spreadsheet)?
  • Have all sections of the ESF Co-finance Tender Application Form been completed (both the Word Document and Excel Spreadsheet)?
  • Has Arial Font 12 been used to complete the ESF Co-finance Tender Application Form?
  • Has one original copy of the proposal and one photocopy of the ESF Co-finance Tender Application been submitted (NB 2 original copies will also be accepted)?
  • Has an electronic copy comprising both the Word Document in Word 2003 and the Excel Spreadsheet in Excel 2003 been submitted on either a CD Rom, Floppy Disk or on another form of electronic device been submitted (NB emails are not accepted)?
  • Has a minimum of one original ESF Co-finance Tender Application Form containing an original signature and date been submitted?
  • Has an original completed Partner Organisation Declaration been submitted? (NB This is not applicable if partner organisations have not been identified within Part A)
  • Has a fully completed and signed Declaration and Conflict of Interest Proforma (Annex One of this ITT) been submitted?
  • Was the ESF Co-finance Tender Application Form in a clearly marked envelope and sent in time to be received by the deadline?

ESF Co-finance Tender Applications that fail any of these basic eligibility checks will not be considered for funding.
Unfortunately, there continues to be a number of applicants who fail the basic eligibility checks, therefore to assist you in ensuring that you pass this stage of the tendering process, a Checklist has been designed and is included at Annex Two of each Invitation to Tender. Applicants do not need to submit the completed Checklist but it is strongly recommended that applicants make use of this Checklist to ensure that they pass the basic eligibility stage.

Project Assessment
Once basic eligibility checks have been completed, those areas of the ESF Co-finance Application Form marked as scored will be assessed by a panel of LSC staff and on occasion an external partner. Where external partners participate in project assessment the LSC will ensure that there are no conflicts of interest. Providers seeking to submit Tenders for co-finance funds will be required to complete the ESF Co-finance Tender Application Form that can be secured from Procurement Northwest.The information required in the standard ESF Co-finance Tender Application Form will be assessed against standard objective criteria. Fields that determine the selection of Tenders are labelled as ‘Scored’. The following requested information corresponds to this grouping.

  • Section 4 – Activity Summary
  • Section 5 – Capacity and Capability
  • Section 6 – Project Delivery
  • Section 7 – Added Value
  • Section 8 – Cross Cutting Themes
  • Section 9 – Outputsi and Outcomes
  • Section12 – Balance of Funding

More detailed information regarding the assessment criteria is set out in Annex One.

However, please be aware that any projects which fail meet the minimum quality thresholds set for

Section 4 –Activity Summary and Section 5 –Capacity and Capability will not continue to be scored by the Assessment Panel
Assessment Panels will be asked to identify whether an ESF Co-finance Tender Application Form has demonstrated an alignment to the ITT based on the information contained within Section 4 –Activity Summary. Once Tenders have been fully assessed, a ranked list of an ESF Co-finance Tender Applications will be produced and sorted into 3 categories:

  • Fully fits the Invitation to Tender
  • Partially fits Invitation to Tender
  • Fails to fit Invitation to Tender

The final category will not be considered to have met the quality threshold and will be rejected at this stage.

Once Tenders have been assessed and the ranked list of an ESF Co-finance Tender Applications produced, the LSC will normally review all ESF Co-finance Tender Applications deemed at fully fitting the Invitation to Tender and up to a value of 3 times the funds available for the ITT.

Strategic Decisions
A panel comprising LSC senior managers and on occasion external partners will then consider the ESF Co-finance Tender Application as identified in 2.2. The aim of this stage is to ensure that the Tenders selected will:

  • Strategically fit the relevant Invitation to Tender;
  • Deliver the outputs and outcomes that are required for the Invitation to Tender;
  • Demonstrate value for moneyi;
  • Support and complement other activities and initiatives in the proposed geographic locations rather than cut across and duplicate existing provision;
  • Provide reasonable geographical coverage, avoiding unnecessary duplication;
  • Clearly provide added value with the additionality of the provision clearly evident;

In addition, where lead organisations have previously delivered ESF Co-finance activity for the LSC in the Northwest, their past performance will also be taken into consideration. Please note that Tenders are not guaranteed to receive funding at the level applied for. This will be dependent upon the fit of the Tender to the relevant programme specification.

Feedback Arrangements
On conclusion of the appraisal process, the LSC will contact all applicants. Applicants will be notified of successful Tenders and unsuccessful applicants will be given feedback on why their Tender was unsuccessful.

As it is envisaged that a large number of Tenders will be received, it is not possible for the LSC to notify applicants via telephone as to whether their Tender has been successful in being invited to enter into contracting discussions. Therefore all organisations applying for ESF will be notified of the outcome of the tendering round in writing.

Feedback will be issued to the individual identified as the named contact in the ESF Co-finance Tender Application Form.

In the interests of openness and transparency the LSC will publish a full list of Tenders received identifying whether or not they have been invited to enter into contracting discussions. In addition we will also publish summary details of those Tenders that have been invited to enter into contracting discussions. Both documents will be posted on our website and that of GONWi.

Appeals Process
The LSC will not be operating an appeals procedure for its co-financingi activity. In the event of a Tender being unsuccessful, should the organisation, after receiving feedback feel that there has been demonstrated bias against their proposal or that a decision has been reached that no reasonable person would make, the organisation may invoke the Learning and Skills LSC’s Complaints Policy. This policy will be posted on the LSC’s national website, the address of which is: www.lsc.gov.uk. Any complaints should be forwarded to Procurement Northwest.