We have received a number of queries about tendering for services within Kick the Dust, and whether partners can be paid for delivery of some aspects of the project without further tender. The issue is whether, in alignment with procurement law, the lead applicant needs to tender services with a value of over £10k, where it is expected that one of the consortium partners is well-placed to deliver this.
Partners can be paid for project delivery where their role is clearly set out in the application - and therefore that HLF decision takers are sufficiently apprised of the arrangement at the point of award.
We do not specify the particular partnership or legal arrangements that might underpin a given consortium, but partnership agreements and/or other similar agreements between consortium members will be useful evidence and applicants should focus on making them clear. The proposal should outline why the partners involved are best-placed to deliver services and the ambition of the Kick the Dust project; and how value for money and quality of work will be ensured.
This arrangement stands for work packages that exceed the £164k threshold within the OJEU European Procurement Directive, subject to a clear description of way services will achieve outcomes and offer value for money.
The clear exceptions are when:
- commercial, for-profit, partners are involved in a consortia;
- services are being delivered in a ‘transactional’ way – by organisations (especially for-profit ones) that aren’t part of the consortium, but that are required to deliver services that assist the project.
In both such cases, this sort of work should be tendered under the usual conditions.
Consortia may evolve and/or grow over time, and new organisations that join a consortium may also have funds directly allocated to them, without tendering, where their role is clearly outlined and justified in the annual activity plan and agreed as part of the monitoring process.
This guidance applies only to the Kick the Dust programme where we have specifically asked for consortia-based projects as part of the pilot.