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Procurement for skills programmes

Are you an organisation who has innovative approach to upskilling local residents to find good work and in-work progression and looking to work with the West Midlands Combined Authority?

Through powers devolved to the WMCA, its our ambition to bring a sharp focus in how we use skills funding to support our residents to progress either into sustainable good jobs or upskill those already in-work to support career progression. From a business perspective it is important that our skills interventions reflect business and sector need leading to improved productivity and growth.

To support our ambition we have developed a commissioning approach via a dynamic purchasing system (DPS) to enable us to engage with the skills training market swiftly and coherently. The DPS provides the opportunity for organisations to be appointed to the DPS through a light touch evaluation process as a point of entry. Once successfully appointed to the DPS, organisations will be able to respond to ‘expressions of interest’ and/or ‘call-off’s’ through a competitive procurement exercise and bid for a variety of skills packages.

Whilst WMCA still reserve the right to use other procurement methods, the DPS provides the opportunity for us to work collaboratively and be innovative in establishing capacity and capability to meet the needs of our residents and businesses.

Dynamic purchasing system

We have opted to use a dynamic purchasing system as the procurement method for delivering our skills and training provision. This is because it will allow the flexibility to deliver skills provision now and, in the future, and enables a wide range of organisations to bid for adult skills opportunities.

It is different to traditional procurement routes as it operates an open market for providers to join at any time during the validity of the DPS. This allows us to continually expand our network of providers and welcome new providers that can meet our needs.
The aim is to streamline procurement for both providers and WMCA; providers do not have to demonstrate suitability and capability every time they wish to compete for a contract, and the award of individual call-off contracts can be quicker than under some other procurement procedures.

Stage one – Joining the DPS

You will need to join our new dynamic purchasing system to bid for any WMCA Skills opportunities. Our new delivery partner Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) replaces the existing framework. Stage 1 is the initial set up stage.

In this initial set up stage, all providers who meet the selection criteria contained in the Selection Questionnaire (SQ) and pass the evaluation criteria will be admitted onto the DPS. Any provider that does not meet these requirements will be excluded and not be admitted onto the DPS. They will, however, be given feedback as to why their application failed and will be able to re-apply at a later date.

Unlike framework agreements, providers can apply to join the DPS at any time during the lifetime of the DPS even if they have previously applied and failed to be admitted onto the DPS. Once your application is successful you will become a Delivery Partner DPS member. This means you will be able to tender for skills delivery opportunities commonly referred to as Call-Offs, Calls for Competition or Further Competitions.

Stage two – Further competitions

Individual skills provision contracts will be awarded during the second stage. In this stage, WMCA will invite all eligible providers on the DPS to bid for a specific contract or contracts (this is the call-off competition stage).

All DPS providers will be invited to stage two which will offer them the opportunity to complete and submit their bid. At this stage DPS providers will also be asked to confirm their selection questionnaire information provided when they applied to join the DPS is up to date and correct.

We expect providers to only bid for contracts that they have the experience, capacity, and capability to deliver. Providers are not obligated to bid for every contract.

Benefits of the delivery partner DPS

By joining the delivery partner DPS you can:

  • Become a delivery partner at any time
  • Join at any point during the lifetime of the DPS
  • Complete the whole application online

Who can apply?

You can apply to join the Delivery Partner DPS if you’re an organisation (referred to as ‘providers’ in the DPS) who deliver adult education and training provision with a focus on:

  • General Skills provision
  • Innovative Skills provision
  • Employment provision
  • Community learning and training provision
  • Basic Skills Provision
  • Higher level skills provision

When you can apply for the Delivery Partner DPS
The DPS system re-opened on 1st November 2022. The application process will remain live throughout the duration of the DPS, and providers can apply to join the DPS at any point.

WMCA would however suggest that you apply as soon as possible so that you do not miss out on any calls for competition/further competitions that will take place. Please note that if you are not approved and appointed to the DPS before an opportunity becomes available you will not be able to bid for the call for competition/further competition.

How to apply

Please email the procurement team if you would like to apply via

Applications will require you to:

  • Answer a series of questions about your organisation.
  • Demonstrate your track record of delivering adult education and training provision.

For help with the application process, you will need to read the Delivery Partner Dynamic Purchasing System supporting information which is available in a handbook called ‘JA Supplier handbook’ on the Bravo Portal.

Useful documents

A Market Engagement Event was held on 13 June 2022 and an additional online Market Engagement Event was held on 1 July 2022.