Subcontracting: using funding to offer education and training

Information for providers of adult education and training services, including apprenticeships and traineeships on subcontracting ESFA funding.

A lead provider is a college, training organisation or employer that has a direct contractual relationship with the ESFA.

A subcontractor is an organisation that is engaged in a contractual and legally binding arrangement with one or more lead providers, to deliver education and training provision that the ESFA funds.

Each lead provider and subcontractor must have a valid UK Provider Registration Number (UKPRN).

Submitting a subcontractor declaration for 2017 to 2018 for adult delivery, including apprenticeships and traineeships

We require ESFA-funded providers of adult education and training services, including apprenticeships and traineeships to make a subcontractor declaration. This includes organisations who hold:

  • funding agreements and contracts
  • an ESFA apprenticeship agreement for levy-funded apprenticeships and have an approved commitment on the apprenticeship service with at least one employer

You need to make your subcontracting declarations through the Skills Funding Service (SFS).

This is the second, and final collection for the 2017 to 2018 year.

You now need to include declarations for the delivery of non-levy funded apprenticeship starts between 1 January 2018 and 31 March 2018, funded through a procured non-levy apprenticeship contract or a non-levy contract extension beyond 31 December 2017.

If we do not directly fund you to deliver adult education and training services or you only have an agreement for advanced learner loans, you do not need to make a declaration.

Subcontracting: for the first time

If you want to subcontract for the first time, you must obtain the ESFA’s written permission before doing so.

Subcontracting for the first time: seeking written approval (PDF, 150KB, 4 pages) describes the process for getting permission to subcontract funding for education and training.

Along with the request to subcontract, you must also provide a report from an external auditor.

Subcontracting: second-level

If you want to subcontract to a second level (where a subcontractor further subcontracts to another legal entity), you must first obtain the ESFA’s written permission. You must obtain permission from the ESFA to subcontract to a second level every year.

You can find the information we need in order to review requests from providers to subcontract to a second level:

Subcontracting to a second level: seeking written approval (PDF, 156KB, 6 pages)

Providing external assurance on subcontracting controls

The ESFA funding agreements contain a clause about an annual subcontracting assurance requirement. The clause requires lead providers that will subcontract more than a defined level of provision to obtain a report from an external auditor that provides assurance on the arrangements in place to manage and control their subcontractors. The clause requires lead providers in scope to supply us with a certificate confirming that the report provides satisfactory assurance.

We’ve published guidance on the clause and the information the we need from lead providers.

List of declared subcontractors (formerly the ‘subcontracting register’)

The list of declared subcontractors provides information about subcontractors that hold contracts worth at least £100,000 in aggregate with one or more ESFA-funded providers of adult education and training services, including apprenticeships and traineeships.

Subcontractors are shown with their lead or main provider/s and the individual values of their contracts. Some subcontractors are ‘lead or main providers’ in their own right. We have used data taken from subcontractor declarations that lead or main providers submit each funding year.

Published 31 January 2018