SFA publish details of subcontractor allocations

Subcontractors with an overall allocation of more than £100,000 have been listed for the first time by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

New data published today details more than 800 organisations and £434 million of public spending as of January 10, 2012.

The agency says the list was generated following consultation with the sector and is in line with the government’s transparency agenda.

“This exercise is about providing information back to the sector to help them to understand the supply chain in the sector and inform them of the commitments of the organisations with whom they may wish to subcontract,” an SFA spokesperson said.

The management fee charged by a lead provider to a subcontractor can relate to a widely varying suite of services ranging from simple collation of data through to full support services, IT and premises. Publishing this data for comparison would be misleading.”

“We developed this format with representative organisations in the sector to present providers with the information that they want.”

The list does not include however some of the information published in the ‘Providers’ Declaration of Sub-contractors’ spreadsheet released by the SFA in January last year.

The minimum and maximum payment rates passed on to sub-contractors, which show the percentage subcontractors keep following a management fee by lead providers, is noticeably absent.

The SFA told FE Week: “The management fee charged by a lead provider to a subcontractor can relate to a widely varying suite of services ranging from simple collation of data through to full support services, IT and premises.

“Publishing this data for comparison would be misleading.”

The list was generated using the ‘2011/12 College and Training Organisation Declaration of Subcontractors form’ sent out to all lead providers, including further education (FE) colleges and training providers.

Aspire Achieve Advance Limited does not hold a direct contract with the SFA and is the largest subcontractor on the list to receive funding from an FE college, with an aggregate contract value of more than £9.7 million.

The organisation delivers apprenticeships through Bloom and the Accounting Academy Partnership for institutions including Bedford College, North Hertfordshire College and Leeds City College, among others.

The list also includes Security Training School Limited, which came under fire last year for advertising two day fully funded NVQs, as well as 12 week apprenticeships on their website.

The firm is shown to be holding an aggregate subcontracting value of more than £2 million with Hull College, Leeds City College, Newham College of Further Education and Learning Curve (JAA) Limited.

The total amount of subcontracting is roughly 10 per cent of the £4.5 billion which the SFA spends on the adult skills budget (ASB), learner support, capital spending and other payments through providers.

The agency has revealed they are looking at refining the funding requirements for 2012/13, which will be published later this year and include subcontracting.

An SFA spokesperson said: “All of the funding requirements are subject to review and updating, so we do not expect there to be huge changes to subcontracting arrangements, just the regular review.

“All subcontracting must meet the same delivery, quality and value for money as the rest of our provision.”

(Download the list here, as well as frequently asked questions here.)

Note:  FE Week has been contacted by several providers for a spread sheet format of the list.When asked if the Skills Funding Agency could supply the information in an alternative file type, we received the following response:

“Supplying the information in a different electronic format is not something we plan to do, because we will have already made the information accessible in accordance with the stakeholder preference.”