Tender FAQs

1.What is the budget?

Up to £1.6 million of funds has been allocated to each site for a three-year period

2.Where is the funding coming from?

Without substantial funding from the Big Lottery Fund Women and Girls Initiative and further funding from The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Peter Cundill Foundation, The Aurum Charitable Trust and match in each site this project would not be possible.

3.What are the tender timescales?

The Norfolk Connect tender opened on 14th February and closes at the end of the day (midnight) 23rd March. Shortlisting will take place week commencing 26th March and successful bidders will be asked to interviews the week commencing 9th April.

The West Sussex Connect tender opened on 4th April and closes on 4th May. Successful bidders will be asked to interviews the week commencing 21st May. 

4.I’ve done lots of work in this sector before, will this hold us in good stead with the tender?

We welcome bids from all services with areas of expertise relating to the gaps identified and experience of service delivery and provision

5.Can we get together with other organisations to submit a joint proposal?

Yes, we welcome and encourage consortium bids.  We have set up a chat facility on our community platform which will help you contact other services, please sign up here and join the ‘Beacon Norfolk and/or ‘Beacon West Sussex’ groups.

6.What are tenders evaluated against?

Tenders will be set against strict criteria as outlined in the Invitation to Tender and Service Specification document.

7.Do we have access to advice before submission?

Yes, we are happy to help with any questions you may have, please email pmo@safelives.org.uk. Any questions asked (unless confidential) will be added to these FAQs.

8.We note that the answer to each question must not exceed 3 sides, can separate documents (such as an implementation plan) be submitted along with the written response?

Yes – separate documents relevant to your answer such as an implementation plan or existing policies can be sent as an appendix, rather than being reproduced in the text. If doing so please refer to the attachment explicitly in your response and highlight where the relevant points can be found within the attachments.

9.Regarding fixed costs on page nine of the Invitation to Tender, could you please provide some further detail regarding the value and confirm who is responsible for them?

Engage costs are a fixed, non-negotiable part of the service provider’s budget, and the agreement will be between the service provider and Cheshire Without Abuse (who looked at the gaps in support for those wishing to remain in their relationships).

The value is the £21,500 quoted (over three years) which includes; Engage training (four days for the whole team), bi-monthly two hour clinical supervision sessions, two ‘challenge days’ per year (practice review with the Engage teams by Saskia Ritchie, Cheshire Without Abuse and Emily Alison, Psychologist) and support with roll-out of the model with partner agencies.

10.Ref: 2.4 ‘The delivery team will receive accredited specialist training’ and 5.3 ‘SafeLives will provide training to the relevant staff’; can the Authority confirm if there will be a cost associated with this that the successful provider will need to be charged?

SafeLives Outreach training and the Engage training is provided at no cost.  SafeLives will also provide training to the Skills Enhancer at no cost, who will be employed by the successful provider and will then be responsible for delivering further training.

11.In relation to the interview and presentation and specifically the ‘Presentation’; can the Authority confirm if there will be any additional set questions as part of this, or if it is for providers to decide how and what content to present as part of the submission/tender?

This will be confirmed at shortlisting stage and we will let people know when they're invited to interview.

12.If there are any unspent funds from either the set up phase or any of the annual budgets, can they be carried over to the subsequent year or will they need returning?

While funding is paid quarterly in advance, the provider is expected to provide Actual Spend reports at the end of quarter.  Any reported underspend will then be adjusted from the following advance payment.

Where a provider spends less than their agreed budget, SafeLives would be happy to roll this allocation forward and allow them to spend up to the agreed total budget at a later date.

13.On P30. At the end of the 6-8 week Stage One Engage intervention, what happens if the perpetrator is not suitable to move on to Stage Two? Is there any guidance on containment / unpacking-repacking?

The Engage team will work as part of a multi-agency partnership approach where risk management is a collective responsibility. If at the end of the assessment stage a perpetrator is not ready or able to move onto stage 2, the Engage team will compile a report outlining the reasons for this and any suggested next steps and alternative support to feedback to partner agencies. They will also work with the perpetrator to explain the reasoning and aim to support them to access alternative support or interventions.

If a perpetrator doesn’t move onto stage 2, the offer of support for the victim/survivor and any children will remain in place.

14.On P31. Potential Impact. Is there any evidence on the project’s effect on DVA (increased / decreased) as part of the evaluation?

Yes, the Insights monitoring data will be able to evidence the change in types of abuse experienced, severity and frequency from the client’s Intake to exit from the service.

15.Invitation to tender 2.4.5 Due diligence is this information just for lead organisation to supply about itself, or is for all subcontractor/partners to provide as well?

All partners are to provide this information please.

16.We would like some clarification, we have only filed one year of accounts but are not the lead organisation for the bid, can you advise if this is acceptable please?

