DfE accused of unlawful decision over £121m Institute of Teaching bid

Ambition Institute's High Court action bids to get government contract verdict overturned, Tes can reveal
13th May 2022, 6:50pm
Matilda Martin

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DfE accused of unlawful decision over £121m Institute of Teaching bid

https://www.tes.com/magazine/news/general/dfe-accused-unlawful-decision-over-ps121m-institute-teaching-bid
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The government is facing legal action to force it to overturn its decision to reject the Ambition Institute's bid to run the £121 million Institute of Teaching (IoT), Tes can reveal

The Department for Education is accused of making "manifest errors" in the way it assessed the bids for the contract, which led to it naming rival School Led Development Trust (SLDT) - comprising the Harris Federation, Outwood Grange Academies Trust, Star Academies and Oasis Community Learning - as the preferred bidder for the contract.

In legal documents lodged in the High Court and seen by Tes, Ambition Institute has accused the DfE of misjudgement in its ruling that the consortium failed the financial assessment in its bid for the tender and was not the most economically advantageous.

The documents claim that the Ambition tender was judged to have received a higher score on quality (70 marks out of a maximum 80) than the SLDT, but was found by the DfE to have failed financial evaluation on the grounds that it would "cause excessive risk" to the government

Ambition's legal case alleges that if the errors had been checked and calculated properly, they would have been awarded the contract.

On 21 February of this year, Ambition was informed by the DfE in a letter that the final tender had been rejected on the basis that the financial submission placed excessive risk on the department, Tes can reveal.

Ambition has launched the legal action seeking to have the decision overturned.

It filed a High Court legal claim against the DfE on 11 April and filed its particulars on the 22nd of the same month. The DfE is understood to deny the allegations.

Last month, Tes revealed that the Ambition Institute-led consortium was considering legal action after the DfE named SLDT as the preferred bidder for the Institute of Teaching. 

Tes previously revealed that the government had set aside £121 million to fund the IoT over six years. It is set to train 1,000 new teachers a year.

The DfE has said the IoT would be "England's flagship teacher training and development provider", designed to show "exemplary delivery of the government's ambitious reforms".

According to the department, the provider would offer training to around 2,000 early career teachers and 2,000 mentors per year, as well as 1,000 participants in National Professional Qualification leadership training. 

The DfE said it will not comment on the IoT procument process as it is not yet complete, but added it is being conducted in line with all government procurement rules, through an open and competitive process including assessment of bids against rigorous quality and value for money criteria, designed to result in the best outcomes for future trainees.

Ambition Institute declined to comment. 

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