1718-0254 Early Education and Childcare Provision in Children’s Centres

Islington Council invites expressions of interest from suitably qualified organisations with relevant experience to deliver and manage early education and childcare provision in children’s centre buildings in the following locations:

  • Lot 1: Hornsey Road Children’s Centre (8 Tiltman Pl, Hornsey Rd, London N7 7EN)
  • Lot 2: Paradise Park Children’s Centre (164 MacKenzie Rd, London N7 8SE)

The successful providers will have to demonstrate a strong track record and extensive experience of providing early education and childcare. They will need to demonstrate how they have improved outcomes for all children, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

In addition, the successful providers will manage the children’s centre building and be an active partner in the network of early childhood services organised through Bright Start Islington.


Children’s centres are placed in areas of most need. The provision of integrated early childhood services including education and childcare on these sites supports children and families in a range of outcomes. The Early Years Outcomes duty requires partners to work together so that children begin their school lives in good health, are able to do well at school and the gap is narrowed between those children who do least well and their peers by the age of five.

Islington Council believes every child should have an equal chance to fulfil their potential and remains committed to ensuring that childcare is affordable and that children can receive high quality support, whatever the family circumstances. Good quality childcare is important to children’s development and allows parents to take up training or work, helping the family to be independent and have a better standard of living. We contribute to the cost of childcare for low to middle income Islington resident families and make 30% of early education and childcare places in children’s centre nurseries available for children who are assessed as being ‘in need’ according to Islington’s Early Years Priority Referral criteria. Hornsey Road Children’s Centre also has three specialist places reserved for children with severe and complex educational needs.

The Bright Start Islington model sees the co-ordination and delivery of wider early childhood services organised on an area basis and led by three integrated Bright Start Islington teams. The teams work closely with other health partners and providers of early education and childcare to plan and deliver services which meet the needs of local families. Services include a range of antenatal and child health services, family and parenting support, adult training and employment opportunities. Services continue to be delivered from the existing children’s centre buildings and more use is now made of local community venues and libraries to engage a wider range of families.

The requirement

Our duty is to ensure that universal and targeted early childhood services are made available for young children and their families, particularly for disadvantaged families, in order to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities in child development and school readiness.

We are seeking to commission two organisations with relevant skills and knowledge that are able to demonstrate their experience to make a contribution to this core purpose by:

  • improving outcomes for children and families by offering high quality care and education services for children under 5 years in accordance with the council’s early years admissions and charging policies;
  • ensuring local families have access to affordable, high quality provision and support, whatever the family circumstances;
  • managing the children’s centre building including hosting Bright Start Islington integrated services;
  • being an active partner in Bright Start Islington, contributing expertise and working collaboratively to ensure local families can access the full range of services organised through Bright Start Islington.

The providers must ensure that the service is provided in a non-discriminatory, non-patronising and professional manner by staff who are experienced, appropriately qualified and courteous. At all times, staff will need to demonstrate respect for the dignity and value of children and their parents/carers and sensitivity to their individual situation and experiences.


We are seeking to commission the above services for the following two lots:

  • Lot 1: Hornsey Road Childrens Centre
  • Lot 2: Paradise Park Childrens Centre

TUPE [Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations]

Potential providers must be aware that TUPE may or may not apply to this service. Further details will be available in the invitation to tender.

Contract Period

The contract period will be for 36 months from an estimated start date 1 November 2018 with option to extend up to a further 24 months.

Contract Value

The council funding consists of childcare subsidy and funding towards the costs of the management of the building. The levels of childcare subsidy (including contribution to management) depend on occupancy levels. The funding towards the management of the building takes into account the usage of the centre for Bright Start services and a contribution towards the cost of a receptionist.

The table below shows the maximum indicative council funding per annum and in total over the maximum life of the contract for each of the two lots:


Childcare subsidy (maximum)

Management of building (maximum)

Council Funding per annum

Total Council Funding over maximum 60 month term

Lot 1





Lot 2










In addition to the total council funding stated above, income will also be generated from parental fees in accordance with Islington Council’s charging policy and from funding passported from the government for the provision of funded early education entitlements (Dedicated Schools Grant/DSG).

The table below shows the indicative funding allocation over a 12-month period and over the maximum 60 month term (based on current participation and funding rates). Please note actual funding will be based on participation. Funding will be adjusted if the actual configuration of places offered during the year is more or less than the assumption used to calculate funding.


Council Funding per annum

3&4 year old funding

2 year old funding

UFAG places

Parental Fee income

Total Indicative Funding

Total Indicative Funding per maximum 60 month term

Lot 1








Lot 2








Tenders submitted for each lot will be assessed on the annual indicative funding (council and external) above. Any bids over this amount will be disqualified.

Award criteria

The contracts will be awarded to the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) for each Lot in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations. MEAT for this contract is quality 80% and cost 20%. Further details will be provided in the invitation to tender.

Providers can bid for one or both Lots, but will only be awarded a contract for a maximum of one Lot. The highest scoring organisation for each lot will be offered a contract for that Lot. Should the same organisation be the highest scoring organisation for both Lots, they may only be awarded a contract for one Lot and therefore bidders will be required to state their order of preference in their submission. In the above scenario, the second highest scoring organisation will be offered a contract for the Lot that is second preference for the highest scoring organisation.