Yes, that is absolutely fine.

17.Can you please confirm whether diagrams are permitted as part of the bidder’s response to the method statements? If yes, can you please confirm whether diagrams will be included or excluded from the stated page limit?

Relevant diagrams can be included in a separate attachment(s), please refer to the attachment explicitly in your response.  These will not be counted as part of the page limit, we do however encourage you to be succinct in your answers and the information you provide.

18.Can you please confirm whether or not bidders are permitted to attach appendices to support the word/page limited method statement responses? If yes, can you please confirm whether appendices will be included or excluded from the total page limit for that question?

Yes appendices (such as existing policies, implementation plans or budget breakdowns) can be included in addition to the page limit.  If so please refer to the attachment explicitly in your response. If lengthy (10 pages plus) attachments are being sent please highlight where the relevant points can be found within the attachments.  We do however encourage you to be succinct in your answers and the information you provide.

19.With regard to the stated page limits can you please confirm what the minimum acceptable margin sizes are (top, bottom as well as left & right)?

The margins must be within a printable A4 area.

20.Can you please confirm whether bidders may submit their completed responses in pdf?

Yes, bidders are permitted to send their completed responses in PDF.

21.With regard to the request for clarification deadline, can you please confirm what time on 25th April the deadline is?

Midnight on 25th.


West Sussex specific FAQs

FAQs relating specifically to the invitation to tender for West Sussex Connect

22.Will delivery of the Connect Service incur VAT?

SafeLives believes that all, or almost all, of the Connect service can be classified as a Welfare Service under Schedule 9 Group 7 VATA 1994, and is therefore exempt from VAT.  However, this is a judgement that the chosen provider must confirm for themselves as SafeLives are unable to accept any liability for incorrect application of VAT. 

23.If VAT is incurred during delivery of the Connect Service, can SafeLives recover this?

SafeLives cannot recover any VAT, and this should not be used as an assumption when budgeting.  Any VAT incurred must be managed within the budget quoted within the Invitation to Tender.   As above, any incurred VAT is the responsibility of the service provider.

24.Is it possible for the Connect contract to be held by a non-charitable trading subsidiary and then delivery to be sub-contracted to its charitable parent organisation?

The contract allows general sub-contracting of services and this would fall within that.  Any such bid will need to include a clear explanation of how responsibility and accountability will work.

25.How do you submit the documents for tender, in most of the guidance it states to email this inbox, however, at the beginning of document 5 you make reference to ‘uploading (our) response to the esourcing portal’. Could you clarify this for us please?

Proposals must be submitted electronically within a zip file using the template provided. Please deliver the electronic copy to: The Project Management Office - pmo@safelives.org.uk

26.Could you let us know the proposed salary for all the seconded posts to ensure we pull all staff working on Connect, in line with those who are seconded?

West Sussex have decided that the seconded posts will be the Connect lead (£38,237 – £41,025) and x2 Community Idvas (£21,268 - £23,398).  We understand salaries differ according to organisation and so we’d be looking for tenderers to set staff salaries and ensure sustainability for the duration of the project. There is no explicit requirement for salaries to match those of seconded staff.

27.Can you also clarify that those who will be seconded will still be managed by the organisation who wins the contract?

Yes, seconded employees will be managed by the appointed service

28.Will the provider be responsible for travel and any expenses related to the seconded posts?

Yes the provider will need to cover travel and any other expenses related to seconded posts and should factor this into the Connect budget.

29.Are there are any costs of office spaces at the IPEH hubs?

There will be no cost to the successful bidder when using the IPEH hubs.  We acknowledge that agencies may not be local to the hubs and so enabling Connect to be as flexible and successful as possible may mean using the hubs for some of the delivery but not all aspects of it.

30.What space/number of desks are being made available?

This will be determined once an organisation(s) has been identified.  However, West Sussex and Safelives will ensure all resources needed for the successful delivery of Connect are in place for the commencement of the project.

31.Are there any group rooms within the hubs that are available?

There will be adequate rooms and space for successful delivery of the groups within the IPEH hubs.

32.Regarding the salary of the seconded posts – will this be made available on the website?

The seconded post’s salaries are as follows; Connect lead (at a salary band of £38,237 – £41,025) and x2 Community Idvas (£21,268 - £23,398)

33.The West Sussex Connect model has been developed from a previous project and the roles recognise the findings from this project, therefore, do you have indicative salaries set for these roles as each proposal will include these roles?

As described in the design documents, the model, team and approach have evolved over time, but are all original to the Connect model and are not derived from any previous project.  Expertise and best practice from existing, new and developing projects and roles have all contributed to what we have created.

The following are indicative salaries for the roles. These are based on average salaries for equivalent roles in the area. These are for information only.  We understand that salaries differ according to organisation and so we’d be looking for tenderers to set staff salaries. Salaries will not be prescribed by SafeLives and where posts are secondments there is no explicit requirement for salaries to match those of seconded staff.

West Sussex have decided that the seconded posts will be the Connect lead (at a salary band of £38,237 – £41,025) and x2 Community Idvas (£21,268 - £23,398). Indicative salaries for the Engage workers, Children and Young People workers, Group coordinator and Peer coordinator is around £24,000. The Skills Enhancer is around £30,000 and the Business support role; £20,000.

34.We note that local organisations have been involved in the creation of the whole family model – are they now able to bid for these tenders and would their previous involvement and knowledge offer an added advantage that other bidders may not have?

Yes, any qualifying service can bid, including those who are currently working with SafeLives in other capacities, or have done so in the past.  SafeLives and the partnership have been careful to provide the same information to all so that no one is disadvantaged.  There is no further information on the proposed service beyond that included in the Service Specification, Contract and Final Designs. SafeLives worked with five grassroots domestic abuse specialist services from around the country (none of whom are based locally in West Sussex or Norfolk). Partners organisations involved to date have not been privy to any procurement or contractual discussions. All bidders will be treated fairly and equally and in full accordance with the communicated process.   

35.Can we bid on our own without being in a partnership/consortium?


36. Can you clarify how this service will fit with other DA services across West Sussex, particularly those funded by OPCC (if any)?

Connect builds on the existing high risk response to domestic abuse through Marac and Idva and will link and work closely with the Domestic Abuse services across West Sussex.  We have worked with Worth to ensure referral pathways are clear and succinct and we are continuing do this up until the commencement of the project with other agencies. As this is a new model and a pilot, relationships will develop and evolve as we have more of an understanding of the referred client’s needs. The Connect Lead will sit on the VAWG forum in West Sussex.

37. Could we have an overview of the current roles and experience of those being transferred - 2x Community Idva and 1x Connect Delivery Lead?

Please see Appendix 1 on the tender page for role profiles: http://www.safelives.org.uk/news-views/getting-it-right-first-time-tender-opportunity

The seconded roles will be Idva and Senior Idva who have worked for Worth and West Sussex for a number of years. They have worked with High, Medium and Standard risk survivors and will have a very good understanding of the Domestic Abuse sector, locally.

38. Could you please provide details as to how the Connect service will link with Drive?

Connect and Drive are part of SafeLives’ and West Sussex Beacon Site Model. In terms of whether referrals will come from Drive will be determined as the project progresses. The Beacon Site governance incorporates a joined up approach between the survivor and perpetrator models. Strategic and operational management between projects will be succinct and in partnership.

39. Slide 25 of the webinar states that the lead organisation has to be “not for profit, voluntary sector or charitable organisations (VSCs) or a consortium of such”. Are limited companies able to bid for West Sussex Connect?

This is an error on the slides – Limited companies are able to bid for West Sussex Connect.

40.Please could we see a copy of West Sussex County Council’s expenses policy?

Yes, please see the subsistence policy

41.In regards the third element of question 33 on page 7 of the Standard Selection Questionnaire (Document 5A), please can you confirm what supporting documentation you are seeking in accordance with regulation 59 of the Public Contract Regulations?

Only the successful bidder will need to submit the relevant documentation. At this stage bidders are asked only to confirm that they are able to produce those documents if they are successful.

Details of section 59 can be found at this link, and an explanation of the European Single Procurement Document to which it refers, can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/public-procurement/e-procurement/espd/

If the bidder is satisfied that they are able to meet the information requirements within if required to do so, then that is all that is necessary at this point.

42. Please could Commissioners clarify whether bidders are required to provide computer and phone equipment for the 3 seconded West Sussex County Council posts or whether they will be bringing those across with them?

Phones and electronic equipment will be the responsibility of the appointed service for those seconded to Connect from West Sussex County Council.

43. Clauses 26.2 and 26.3 of the contract state that If a complaint is received about the services, SafeLives may uphold the complaint and can withhold or deduct a maximum of 10% of the contract price payable for that month – and such deduction represents a genuine pre-estimate of the loss likely to be suffered by SafeLives.  Please can you advise of the exact parameters for withholding and in addition what metric you will use to calculate amount withheld.

Any decision on whether to withhold a portion of the payment – and the value being withheld - will be based on the nature of the complaint, the understood cause and the severity of the impact to the individual making the complaint, the service delivery partner and SafeLives.  Due to the complexity of the service being delivered and the variety of risks inherent in any Domestic Violence service provision it is not possible to categorise all types and causes of complaint and the resulting likely responses.  Any such decision will be fully explained at the time it is made, and will only follow rigorous review with the delivery partner.

