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AELP Fears re ESFA Subcontracting Ban
November 19, 2019
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The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has today recommended a new, more “robust approach” to subcontracting in an effort to avoid an outright ban.

Subcontracting in FE, the practice of one provider paying another to deliver the training, has never been far from scandal and controversy. It has already been banned for advanced learner loan funded courses.

AELP fear funding agency considering outright subcontracting ban

In what the AELP describes as a “last chance saloon” for subcontracting apprenticeships and adult education budget funding, its chief executive, Mark Dawe, claims “by incorporating the recommendations in our submission into its rules, the agency can avoid ministers demanding a ban”.

The ESFA announced plans last month for a radical overhaul of its subcontracting rules amid high-profile cases of fraud, while Ofsted has launched research into the practice.

In its submission, the AELP said the “vast majority” of subcontracting is “high quality” and officials must not take a “damagingly blunt” approach to address the behaviours of a small number of providers.

The requirement and expectations of main providers who subcontract out government funding should be “much more robust” in order to ensure integrity.

AELP has produced a checklist of the “minimum expectations” of the main provider, which they say is significantly above and beyond the current ESFA rules and “should be adopted across the sector”.

This includes: acceptable fees, charges and additional services, quality monitoring and quality assurance, MIS, audit and ILR services, and contracting management (read the full report here).

The association says there also needs to be clarity on the “different types of subcontracting and what is and what isn’t a subcontract to help alleviate confusion across the sector, including with employers”.

AELP has used its submission paper to again call again for fees and charges not to exceed 20 per cent of the funding – a recommendation that has been adopted by the Greater London Authority and other mayoral combined authorities with devolved adult education funding.

This maximum cap would “block the profiteering of a small number of providers who commoditise their privileged access to government funding and ensure value for money”.

AELP adds that there should be a clear policy on management fees and charges being only applicable to core funding and not additional funding “designed to support specific groups of learners or to support certain additional needs”.

ESFA should also procure funding from providers that is “continuously subcontracted out on a transitional basis”, the association’s submission said.

“Recent examples of subcontracting malpractice do not justify at all a call for an outright ban on subcontracting in the sector, but a much more robust approach on the part of the ESFA and Ofsted would make a huge difference in stopping further examples occurring,” Dawe (pictured) said.

“Over the last ten years, AELP feels that the ESFA has rather dragged its heels in making the required changes needed in its funding rules to put the issue to bed and we are probably now in the last chance saloon.”

He added: “Let’s have no more prevarication around this issue which has been damaging the sector’s reputation for far too long. Change the rules now.”

Eileen Milner, the chief executive of the ESFA, sent a sector-wide letter last month warning of rule changes to subcontracting and that she will take strong action against any provider that abuses the system.

She said there are currently 11 live investigations into subcontracting, with issues underpinning them ranging in seriousness from “complacency and mismanagement”, through to matters of “deliberate and systematic fraud”.

She revealed the government will review its current subcontracting rules later this year.

Ofsted’s research will mainly look at whether management fees, which have controversially grown to as much as 40 per cent on subcontract values, are having a detrimental impact on learners’ education.

There have been a number of high-profile subcontracting scandals in recent years. The most recent involved Brooklands College and resulted in the ESFA demanding a £20 million clawback.

AELP & DfE Complimentary Workshops: T Levels – Purpose and Planning
February 19, 2019
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Tuesday, 12 March 2019 – Hilton Leeds City, Leeds
Thursday, 21 March 2019 – etc.venues Victoria, London

Overview

The current T level proposals are part of a wider approach to the reform of technical education that it is vital all in our sector understand. Providers have recently been invited to express an interest to deliver the programme in 2021 to 2022 academic year, including the transition offer. Supported by DfE and in association with the Gatsby Foundation, AELP is running this half-day workshop that will enable those still unfamiliar with T levels to understand more about what they are and how they will work, and give those with more knowledge the chance to encourage planning ahead for how their introduction may impact on current provision and provide opportunities for new provision going forward.

