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UK SBS PS16240 Islamic Finance Advice to support development of Alternative Student Finance

UK SHARED BUSINESS SERVICES LIMITED | Published February 21, 2017  -  Deadline March 7, 2017
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**THE CLOSING DATE FOR THIS TENDER IS 07th MARCH 2017, PLEASE DO NOT APPLY DIRECT TO THE BUYER** The Department for Education (DFE) is running an open tender for experts in Islamic Finance to support the design and delivery of Alternative Student Finance (ASF). DfE are responsible for ASF policy development and the legislation required to enable its provision. DfE will delegate the functions required to deliver ASF, as it does for the current student loans system. There is a concern that the system outlined above could deter some prospective students who feel unable to use interest-bearing loans for religious reasons, particularly some Muslim students, from participation in higher and some further education. To ensure participation and choice are open to all the Government is currently legislating, subject to Parliament, in order to be able to offer an alternative model of student finance. The concept of alternative student finance was widely supported during public consultation in 2014 (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/sharia-compliant-student-finance). In May 2016 the Higher Education and Research Bill was introduced, and it is currently before Parliament. It seeks to amend the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 to provide the Secretary of State with the power, for the first time, to offer "alternative payments" alongside her existing powers to offer grants and loans. There is significant work to be done on the design and implementation of the alternative student finance model in order to be able to launch it for students. The consultants we are seeking will be required to provide verbal and written advice, recommendations and validation of output to ensure that ASF, based on the Takaful model, meets the criteria set out in this document and can be delivered in good time. The consultant(s) will need to be able to: •	work with policy makers in DfE and operational delivery experts in partner organisations to find solutions to the challenges of delivering ASF •	provide oral and written advice and recommendations on design and delivery •	be available to troubleshoot when problems materialise and provide options for resolution where applicable •	travel to, attend and partake in workshops and meetings in London, Glasgow, Darlington and elsewhere , and participate in telephone conferences •	build support in the Muslim community and lead work to secure appropriate acceptance and approval •	provide verbal and written comments having reviewed proposed documentation (such as text on GOV.UK, letters regarding ASF, contract etc.)
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