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Tender enquiries

This page will be updated with any new enquiries every Monday between 14 October and 25 November.

General enquiries - 18.11.13

There were no general enquiries this week.


Site-specific enquiries - 18.11.13

There were no general enquiries this week.


General enquiries - 11.11.13

Q: Can you confirm that as part of the PQQ / tender process, I need to provide a base figure (£) that I would offer the Forestry Commission for being the learning provider at one of the sites?  The idea being I would deliver enough sessions to cover this outlay and then hopefully make a profit!

A: At the PQQ stage, you do not need to provide a financial offer.

When we have received the completed PQQs and assessed them, providers who have met the PQQ requirements will be invited to tender, and at this stage to submit a business plan.

It is in the business plan that you will need to propose figures for a base rate (a standard amount that you will pay the FC each year for permission to run your business on the public forest estate) and a % of turnover (a variable amount that depends on how much business you generate and how many groups you work with).

These figures can vary from one year to the next - we anticipate that they will be low in the first year while you are establishing your business, and will probably get higher as the years go on.

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that we (the FC) really want the learning businesses to be successful, so we will not be expecting large amounts of money to come to us from the learning providers. What we want, is to nurture and encourage businesses on our sites, so that we can work towards our aim of providing learning opportunities for everyone everywhere.

Q: Reference the financial parts of the PQQ:

A statement of your turnover, profit and loss account and cash flow for the most recent year of trading. Is this a full year?

A: Yes, preferably if you have been trading for over a full year.

Q: Is this before the accounts have been audited?

A: Post audit would be better

Q: Would this take into consideration depreciation? 

A: It does not matter if it is on your accounts then we will note that.

Q: A statement of your cash flow forecast for the current year and a bank letter outlining the current cash and credit position.

We are very happy to provide statements etc, however is a bank letter required, when we can provide evidence of current contracts?

A: Preferably, but we do know that some banks will not provide them.


Site-specific enquiries - 11.11.13


Q: Is there scope to develop / make use of an on-site building, existing or new, for learning activity/storage?

A: There is no provision for storage, but it is currently possible to hire out the Ridge Studios (space next to our cafe)


General enquiries - 4.11.13

Q: What is the Forestry Commission's role within this arrangement i.e. is it sponsor, partner, employer, or landlord to the business?   

A: The Forestry Commission is the landlord and will oversee the licence, ensuring that KPIs are met.

Q: What provision will there be from the Forestry Commission other than providing site-related resources? What marketing/promotion/publicity advantages will be offered? 

A: We, the Forestry Commission, really want the learning businesses to be a success, and will give the licensees all the help and support we can to establish their businesses.

We will promote the businesses on the learning pages of our website, and will direct any enquiries from schools or other learners straight to the licensee.

The exact nature of the support will vary from site to site, depending on the needs of the licensee, but it is in our interests to make the businesses a success.

We will provide information and activity ideas to help the licensees to incorporate our learning messages into their provision.

There will be no direct financial support: for example, we will not purchase equipment for the licensee and will not pay for advertising for individual businesses, but we expect that the licensees will benefit from general site advertising, and general national and district advertising of our learning offer.

Q: Will the business be able to exploit any links with local schools the Forestry Commission has already established? 

A: If there are any existing relationships with local schools, these will be made known to the licensee - the significance of this will vary from site to site, depending on whether any previous learning provision was done by the Forestry Commission or by a former licensee.


Site-specific enquiries - 4.11.13

There were no site-specific enquiries this week.


General enquiries - 28.10.13

Q: Is it a requirement that the licensee’s accounts are audited? Is this carried out by the Forestry Commission or is it the responsibility of the licensee to set this up independently?  

A: For details of the financial requirements at the PQQ stage, please see Part B on page 26. It is the applicant's responsibility to have the accounts audited.

Q: Can you give details of what documentation will by required by the Forestry Commission at the ITT (invitation to tender) stage?

A: At the ITT stage, you will be required to provide a business plan as detailed on page 6 of the PQQ and referred to on page 28 (section C6). In addition, we will wish to see your health and safety policy as explained on page 27 of the PQQ and your first aid and other certificates that you have referred to in your PQQ as explained on page 31 of the PQQ.

Q: Is the Forestry Commission looking for small businesses or large organisations to become the licensees through this tender?

A: The Forestry Commission has no pre-conceived ideas about who will tender for these opportunities and we welcome applications and enquiries from any business, whether established or just starting out, and whether a sole trader, working with a partner, a national organisation or anything else in between.


Site-specific enquiries - 28.10.13

There were no site-specific enquiries this week.


General enquiries - 21.10.13

There were no general enquiries this week.


Site-specific enquiries - 21.10.13

West Walk

Q: In the site rules document for West Walk, there is no permission for overnight stays on site as part of learning activities. I would like to know if this is negotiable? 

A: Overnight sessions may be possible, but each one would need to be agreed in advance with local FC staff, as they wouldn't be the norm, as explained in the rules document.


General enquiries - 14.10.13

Q: Can each business opportunity be tendered for individually or does one provider have to apply for all nine sites?

A: Providers may tender for any one or more of the opportunities.

Q: Please could you clarify what you are expecting the provider to pay to the FC in terms of fees. It looks as if you expect the licensee to generate enough income to pay for the development work, materials, resources, staff to deliver, insurance, Quality Badge etc, and also to pay a fee to FC upfront. Is this correct? 

A: At the ITT (invitation to tender) stage, providers must supply a business plan, in which they must offer a base rate and a % of audited turnover to be paid to the FC.

Most of these business opportunities are new, so the potential amount of income is unknown.

It is therefore up to the provider to suggest achievable amounts, which could vary from year to year as the business grows.

The % rate could be very low in the first year for example, when other costs (accreditation, purchase of resources etc) are likely to be higher.


Site-specific enquiries - 14.10.13


Q: In the site rules document for Cardinham Woods, there is no permission for campfires in learning activities. I would like to know if this is negotiable?

A: Due to past experiences with members of the public lighting campfires and leaving them unattended on site, we are not currently able to allow campfires of any kind at Cardinham.


Q: At section E1(page 30) of the PQQ it states "*The learning business opportunity at Bedgebury is for teambuilding programmes only". Does this mean the provider at Bedgebury won't be expected to deliver the other activities listed in section 2.3?

A: Yes, that's right – the only opportunity currently being offered at Bedgebury is to run the teambuilding programmes, which includes team and mapreading challenges and shelterbuilding.

Hicks Lodge

Q: Where would the income go for ‘Ranger in a Box’ at Hicks Lodge?

A: The licensee will promote the Forestry Commission’s self-led resource, ‘Ranger in a Box’, for any groups requesting a self-led session during their visit. The licensee should charge £50 for the hire of this resource and keep a record of the number of times it is used. The Forestry Commission will then invoice the licensee monthly for these sessions at £40 each, allowing the licensee to keep 20% of the cost.

Hicks Lodge

Q: Can the meeting room at Hicks Lodge be used as a classroom and would there be a cost?

A: As stated in the ‘site facilities’ document, “There is a small meeting room; bookings are made through the café on a first come, first served basis; there may be a minimal charge for this and licensee must clean the room after use.”

However, in reality, the meeting room is usually booked several days a week already, so the licensee should not rely on this facility being available.