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Awarding Organisations

We are working with the Association of Colleges (AoC) and Crescent Purchasing Consortium to develop an agreement for the provision of awarding organisations to the public education sector. The solution will ensure compliance with recently introduced EU procurement legislation, as well as, increase value for money and ease of selection.

A central contracting route to market does not currently exist and, although there have been some local collaborative initiatives by colleges, at present the majority of colleges buy independently through informal open-ended arrangements.



In order to have a qualification recognised in England and be able to transfer credits between learning courses, educational institutions and occupations, the qualification must be accredited through Ofqual.

More than 160 organisations have the power to award qualifications in England with approval from Ofqual. 

The scope of this procurement is awarding organisations (AOs) who are able to provide recognised qualifications which require certification and assessment.

It is intended that the agreement will include both standard and vocational qualifications and services within the public education sector.

Further information on the regulatory requirements for awarding organisations can be found here.


Market engagement

Engagement is an integral part of developing our understanding of customer requirements and the dynamics of the supplier marketplace.

To ensure the development of a compliant, value for money solution for colleges we have been carrying out extensive market engagement with AOs, colleges and associated interested parties during the course of 2016.

Our goal is to ensure that all our stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the procurement strategy and that the service delivery model is fit for purpose.

Further details about the procurement can be found in the Prior Information Notice (PIN) (link below). If you are able to provide these services and are interested in expressing your interest please follow the instructions contained within the PIN. If you have any questions please email awardingorganisations[at][dot]uk


Frequently asked questions

This document provides consolidated responses to questions raised by awarding organisations and other stakeholder organisations during the engagement process. The responses reflect our current thinking around the procurement strategy and exclude questions raised around the earlier procurement model, which has developed since the event on 21 January 2016. We reserve the right to update or modify the procurement strategy at any time without prior notice.


Important links

We will update the important links below, at each stage of the project, adding to this page as information for buyers and suppliers is released.

Prior Information Notice (PIN) in OJEU

View PIN

Contract Notice in OJEU

Contract notice has not yet been published

Download tender documents

Tender documents are not yet available