Market Engagement

The purpose of market engagement is to engage with awarding organisations (AO) before starting the procurement to understand the market and what AO can offer. We will carry out some form of market engagement with potential AOs, either by an event, sharing draft invitation to tender (ITT) documents for the market to provide feedback and/or a survey.

This is the start of a formal competitive tendering process, whereby AOs are invited to provide offers and bid for work. The ITT documents are published and include (but not limited to):

  • terms of participation
  • service requirements
  • contract
  • evaluation methodology
  • selection and award questionnaires
  • pricing schedule
  • conflict interest declaration

These documents set out what services we are looking to procure, as well as the evaluation process that is to be followed. Potential AOs wanting to bid for the work will have to answer a series of questions to ensure that it has:

  • sufficient economic and financial standing to deliver the services under the contract
  •  has suitable organisational and operational capability and capacity to deliver the services
  • has both competitive pricing and demonstrated high quality plans to deliver the service

Bids Submitted and Evaluated

When bids have been completed and submitted by potential AOs, we will evaluate all the bids received (as set out on the evaluation methodology document).


We will put forward its recommendations based on the outcome of the evaluation through its governance to be signed off.

Contract award

Bidding AOs will be notified of the outcome, and those who are successful will be notified as to the preferred AOs for the tender and awarded the contract. A period of at least 10 days will have to pass between the notification of the contract award and the signing of the contract.

The role of Ofqual during the T Level procurement process

It is a mandatory requirement that the AO who is selected to provide the services under this procurement must be recognised by Ofqual to deliver the relevant technical qualification at the point of contract award. 

If an AO is already recognised by Ofqual (for any qualification), the tender response will be treated as an application for extended recognition to offer the technical qualification for that specific pathway. The tender response will provide the required information to Ofqual.

AOs that are not currently recognised by Ofqual for any qualification will be required to have submitted their application to Ofqual for recognition prior to the point of submission of their tender response to a T Level procurement.

Next steps after contract award

Once the contract has been awarded to the successful AO, they will have to develop the technical qualification, for which they have been successful.

The AO will then have up to 12 months to work with schools and colleges to ensure they are ready to teach the technical qualification. The technical qualification will then be taught at the start of that academic year.

Bidding for a technical qualification

The procurement of T Levels is managed through IfATE's e-tendering portal Proactis / ProContract.

If you are an AO and interested in developing and delivering a technical qualification register an account on the tool via Proactis/ProContract portal.

There is no charge for registering an account on the portal environment, and to take part in IfATE's purchasing activities going forward, you must have an account registered on the portal.

Support is available to help potential suppliers to understand and use the system, it includes: