This policy covers the activity for which the University is funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for the provision of apprenticeship training.
This policy is published as required by the ESFA’s funding rules, in accordance with which the University will operate at all times.
The University of Bath's academic portfolio has incorporated work-based learning in the form of placement provision since its creation by Royal Charter in 1966. We regard apprenticeships as a natural extension of the employer relationships we have developed over our first 55 years.
The majority of apprenticeship training and assessment will be carried out by the University itself, acting in the capacity of lead training provider. There may be circumstances, however, in which some of the training needs to be subcontracted to another partner organisation. Any such subcontracting arrangements will be agreed with employers in advance and will be clearly articulated in the employer’s Training Services Agreement, as well as the tripartite commitment statement. The University will lead the relationship with the employer at all times and will retain oversight and responsibility for the whole apprenticeship, including the actions of our delivery subcontractors. In accordance with ESFA funding rules, as the lead training provider the University will always undertake a substantive portion of the delivery of any apprenticeship where a subcontracting arrangement is in place. For the purposes of subcontracting arrangements where the University is the lead training provider in an apprenticeship, the University is deemed a contracting authority awarding a public contract as defined by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. The University will comply with the provisions of the regulations at all times. The University of Bath, as a Public Sector body, follows strict rules around contracting for supplies, services and works, as defined by the Public Procurement Policy.
The cost of subcontracting management, including quality monitoring and assurance is included within the overall price of delivery and forms part of our standard fees. This will be clearly set out in the Training Services Agreements which we have in place with our employer partners. These agreements will also make clear which aspects of the training will be delivered by the University and which will be delivered by our subcontractors.
The University undertakes to enter into a written agreement with its subcontractors and will ensure that second-level subcontracting does not take place. The University will obtain an annual report from an external auditor if the total apprenticeship subcontract value exceeds £100,000 in any one financial year.
The University will make biannual declarations to the ESFA to confirm its subcontracting arrangements and undertakes to update this declaration whenever such arrangements change.
Reasons for subcontracting
The University will only subcontract training where it is necessary to fill gaps in niche or expert provision. Specifically, the University does not offer qualifications at level 2 so it will subcontract the delivery of Functional Skills for English and maths where apprentices do not already hold – or are unable to demonstrate that they hold – such qualifications.
Quality assurance and due diligence
All of the University’s programmes are subject to a rigorous Quality Assurance process, including collaborative provision with delivery subcontractors. The University’s Academic Programmes Committee are responsible for the development of the University's portfolio of programmes and collaborative provision. With their oversight, potential subcontractors will be subject to due diligence processes to satisfy the University that they have the capacity and capability to deliver the training to the expected academic standards. We will only use subcontractors that are on the published Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. We will also consider any relevant reports from organisations such as Ofsted, the Office for Students, and the Quality Assurance Agency.
The University will utilise internal and external expert advice to confirm the suitability of the content of the training to be delivered by subcontractors and will ensure that the curriculum is sufficient for apprentices to achieve the qualifications in question. The University’s participating academic departments will ensure the subcontracted provision is monitored and reviewed to assure the quality and academic standards of the subcontracted provision and that it continues to meet the University’s and the Employer’s requirements. These requirements will be stated in the University’s written agreement with the subcontractor.
This policy will be reviewed annually, to ensure that it continues to meet the relevant ESFA funding rules and regulations. The policy will be published on the University’s website.