Additional information for West Sussex tenderers

Following the interviews for the Norfolk Connect tender we thought it would be useful to provide some additional information on what the West Sussex interview panel will be looking for from tenderers. In addition to the evaluation criteria set out in the Invitation to Tender, the panel will be looking for tenderers to demonstrate:

•           Enthusiasm for the Connect model and how it will enhance the work of their organisation(s);

•           A clear understanding of the local landscape and how they will work effectively in partnership with local agencies;

•           How they will contribute to sustainability including up-skilling and supporting the multi-agency practitioners to embed the overall approach more generally;

•           A close link with survivors of domestic abuse; reflecting the difference the service will make to families affected by domestic abuse in terms of engagement and outcomes; and

•           Where bidding as part of a consortium the organisations will be expected to demonstrate how they will work as a joined-up and cohesive team to deliver the Connect model.


Norfolk specific FAQs

FAQs relating specifically to the invitation to tender for Norfolk Connect

Please could you clarify the submission date?

The submission date is midnight at the end of 23rd March.

Please could you clarify which system we should use for clarification questions & submitting the tender?

All tender enquiries and submissions should be directed to pmo@safelives.org.uk.  Please note the Norwich City Council in-tend system will not facilitate applications for the Norfolk Connect tender, and should be used for information purposes only.

Can the Authority confirm that, as a new service, there is no TUPE?

Yes, there are no planned secondments or transfers of staff.  Recruitment is the responsibility of the service provider, within the requirements defined in the service specification and draft contract.

With  reference 2.5 (Service Specification) and Schedule 5 (Invitation to Tender) can the Authority confirm any office/resource cost contributions providers are expected to pay as part of the co-location agreement  in the Early Help Hub?

Please note that the Norwich Early Help Hub is not provided for co-location of the entire Connect service.  However, it is expected that there will be daily attendance for contribution to the daily Early Help Hub collaboration meeting by some of the Connect service staff.  There will be no costs attached to operating from Norwich Early Help Hub for voluntary sector providers.  However, the arrangement will need to follow current hot desking procedures, whereby partners access their own work systems via wifi using their own mobile devices, lap top computers or tablets and mobile telephones.  The successful provider will need to liaise with Early intervention and community safety manager at Norwich City Council to determine available days and times for participation.

In the previous documentation supplied at the engagement event it stated 2 children & young people workers, but the ITT states 2.5, please can you confirm that this has been increased by a part time post?

Yes, this post has now increased to 2.5 in Norwich.

Can you clarify the in kind budget outlined on slide 24 of the presentation:  

"2. In-kind funding provided by and Norfolk Funding Partners, which may be up to 25% of the whole budget". Does this refer to the items that will be provided by the partnership or is this available for the applicant? What might that cover?”

Since the local workshops the model has developed and there is now no in-kind element in this tender, as all Norfolk provision is in cash. Please ensure bids are based only on the tender documentation provided and not on any previously circulated materials as it is important that all bids are based upon the same information.

Please may we raise the following clarifications regarding the contract terms and conditions:

Page 7 – The definition of ‘funding partners’ requirements’ suggests that requirements set by funding partners in relation to this contract/service would apply. Please could you identify what these additional requirements may be at this stage?

The contract reflects all funding partner requirements we are currently aware of.

Clauses 25.3 and 25.4 – If a complaint is received about the services, SafeLives may uphold the complaint and can withhold or deduct a maximum of 10% of the contract price payable for that month. Please could you advise as to the calculation used to decide the amount deducted?

This would be at the discretion of SafeLives, however a more specific formula may be identified during contract negotiation if this was required and could be mutually agreed.  

Clause 31.2.4 – We need to have in place any specific insurances identified in the funding partners’ requirements. Please could we clarify which specific insurances will be required in addition to those mentioned in clause 33?

These are the insurance requirements listed in 33.2

Clause 36 – We currently have no right to terminate the agreement. Please can we request that this clause is amended to a mutual clause?  

Unfortunately we’re unable to enter into any contract negotiations until the tender has been awarded.  However, given certain conditions, there is no obvious reason why this could not be accommodated.

We note that page 9 of the ITT states that the budget includes VAT.  This is very unusual as tenders usually ask for pricing to be submitted exclusive of VAT.  Please can you confirm that this is not an error and that providers’ prices are to include VAT?

We confirm that the budget is inclusive of VAT.

What are the expected levels of public liability insurance?

We expect the delivery partner to take out and maintain public liability insurance in a minimum of £10million. Please refer to section 33.2 of the draft contract for more information.

This was incorrectly recorded in the draft contract as a minimum of £5million – this has now been updated to reflect the correct amount.