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  1. Introduction and purpose

The University of Chester (the University) offers higher and degree level apprenticeships in a range of subject areas.  It is a government requirement that all apprentices must have achieved relevant level 2 qualifications, as defined by the ESFA, in English and Maths prior to completion of the apprenticeship programme.  The majority of applicants to the University’s apprenticeship programmes have already achieved GCSE (A-C) or equivalent qualifications in English and Maths prior to commencing the programme, but there are a significant number that have not.  Where this is the case, the University  will subcontract the delivery of Functional Skills English and maths level 2 qualifications as part of the apprenticeship programme.

  1. Scope and context

This Subcontracting Policy is a mandatory requirement that must be in place prior to participating in any subcontracting activity and applies to all subcontracted provision funded by the ESFA. The content of this policy has been developed in line with the ESFA Apprenticeship and Performance Management Rules for Training Providers May 2017 to March 2019; versions 5 and Addendum to the Apprenticeship and Performance Management Rules; May 2017 to March 2018; issued April 2017.

  1.  Fairness in procurement

The University will undertake fair and transparent procurement activities at all times. Selection and procurement of subcontractors will be carried out in accordance with the University's Procurement Policy and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

The University will inform the Chief Executive of the ESFA, in writing, about any circumstances which might lead to an actual or perceived conflict of interest.

  1. Due diligence

The University will undertake a robust process of due diligence when selecting potential subcontractors; this is to ensure that the highest quality of learning delivery is made available which demonstrates value for money and has a positive impact on the experience of both employers and apprentices.

The University will only procure the service of subcontractors who are registered on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) to deliver services to employers.

  1. Contracting arrangements

Successful subcontractors will be issued with a legally binding contract valid for the period from when the contract commences until the planned completion date of an apprenticeship. This will include: subcontractor’s obligations, the University’s obligations, the management and service charges and contract volume and value.  The contract will be signed by the subcontractor and the University.  

The University and the ESFA are granted full permission and rights to monitor the quality of training being provided and visit the subcontractor at their premises, training sites or employer’s premises from which they operate.  
 

All subcontracting will reflect completely and accurately the following:

  • ESFA Apprenticeship and Performance Management Rules for Training Providers; May 2017 to July 2018, Version 6; Issued March 2018
  • ESFA Funding rules for training providers, August 2018 to July 2019, Version 1; issued July 2018
  • Any updates to ESFA rules published after these dates.
  1.  Quality Assurance (QA) of delivery

The University is committed to delivering high quality teaching and learning for apprentices and employers across its provision and will work with its subcontractors to review progress and manage the quality of external provision.

All new subcontractors will be subject to an initial visit to confirm approval of appointment as a subcontractor.

The following processes will be used to monitor the quality of subcontracted provision and actively improve quality on an on-going basis:

  • Regular management meetings between the University and its subcontractors
  • Regular planned and unplanned observation visits to check on the quality of teaching, learning, assessment and progress.

The University will take a risk-based approach to subcontractor management to ensure that appropriate levels of contact monitoring and Quality Assurance are maintained. This approach will be based on the number of apprentices placed with a subcontractor as follows:

 

University/ subcontractor contract review meeting schedule:

Number of apprentices placed with subcontractor

Number of contract review meetings in academic year

Up to 10

1

Over 10

2

 

Quality Assurance check schedule:

Number of apprentices placed with subcontractor

Number of QA Visits in academic year

Scheduled

Unannounced

Up to 10

1

0

10-20

1

1

20 +

1

2

 

Where contract reviews or QA visits highlight areas of concern the subcontractor will draw up an action plan to address the areas of concern, which must be agreed by the University. Additional meetings and QA visits will be scheduled as required by the University until the issues have been resolved. If an issue cannot be resolved within 8 weeks of the issue being identified the University reserves the right to reallocate apprentices to a new provider to ensure timely achievement of Functional Skills qualifications.

All subcontractors must agree to this schedule of meetings and QA visits prior to being awarded contracts.

The University will also take into account feedback from apprentices in its quality assurance of a subcontractor.

  1. Internal policies

Subcontractors must have the following policies and procedures in place which are to be maintained, reviewed and updated regularly:

  • Staff Recruitment and Development
  • Data Protection (GDPR compliant)
  • Health & Safety
  • Equality & Diversity
  • Safeguarding & Prevent
  • Insurance:
    • Employers (compulsory) Liability Insurance = £10,000,000 any one occurrence/number of occurrences.
    • Public Liability Insurance Cover = £5,000,000 any one occurrence/number of occurrences.
  1. Fees and charges

The University may make a charge of 15% of the full contracted value as a management fee for its standard subcontracted provision for English and maths. This will be individually negotiated with each subcontractor and detailed in Schedule 1.

The costs cover the provision of:

  • administration
  • Quality Assurance
  • MIS function relating to the submission of funding claims to the ESFA
  • provision of management meetings
  • provision of a dedicated account manager

The subcontractor will be responsible for meeting the costs associated with the registration of candidates with awarding bodies, examination and re-examination fees out of the funds agreed with the University.

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.

  1. Payment

Payment to subcontractors will be made within 30 days of the invoice been received, subject to all necessary paperwork and records having been submitted within the required timescale.  A checklist of key dates and deadlines for the paperwork to be received for inclusion in the return to the Education Skills Funding Agency will be provided. Payment details are also included in the contract Schedules which are issued to subcontractors at the start of the new contract year.

  1. Policy review and communication

The University will review this policy annually. Any changes to the policy will be communicated to existing subcontractors at the contract management meetings.  The policy will be discussed with new subcontractors prior to their engagement.  An up-to-date copy of this policy will be posted on the University's website and paper copies will be made available upon request.

 

 

  1. Declaration of use of subcontractors

In line with ESFA funding rules, the University will submit a “Subcontractor Declaration” to the ESFA at least twice each year. The declaration summarises the value of any subcontracted 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.

  1. Duties within the University of Chester

Nominated members of staff with strategic lead responsibility for subcontracting:

  • Head of Degree Apprenticeships

Nominated members of staff with responsibility for procurement of subcontractors:

  • Procurement Manager
  • Head of Degree Apprenticeships

Nominated member of staff with responsibility for performance management of subcontractors:

  • Head of Degree Apprenticeships

Policy sign-off

Signed on behalf of the University of Chester’s Senior Management Team on 22 February 2019 by the Director of Legal Services