Content
Read more

T-level Awareness Webinar
October 26, 2018
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AELP Press Release
October 9, 2018
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Association of Employment and Learning Providers

Press release – Monday 8 October 2018

Education Committee report on Apprenticeship

Government should adopt MPs’ recommendations on the apprenticeship reforms without delay

The recommendations in the Education Committee’s report, expertly steered by Robert Halfon MP, are to be warmly welcomed and the government should waste no time in implementing all of them, according to the Association of Employment and Learning Providers which represents providers that train 3 out of every 4 apprentices in England.

It is a pity that the excellent set of observations and recommendations may be overshadowed by media headlines of ‘poor quality training’, especially when Ofsted’s chief inspector has said herself that 80% of current apprentices are receiving good or outstanding training.  That said, every apprentice should be on at least a good programme and the Committee has hit the nail on the head when it identifies as a major issue the government’s letting into the apprenticeship market a mass of untested providers and assessors with few controls and limited monitoring. Read more

AELP Respond to ESFA Announcement on Apprenticeship Service Transition

The Education and Skills Funding Agency announced on 9 August that all employers would not be able to use the apprenticeship service to access apprenticeship funding from April 2019 as previously planned. 

To ensure a more gradual and stable transition, the Agency will instead extend current contracts for training providers delivering training for employers that do not pay the apprenticeship levy
for 12 months, from April 2019 to March 2020.

Responding to this announcement, AELP chief policy officer Simon Ashworth said:

Read more

Traineeship Barriers
August 3, 2018
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The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) followed up its earlier work on Traineeships suggesting that there is still a long way to go and pointing to actions, including:

– A review of how growth requests are managed

– More public support and backing from Government

– More engagement and access to direct funding for Traineeship subcontractors

– Removal of some unhelpful ‘success measures’ 

–  Tackling the disjoint between the recognised and accepted aims of the programme and how provider performance is currently being measured

Download the Briefing Paper Here

AELP Launches New Code of Good Governance for Independent Training Providers

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) is consulting on a new Code of Good Governance for Independent Training Providers who deliver publicly funded skills programmes on behalf of the government.

The draft Code sets out the key themes and principles which any provider in the sector will need to adopt in order to show that it is conducting its business in the best interest of its trainees, Training employers, key stakeholders and funders.

It adopts and builds on the Seven (Nolan) Principles of Public Life which provide an ethical framework for the personal behaviour of a provider’s board members and leadership.

These standards are:

  1. Selflessness
  2. Integrity
  3. Objectivity
  4. Accountability
  5. Openness
  6. Honesty
  7. Leadership

With support from the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL), the Code has been designed to apply to all independent training providers (ITPs), including limited companies, charities and not-for-profit organisations and AELP is strongly recommending that all of its ITP members adopt it. Read more

City & Guilds Report Employers Unprepared for T-Levels
May 31, 2018
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Many employers feel they don’t have a good understanding of T-Levels, according to City & Guilds.

With two years to go until their introduction, just 17% of UK employers feel that they have a good understanding of T-Levels, with almost half (49%) rating their understanding as poor. Additionally, 54% of education providers rate their understanding as either middling or poor.

T-Levels were announced in the 2017 Spring Budget, with the aim to replace 15,000 technical qualifications with 15 vocational routes, including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, health, and science.

A key part of the T-Level programme is a mandatory 45-day work placement. Currently most employers (71%) and training providers (74%) offer work placements of one to two weeks for 16- to 19-year-olds. Only 8% of employers provide placements of the duration required for T-Levels, meaning a step change will be required to accommodate these placements in industry, the research stated.

In addition, there will need to be a significant increase in the number of work placement students employers take on, with an estimated 180,000 placements needed per year.

More encouragingly, most employers expressed support for this part of the new qualification, with almost three-quarters (74%) of those surveyed saying they are willing to play a greater role in helping students apply their learning in a workplace setting. However, both employers and training providers cited concerns around the implementation of the work placements.

Read more

AELP Parlimentary Newsletter 24: May 2018
May 24, 2018
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AELP Parliamentary Newsletter 24 – May 2018

AELP Guidance for Providers
May 11, 2018
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This document has been produced by AELP as a guide to help providers and employers understand and work to the current ESFA funding rules on planning and delivering a minimum of 20% off-the-job training (OTJT).

Both the ESFA and DfE have seen this guidance and provided feedback during its development.

https://www.aelp.org.uk/media/2248/otj-guidance-and-case-study-may-2018-final.pdf