• Steve O'Hare

Devolved Adult Education Budget procurement beginning for next two Mayoral Combined Authorities

Devolved Adult Education Budget procurement will begin soon for the next two Mayoral Combined Authorities in England.

The areas in question are West Yorkshire and Sheffield City and there will be fully-blown tender exercises in the New Year with over £10m of contracts in each, which are set to go live from August 2021.




The West Yorkshire Combined Authority covers: Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Caldergate and Wakefield, while the Sheffield City Region focuses on: Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster.

There are 10 Mayoral areas, who have agreed Adult Education Budget devolution deals, and these are the final two to be open to procurement. This procurement has been planned for a number of years and it will be interesting to see, as a result of Covid, if there is additional support moved to these areas to help them recover, as both of these areas of northern England have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

The drive for the mayoral authorities is to take the good practice from current national-based delivery and tailor it to the specific needs of the localities. It is designed to deal with those local needs, rather than a national framework.

What will be interesting to see is how they evolve the process, based on learning from previous procurements, for example, with the Greater London Authority and West Midlands Combined Authority.


Adult Education Budget

And if we are looking for lessons to be learned from previous practice, the national AEB picture is the perfect case in point, as the national Adult Education Budget is to be re-tendered by the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), again in the new year. When this was last procured four years ago there were multiple legal challenges as a result of the tender round and it will be interesting to see how the ESFA approaches this to guard against legal challenges this time, especially because it will be over-subscribed again.

Let’s hope that lessons have been learnt and we have an open, fair and transparent competition.


SCLO will be hosting webinars early in the New Year to help those hoping to bid for a share of the procurement budget available.


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