Award criteria


Cost – made up of


Unit costs

-       Including overheads, ratio of management costs to all other costs, and other costs (refer to tender documentation for further details)


Allocation of costs (direct costs and overheads)

-       Including staffing costs compared to total cost, contingency and staff training (refer to tender documentation for further details)


Quality – made up of


Proposed approach to achieving the service aim and positive outcomes for children and families


Proposed approach to ensuring continuous improvement and the methods used for this including self-evaluation and quality assurance


Proposed approach to contract implementation, transition and mobilisation


Proposed approach to achieving service outputs


Proposed approach to safeguarding and early help


Partnership working and approach to multi agency working within the scope of Bright Start Islington


Proposed approach to sustainability within the context of Islington’s early years admissions and charging policies




Tenderers should be aware that we reserve the right to hold site visits and interview the leading bidders during the tender process. Site visits and/or presentations and/or interviews will form part of the evaluation process and will influence the final scoring.

Procurement Process

This procurement is being conducted in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations (2015). The procurement is subject to the light-touch regime under Section 7 Social and Other Specific Services. Under Regulation 76 the council is free to establish a procedure, provided that procedure is sufficient to ensure compliance with the principles of transparency and equal treatment of economic operators (service providers). It is anticipated the approach used will be the Restricted Procedure with negotiation, applying the award criteria specified in this contract notice. The restricted procedure means the procurement process will be conducted in two stages.

The first stage will involve selecting a maximum of the five (5) highest-scoring organisations for each lot through a selection questionnaire (SQ). All submissions will be subject to minimum requirements as stated in the SQ.

The second stage will be an evaluation of tenders submitted by bidders who are selected at the SQ stage and may be invited to negotiate (as required). The purpose of the negotiation is to qualitatively improve the bid. Economic operators (service providers) who do not meet the minimum requirements will not have their full tenders evaluated or be invited to negotiate.

The procurement process may be conducted in successive stages in order to reduce the number of tenders to be negotiated by applying the award criteria specified in the contract notice.

I) Request to participate with qualitative selection:

Evaluation of SQ will include assessment of capacity, capability and minimum requirements to deliver the contract

II)Evaluation of initial tenders:

Organisations will be subject to the award criteria when invited to negotiation


The panel shall negotiate with tenderers the initial and all subsequent tenders submitted by them to improve their content, except for the final tender. The minimum requirements and award criteria shall not be subject to negotiation.

During negotiations the panel will ensure equal treatment of all tenderers and will:

Not provide information in a discriminatory manner which may give some tenderers an advantage over others;

Inform tenderers, who have not been eliminated during the successive stages in writing, of any changes to the technical specification or any other tender documents;

Following any changes, give sufficient time to tenderers to modify and re-submit tenders, as appropriate

IV) Final call for tender:

No further negotiations will take place once final tenders have been received.

We reserve the right to award on the basis of initial tenders without negotiation where this offers value for money in the opinion of the council.

We reserve the right not to award if it does not offer value for money.

Economic operators (service providers) will be required to have extensive experience of providing early education and childcare in order to be considered. This tender is not suitable for entrants to the market who have not run early education and childcare provision before. Economic operators are advised to review the minimum requirements carefully before commencing any work on the remainder of the tender documents.

Organisations applying for more than one lot at the Invitation to Tender (ITT) stage will be required to submit individual Method Statements and pricing schedules per lot.

How to express an interest

If you wish to apply for either of these contracts, please follow the steps below:

Register your company free of charge via the London Tenders Portal.


Await acceptance. You will receive an email confirming your username and password.

Use your username and password to log into the London Tenders Portal and express your interest in 1718-0254 Early Education and Childcare Provision in Children’s Centres. Categories: 80100000: Primary education services; 80000000: education and training services; 85312110: Child daycare services.

Shortly after you have expressed interest, you will receive a second email containing a link to access the selection questionnaire.


The deadline for expressions of interest is: 11.59am on Tuesday 03 April 2018

Submission of selection questionnaires by: 12 noon on Tuesday 03 April 2018

Late submissions will not be accepted.

Additional information

  • Islington Council and its partners are committed to work towards a ‘Fairer Islington’, for more information see
  • Please do not include any publicity material with your submissions.
  • Islington Council aims to provide equality of opportunity and welcomes applicants who meet the qualitative selection criteria from black and minority ethnic communities and disabled groups.
  • The Council encourages all types of organisation who meet the qualitative selection criteria including Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations, Social Enterprises or not for profit enterprises and small to medium enterprises (SME) to tender.
  • Your submission will be marked in stages. Only applicants who meet the requirements at each stage will progress to the next stage. Further details will be contained in the tender documents.
  • Please include the Contract Number of this tender process when communicating with the Council in any way.
  • All questions relating to this contract should be raised via the question and answer section of the relevant contract on the London Tenders Portal. Please do not contact any officer of the council directly.
  • Applicants are advised that all costs incurred either directly or indirectly in preparation, submission or otherwise related to this advertisement will be borne by them, and in no circumstances will the council be responsible for any such costs. Applicants are also advised that the council at its sole discretion acting reasonably and in good faith reserves the right to abandon the procurement at any stage prior to contract award.
  • As part of a commitment to transparency the council is now publishing all spend over £500 each month. This includes spend on contracts, so the successful contractor should expect details of spend against the contract to appear on the council website Islington Council: Council contracts. The council is also committed to publishing tender and contract documentation after contract award stage. Commercially sensitive information will be redacted from documentation. What constitutes commercially sensitive information is a matter for the council’s sole discretion. However, tenderers will be invited to identify information they consider to be commercially sensitive in their tender return and this will be taken into account in the council forming a view.
Was this information helpful?
  1. Please select

  2. Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.