Perhaps inevitably given the recent experience of the first non-levy and the Adult Education Budget procurement exercises, the ESFA announced via Bravo on 17 November that the current exercise has similarly been postponed (emphasis added):
The Agency has been pleased to receive a high volume of tenders following a very positive response to the Invitation to Tender for this procurement, and is currently finalising the evaluation process.
In accordance with paragraph 8.2 of the Invitation to Tender (Attachment 1), the Agency is making a change to the procurement timetable as set out in paragraph 8.1 (Attachment 1). The intention to issue award notifications to successful and unsuccessful Potential Providers is postponed, and will not now be issued on 21 November 2017.
Potential Providers will be contacted again shortly with further information on the new date for the issue of award notifications.
It is likely given the similarly inevitable challenges following the notification of results that contracts won’t be awarded until well into the New Year given the experience of the AEB procurement where standstill was due to end on 15 August (based on the revised timetable) but contracts weren’t issued until 4 October.