Learning without Limits Academy Trust is a Multi Academy Trust that formed in 2016, set up to serve the communities of Leicester City and the surrounding areas. Originally borne out of Babington Academy in the North-West of Leicester, the Trust now supports five academies, across both primary and secondary phase.
Aware of the significant time investment required to complete such a project, when personnel still have ‘the day job’ to undertake, the Trust engaged with Minerva Procurement Consultancy Services Limited to run it on their behalf whilst working closely with them. Minerva was approached by Abigail Evans (Chief Operating Officer) about the possibility of us running the tender. Following a meeting between Minerva and key personnel at the Trust it was agreed to appoint Minerva to run the tender process.
The Trust required a supplier to undertake the Payroll, HR Administration & Associated Services in accordance with good practice to provide a high service standard throughout the Trust for the benefit of their staff.
The Trust wanted the supplier to be responsible for the provision of skilled payroll and HR administration personnel to provide an efficient, timely and proactive service. In addition, they would be required to provide day to day support to the Trust’s Central HR and Finance staff as well as named representatives (finance lead and HR admin lead) at each school.
The contract was expected to exceed the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 threshold which, at the commencement of the tender process, was £189,330 meaning a fully compliant PCR2015 tender would need to be run. Therefore, a two-stage ‘Restricted Procedure’ was agreed comprising Selection Questionnaire (SQ) and Invitation to Tender (ITT) stages.
Once the project objectives and set up were agreed Minerva provided the Trust with a detailed checklist for the services and a draft Statement of Requirements (SoR). This enabled the Trust to understand the vast amount of detailed information that bidders would require. From these documents Minerva then drafted all of the relevant tender documents for the Trust including the Memorandum of Information (MoI), Selection Questionnaire (SQ) and Invitation to Tender (ITT).
The Trust also took the opportunity to take advantage of the Minerva precedent legal agreement for the project, thus enabling them to access a very cost-effective contract which was tailored to their own requirements.
Minerva received a good amount of interest from suppliers for the tender at the Expression of Interest stage. In total 26 suppliers registered to view the opportunity on the In-tend e-tendering portal. From these interested companies 11 provided complete SQ submissions, these were scored and moderated where six were shortlisted to the ITT stage. After reviewing the bids and the pricing submissions three suppliers, were invited to the a Demonstration Day (to demo the system to Trust personnel) and a Presentation Day (to enable the Trust Central Team to have a more strategic discussion). Followed this detailed and robust process, Strictly Education was awarded the contract.
Aside from running a fully compliant tender process the project also yielded an unexpected saving to the Trust of many tens of thousands of pounds throughout the term of the contract!
In addition to the savings, some key features and services were available to the Trust that weren’t available from other suppliers such as dedicated phone support by HR advisors and an inhouse development team which will allow the Trust to offer two level authorisation for certain HR elements.
“Lorraine and her team at Minerva have made a complex procurement process run very smoothly, through their commitment, professionalism and expert knowledge in this area. We have been extremely well supported throughout the whole process and are just about to enter a new contract as result. It is particularly satisfying knowing the tender has been run in a robust and fully compliant manner.”
Abigail Evans, Chief Operating Officer, Learning without Limits Academy Trust