Published date: 5 February 2021

This notice was replaced on 26 August 2021

This notice does not contain the most up-to-date information about this procurement. The most recent notice is:

Awarded contract (published 26 August 2021, last edited 11 January 2024)

Closed opportunity - This means that the contract is currently closed. The buying department may be considering suppliers that have already applied, or no suitable offers were made.

Contract summary


  • Adult and other education services - 80400000

Location of contract

North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, South East, South West

Value of contract


Procurement reference

Adult Education Budget Procurement

Published date

5 February 2021

Closing date

22 March 2021

Closing time


Contract start date

1 August 2021

Contract end date

31 July 2022

Contract type

Service contract

Procedure type

Open procedure (above threshold)

Any interested supplier may submit a tender in response to an opportunity notice.

This procedure can be used for procurements above the relevant contract value threshold.

This is an accelerated procedure.


As set out in the ITT Documents this is a light touch procurement and as such is not subject to the full requirements of The Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

The Secretary of State for Education determined that there should be a 'transitional' (short-term) procurement based on current AEB policy to support learners until Further Education (FE) Reform policy embeds and to provide access for learners to the new National Skills Fund Level 3 adult offer. This procurement, for the 2021/22 academic year, will ensure continued access to funds for providers who have an important role in the adult education market helping to deliver the government's education and skills priorities and ensuring full coverage across England. It will also provide opportunities to support some of the policies associated with post Covid-19 economic recovery.

As a consequence of Covid-19, unemployment is expected to rise. The cohort of unemployed adults is now different compared to pre-Covid-19; many of them have skills and work experience but need support retraining and upskilling into sustainable, productive employment and the jobs of the future. Covid-19 has therefore expedited the need for people to reskill into sustainable, productive employment.

The Services to be delivered under the Contracts will support Covid-19 recovery and will be focused to support skills which boost productivity and enhance the adult skills system.

Contract is suitable for SMEs?


Contract is suitable for VCSEs?



The Adult Education Budget (AEB) is the major fund for adult learners, delivering skills provision for eligible adults aged 19+ from pre-entry to Level 3. AEB provision aims to engage adults in learning which provides the skills and learning they need for work, progression in work, an Apprenticeship or further learning.
The ESFA would like to invite potential contractors to apply for ESFA funded AEB contract for services for the delivery of adult education and training to learners in England that are resident outside of the devolved areas. The contracts will start on 1 August 2021 and run for the 2021/22 academic year. Contracts awarded will be between the values of £150,000 and £3,000,000.
The procurement will fund the following provision:
Statutory entitlements
English and maths, up to and including Level 2, for individuals aged 19 and over, who have not previously attained a GCSE grade A* - C or grade 4, or higher, and/or
First full qualification at Level 2 for individuals aged 19 to 23, and/or
First full qualification at Level 3 for individuals aged 19 to 23.
Information technology ('digital') skills, up to and including Level 1, for individuals aged 19+, who have digital skills assessed at below Level 1.
Local Flexibility which supports delivery of flexible tailored provision for adults, including qualifications and components of these and/or non-regulated learning, up to Level 2, including Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Expansion of DWP's SWAP
National Skills Fund Level 3 Adult Offer: From April 2021, any adult aged 24 and over who wants to achieve their first full Level 3 qualification, which is equivalent to a technical certificate or diploma, or 2 full A levels, will be able to access hundreds of fully funded courses.
Supporting funding to provide extra support to address barriers that may prevent learners from engaging or continuing learning. This includes:
Learning support - available to providers to meet the cost of making reasonable adjustments, as part of the Equality Act 2010, for learners who have an identified learning difficulty or disability, to achieve their learning goal, and/or
Learner support - available to providers to support learners with a specific financial hardship, such as childcare or residential costs associated with learning.
Based on the best information available to the Authority at this time the overall anticipated value for the Contracts, as set out in this Contract Notice is £157, 000, 000.00 (one hundred and fifty seven million pounds). Potential Contractors shall note that funding for the Contracts is only guaranteed for the period from the Agreement Date to 31 July 2022 and for any Learners recruited before that date to complete their Learning, provided that happens before 31 July 2023. The Authority anticipates that the combined value of the initial Contract Values of all the successful Potential Contracts will be £73,000,000

More information

Previous notice about this procurement

Adult Education Budget 2021/22 Procurement

  • Early engagement
  • Published 16 December 2020, last edited 1 February 2021



Additional text

The Authority will be administering the procurement process electronically via Jaggaer, the Authority e-Procurement Solution (e-PS) portal. It can be accessed via your web browser at:

About the buyer

Contact name

Department for Education acting through the Education and Skills Funding Agency


Cheylesmore House South, Quinton Road