Invitation to Tender: Strategic Partner – Grant management

Frequently asked questions

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Access is currently seeking a strategic partner for grant management services. For more details please see the full invitation to tender. The deadline for submitting a response is noon on Friday 9 August 2019.

Frequently asked questions


Would it be possible to have an indication of budget available, based on the £10.25m fund?

We are not intending to indicate a budget for the management of the fund. Bidders are invited to propose a budget required to undertake the work as specified in the ITT which will be scored as part of the assessment process, again as specified in the ITT.

Is all the information required to submit the response contained in the Invitation to Tender or is there any additional document to form the tender that we should take into account?

The ITT contains all the necessary information about the programme. There are references in the ITT to our strategic plan which we recommend bidders also read.

In addition to publishing the responses to FAQ on the website, will you also circulate them by email to bidders who contacted you?

We will email the bidders with any new FAQs on at least a weekly basis and will include the link at that time to where they are listed on the website.

When would you require the Strategic Partner to start?

As soon as possible once the contracts are in place.

As part of the payments process, is your expectation that the Strategic Partner handles the actual money?

Yes it is. 

Is there a schedule of dates/milestones for applications, carrying out due diligence and awarding grants?

The bidder should propose an approach to the grant management process which addresses these points as detailed in the specification in the ITT.

The document states “please email a proposal of no more than 40 pages”. Does the page limit include or exclude appendices pages, or does the limit only include appendices if they are written text e.g. diagrams?

The 40 pages should include all the information necessary to assess your proposal against the criteria defined in the ITT. Should you wish to provide additional information then this can be included as an appendix.

If the tender responses deadline is 9th August 2019, then whoever is awarded the contract will have very little time to involve sector partners in co-design if grants for both 2 new sectors and the 2 existing sectors are to re-open in September 2019? Could you clarify/confirm the rough timelines that grants need to go live for a) existing sectors and b) new sectors?

The co-design process will shape the timescales of launching grants in both the existing and new sectors. The September date referenced in the ITT is an aspiration rather than a firm fixed date. Sector partners in the youth and homelessness sectors are already working on ways the programme can be redesigned and so we expect an autumn date for grants to reopen to be realistic. The timings of the new sectors will depend on the level of work needed to co-develop the programme but our desire is that grants are available in the new sectors as soon as possible.  

Is the contractor financially liable to the client for “non-performance” or “non-repayment” of the grantees?

In performing its functions fully in line with the specification in the ITT and the terms of the agreed contract, there would not be any recourse to the contractor for non-performance of the grantee against the agreed purpose of the grant. In actively managing the grant we would expect the contractor to take appropriate steps to seek to turn around the performance of the grantee and if appropriate seek to recover grant from the grantee.

Does the client have set expectations of who would ultimately decide whether or not to award a grant to an organisation?

The bidder should propose a structure for decision making. We would expect input from Access and the relevant sector partners in that decision making especially for larger grants.

Can we see a copy of the draft contract the contractor would enter into with the client?

This has not yet been drafted and won’t be until a successful bidder is appointed so that the relevant proposal can be integrated into the contract.

Would the client provide a template grant agreement, and if this exists already, can it be shared?

We expect the successful bidder to develop relevant grant agreements.

To what extent would the contractor be required to use or work with existing application and/or grant management systems and/or software?

The successful bidder would be expected to propose how they would effectively manage grants and provide Access with relevant data. We do not have a clear view about the systems of software which allow this other than they need to be secure, robust, tried and tested.

What level of data collection from funded projects would the client expect of the contractor, and over what duration?

This would be defined during the co-creation phase with sector partners. As a minimum data collection will need to be sufficient to ensure that grants are being spend appropriately and that the programme overall is able to generate learning about how enterprise models are developed and how the sector builds resilience.

Would the client expect the contractor to use any of the existing grant materials developed through the EDP pilot?

There may be instances where this is desirable but it won’t be essential to the successful delivery of the programme.

Is the client able to share any of the learning from the EDP pilot to-date?

The key elements of learning to date from the pilot have been reflected in the ITT documentation. Access’s learning partners are continuing to identify broader lessons with the current EDP partners but these are not yet fully documented and evaluation work is ongoing. However more of this learning will be available as part of the co-design process.

Is the client able to share the number of applications it received during the EDP pilot, and the number of grant subsequently awarded?

To date (19 July 2019) there have been 211 applications for feasibility grants and 78 grants awarded at a value of £594k. There have been 163 development grant applications and 26 grants awarded at a value of £904k.