News story

Independent Training Providers new intervention measures

News on the ESFA's new Oversight of Independent Training Providers Operational Guidance

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Strengthened oversight, intervention and closer contract management, in our new intervention strategy, aims to eradicate low quality training provision, protect learners and public funds.

The majority of Independent Training Providers (ITP) we contract with provide good quality education and training. However, there is a small number where delivery falls short of our requirements, resulting in learners not getting the training they need and putting public funds at risk.

Currently, we only take action when an ITP has been judged inadequate by Ofsted, or has failed to meet minimum standards or financial health requirements.

In the aim of putting an end to poor training and learning provision, where data and analysis suggest a risk to learners or public funds, under our new intervention measures, we will be able to intervene early, (with the use of sanctions, such as suspension of recruitment or restricting growth) whilst assurance is being gained or remedial actions are undertaken.

In our contracts, we will provide clarity on the specific actions we will take to remedy breaches, setting defined timescales.

Additionally, to ensure learners and public funds are protected, in the event of provider failure, we will ensure that all ITP contracts (from 1 August 2019) have an exit plan setting out how the provider will assist us to transfer learners. This will ensure, should a provider cease trading, there is stability and clarity for learners and the sector and a reduced risk to public funds.

Chief Executive Eileen Milner said:

ITPs are vital to the further education infrastructure, supporting learners and employers through the delivery of apprenticeships, adult skills, education for young people and specialist provision.

Whilst the majority of training providers delivery meets our training standards, there will always be a small number who start to fall short of these standards.

We must continue to ensure that learners have a quality learning experience and every pound of the public purse is invested wisely. By introducing stronger early intervention measures and closer contract management arrangements it will minimises the disruption to learners and risk to public funds when provider failures start to become apparent.

Read the full operational guidance for more information.

Published 1 April 2019