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Delivering apprenticeships: subcontracting information

De Montfort University undertakes subcontracting agreements as part of its apprenticeship offer where a subcontracting arrangement will add value to the quality of its own or another lead provider’s apprenticeship delivery. The University operates its apprenticeship subcontracting arrangements in-line with Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) apprenticeship funding rules and associated guidance for subcontracting with delivery partners.

The university delivers Higher and Degree Level apprenticeships to business in the following sectors:  

  • Business and Administration 
  • Digital  
  • Education and Childcare 
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Health and Science 
  • Protective Services  

The University operates apprenticeship subcontracting in one of two ways: 

  • The University acts as the lead training provider and sub-contracts some of the training to a partner institution for delivery. The University retains oversight of the whole apprenticeship.
  • The University acts as a sub-contractor to another lead training provider for parts of the training. The lead provider retains oversight of the whole apprenticeship.

In normal circumstances, the University will plan and validate programmes with the intention of delivering all parts of the programme itself, without the use of subcontractors. The University will only agree to subcontract delivery of any part of an apprenticeship in the following circumstances:  

  • Where it is a contractual requirement with the employer that part of the delivery of the apprenticeship is subcontracted to them.
  • Where the University does not have the in-house expertise to deliver an essential part of the apprenticeship. 

The university will undertake a robust process of due diligence when selecting potential subcontractors to ensure the highest quality of learning delivery is made available which demonstrates value for money and has a positive impact on the experience of employers and apprentices. The university will individually assess each sub-contractor prior to any and each agreement with that sub-contractor. In some cases, the University will retain some of the delivery costs in order to manage, administrate and quality assure a subcontracting arrangement. Where this is the case, all associated costs are clearly identified within the Employer Agreement and employers are provided with an itemised breakdown of the costs. Non-standard charges may be applied to other subcontracting agreements in the future where costs savings can be mutually identified and agreed between the subcontractor and the University. 

Where any element of the programme is subcontracted to the employer or another provider, they must be either a Main or Employer Provider on ESFA’s register of Apprentice Training Providers or a registered Employer Provider. 

In all these cases, the decision to subcontract will be discussed with the employer before entering into a subcontract arrangement and will be recorded in the legal contract for services with the employer.  In line with ESFA funding rules, the University will submit a subcontractor use declaration to ESFA at least twice each year summarising the value of any sub-contracted provision paid for in the previous period. The University will also publish a summary of payments made to subcontractors in the previous year on its website each year.

The ‘Supply Chain Fees and Charges’ applies to subcontractors of the University as listed on the ‘Declaration of Subcontractors’ and notified to the ESFA. The University normally retains a maximum of 20% of funding delivered through subcontractors for a standard subcontracting agreement. This retention is calculated to cover day-to-day management of subcontracted delivery, monitoring of learner progress, collecting and updating due diligence, ensuring audit compliance, dealing with partner queries, coordinating self-assessment processes, quality and compliance monitoring, as well as other similar services as needed. The activity undertaken to monitor a subcontractor is set out in the Policy. The University will assess each sub-contractor prior to any agreement with that sub-contractor and an open rationale will be used to determine the level of management fee retained by the University.

Payment to Employer Providers will be made to cover direct costs only as required in the ESFA funding rules. Employers subcontracted to deliver part of an apprenticeship must evidence the direct costs of their delivery in order to claim payment. These payments will still be subject to a 20% charge for the management and quality assurance of the subcontracted delivery. 

Read our Apprenticeships Subcontracting Policy document for further information.  

For more information, contact us by completing our online enquiry form.