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Tenders in for ‘super framework’

The battle for places on the £4 billion academies ‘super-framework’ has moved into a critical phase after all 22 contenders submitted their tender documents.

The battle for places on the £4 billion academies ‘super-framework’ has moved into a critical phase after all 22 contenders submitted their tender documents.

Delivery body Partnerships for Schools is now assessing the bids and is expected to announce the winners in November.

The competition for places on the highly regarded framework has been described as the ‘scrap of the year’. Eight of the UK’s top nine contractors by turnover submitted tenders, and are competing against each other, several education specialists and a handful of regional firms.

Shortlisted contractors said the tender process had provided a fair and practical playing field.

A Bam Construct spokesman said: “The great strength of the framework itself is that it provides a good, structured process for the commissioning and delivery of academies that will support local authorities and schools to manage what is a very detailed process. It also provides a good structure for regular, focused, dialogue with all of the stakeholders from governors to pupils.

“Bam was pleased with the bid process because it was not overly complicated but provided ample opportunities for us to demonstrate our differentiators, such as sustainability, and our understanding that what we deliver must support the curriculum and inspire educational achievement in each school.”

Apollo Education managing director Jeremy Eavis said achieving a place on the framework was “a top priority” for the contractor.

“The framework will accelerate this next phase of the academies programme as well as providing a flexible model to deliver funding for other educational building investment programmes,” he added.

Contractors were scored and ranked in the PQQ stage, but these scores were wiped out at tender stage, meaning the assessment process starts from a clean slate.

A PfS spokeswoman said: “We have been overwhelmed by the interest we have received from those already experienced in BSF and academy work, as well as from those new to our programme.

“We are now rigorously assessing the bids received from the 22 shortlisted firms, with the intention that those who make it onto the framework will be in a position to bid for work by the end of the year.”

The framework has double the value of its predecessor, and the scope to deliver certain BSF schemes, wider educational projects and even related community projects. It gained the ‘super-framework’ tag because many believe it will be used by councils to procure a wide range of work.

Apollo, Balfour Beatty, Bam, Bovis, Carillion, Galliford Try, Interserve, Kier, Miller, Morgan Ashurst, Sir Robert McAlpine, Vinci, Wates and Willmott Dixon are shortlisted for both regions of the new framework.

They are joined by Bowmer & Kirkland, Clugston, Henry Boot and Shepherd in the North and Midlands; and by Educinq, JB Leadbitter, Rydon and Volker Fitzpatrick in the South and East.

Between nine and 12 firms will make each framework.