The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has written to all training providers in order to clarify the transitional arrangements in place for non-levy funding. In the letter, ESFA says that to maintain stability through the transitional period we will continue to apply current subcontracting rules to the delivery of new starts to non-levy-paying employers through to December 2017.”
Mark Dawe, chief executive at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers said his organisation has “Pressed really hard and constantly for the existing subcontracting rules to remain in place until the end of December because we need stability in the relationships between the main providers and the subcontractors. The Agency’s decision to respond positively to our call is very sensible; otherwise we could have seen massive shifts in relationships unless agreed by both parties.
“However while this element of today’s communication is very helpful, providers will only learn by 25 April what their allocations will be for the remainder of 2017. This is good news, but it only leaves 6 days until 1 May. The notification is vital because providers really need to know what funding they will have available for starts and carry-over learners.”
Full text of the letter can be found below:
Re: Extension of existing apprenticeship contracts for delivery to non-levy employers
We recently published news about the procurement exercise for apprenticeship training provision. I am writing to provide you with further details on the actions we will take to extend existing contracts held by eligible providers. A summary of actions is included at the end of the letter.
By 25 April we will confirm your allocations for funding starts to non-levy-paying employers through to December 2017. Your allocation will be for the full 8 months and you will have flexibility to use it over this period. We will issue separate allocations for 16-18 and adult apprenticeships. We will continue our simple approach to calculating your allocations, based on your delivery track record. All existing apprenticeship contract holders will be informed of their allocation so that once they enter RoATP they are able to deliver.
We will also confirm the value of Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) available to you through to the end of July 2017. These will be calculated using our previous allocation method.
Before 28 April we will vary your existing contract to include funding for new starts from 01 May. These starts will be funded in line with the Apprenticeship Funding and Performance Management Rules 2017 to 2018 and Apprenticeship Technical Funding Guide for starts from May 2017. This means that the rules on co-investment will apply and funding will be calculated using the new funding bands.
To maintain stability through the transitional period we will continue to apply current subcontracting rules to the delivery of new starts to non-levy-paying employers through to December 2017. This is an extension of the existing subcontracting rules with the exception that all subcontractors must have entered the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) to deliver during this period where they are delivering in excess of £100,000 of apprenticeship delivery.
We will send variations to those providers who have entered the RoATP and have an existing apprenticeship contract. We are currently assessing applications to RoATP following the recent re-opening. Results will be notified and published as early as possible in May 2017. As soon as existing providers enter RoATP they will be able to deliver to non-levy paying employers and will receive a contract variation.
We will vary contracts again in June to extend the contract duration into the 2017 to 2018 funding year and fund new starts until the end of December 2017. This variation will be issued as part of our annual contract cycle.
We will update our Apprenticeship Funding and Performance Management Rules 2017 to 2018 to reflect these transitional arrangements to contract extensions. Our performance management approach will focus on ensuring stability over this period. The rules will set out that we will continue to reduce contracts where performance is below our expectation.