Use of Subcontractors for delivery of Education & Skills Funding Agency funded provision

Scope

This statement covers all subcontracted provision for which the University of Hertfordshire (the “University”) receives funding from the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), which includes all relevant subcontracted apprenticeship provision delivered during the 2019/20 funding year.

Context

This statement is a mandatory requirement of ESFA funding rules for 2019/20 and considers those proposals relevant to the University detailed within the Government’s consultation document ‘Reforms to Subcontracting Education for Learners over 16’, published in June 2020.

Principles

The University is committed to our vision to ‘transform lives by finding and powering potential, giving people the opportunity to succeed with us whatever their background’ (University Strategic Plan 2020-2025). The University achieves this through its strategic focus upon offering opportunity, building community and embracing flexibility. The University is passionate about working and collaborating with employers, local further education partners (including via the Hertfordshire Higher Education Consortium), and through engagement with our student community.

At the University of Hertfordshire, the delivery of an apprenticeship programme is a three-way collaboration between the University, the employer and the learner, and provides alternative routes to traditional education.  We offer flexible modes of study to help our learners to succeed and allow them to engage with a greater range of opportunities in work and education.

We also consult with stakeholders across the public and private sectors to ensure our apprenticeship programmes fill skills gaps, are tailored to specific industries, and address the needs of businesses. Our apprenticeship programmes are co-created with employers and are designed to be flexible, to meets their needs and those of our learners.

Most of our apprenticeship delivery is conducted by the University. However, a small portion (less than 10%) is undertaken by subcontractors in accordance with ESFA funding regulations. We offer subcontracted provision through appropriate contractual arrangements with the subcontracted partner and where this enhances our delivery. At all times, the University leads the employer relationship.

The University has a set of principles which are used to calculate the fees it charges for the management and administrative services it supplies to subcontractors. These are set out in its Subcontractor (Supply Chain) Fees and Charges Policy for Higher and Degree Apprenticeships (UPR FR10). The charges payable by an individual subcontractor are negotiated separately with each subcontractor and agreed in the individual contract with that subcontractor.

Use of subcontractors

The University will enter into appropriate legally binding contracts with each subcontractor where:

  • this will enhance the delivery of the Training for which the University has been funded by the ESFA; and/or
  • the subcontractor delivers niche provision, ensuring high quality teaching and learning attributable to the subcontractors’ extensive and focused experience in the specialist areas; and/or
  • this will ensure cost effectiveness of delivery; and/or
  • subcontracting widens the range of access, participation and progression opportunities for Apprentices.

However, the University’s Training will only be subcontracted when:

  • appropriate due diligence (including in relation to academic quality, legal, health and safety and financial aspects) has been undertaken to ensure that the subcontractor can reasonably be expected to deliver the Training in accordance with the standards set by the University;
  • the use of the subcontractor has been approved by the University’s Academic Development Committee, including validation of the subcontractor’s ability to deliver the agreed Training;
  • the University leads and maintains the relationship with each Employer and the University remains responsible for resolving any issues and disputes between the Employer and the subcontractor; and
  • there is an appropriate legally binding contract with each subcontractor which complies with all ESFA requirements.

Current List of University of Hertfordshire Subcontracting Partners in Receipt of ESFA Funding

University Campus St Albans (UCSA)

Reasons for Subcontracting

The University continually seeks to broaden its provision to meet local, regional and national educational needs of young people and adults. Strategically, and as set out above, the University seeks to offer opportunity; build community; and embrace flexibility in accordance with its strategic objectives. To assist this, the University engages with a small portion of subcontracted provision where subcontracting:

  • enhances the opportunities available to young people and adults through the delivery of high value and innovative flexible degree-based provision;
  • fills gaps in niche or expert provision, or provides better access to training facilities;
  • supports wider geographical access for learners across Hertfordshire and

Services we provide to quality assure subcontracted provision

The University is dedicated to delivering a high-quality service to all Apprentices undertaking its Training. Where the University feels that the use of a subcontractor will enhance this delivery, the University will work collaboratively with the support of that subcontractor to ensure delivery is of the highest standard.

The University is responsible for the quality of delivery of subcontracted provision. It has established robust processes to ensure that subcontractors adhere to the University’s academic quality standards and values, and monitors and manages the quality of subcontracted provision through various quality assurance processes, which include but are not limited to:

  • formal approval of subcontractors by the University’s Academic Development Committee, following appropriate financial and academic due diligence;
  • approval and validation of the subcontractors’ ability to deliver the agreed Training;
  • quality assurance audits including a sample of progress reviews and Independent Learning Plans;
  • regular management and operational meetings to ensure delivery success;
  • visits to the subcontractor at short notice;
  • face-to-face interviews with Apprentices and the subcontractor’s staff;
  • direct observation of initial guidance, assessment and delivery of Training and/or on-programme assessment;
  • regularly ensuring compliance with the Prevent duty and counter-terrorism legislation; and
  • annual monitoring and evaluation of programmes, including checking that the Apprentices exist and are eligible.

Where the quality of subcontracted provision does not meet the required levels of compliance, quality or learner/employer satisfaction, an Improvement Plan will be initiated and, should that not be achieved, the University will secure alternative arrangements for delivery. In cases where findings of monitoring and observations do not align with expectations, the University will manage this in accordance with internal performance management processes and report, as required and necessary any outcomes to the relevant bodies e.g. ESFA.

Communication

This statement will be reviewed annually and will be made available on the University website supported by UPR FR10 - Subcontractor (Supply Chain) Fees and Charges Policy for Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.