Skills Funding Agency publish rules for 2012/13

The Skills Funding Agency have published version one of Funding Rules 2012/13, replacing the various Funding Requirements documents that currently exist.

The forward states there will be an “updated document in May 2012 which will include the supporting audit evidence requirements. For the first time we will consolidate the Funding Rules and associated evidence requirements for all of our funded provision into one document. The document published in May will also give us the opportunity to make adjustments where areas of clarification are needed, particularly those where the sector thinks any specific rules could be made clearer.”

Paragraph 12 is likely to cause colleges some difficulties, as it states that “Where the Agency has made a full contribution to the costs of a Learner’s programme, Providers must not make compulsory charges to employers or Learners for any delivery of the learning activity funded by the Agency. This includes: administration, registration, assessment, materials or examination costs whether incurred directly by the Provider or charged by other organisations such as awarding organisations. This includes charges for identification passes, uniforms, tools and material where without them, a learner cannot complete and achieve their learning aim.”

The Agency will base future years’ funding allocations on the performance of each Provider in getting unemployed people into work.”

New for the 2012/13 are rules concerning minimum durations for apprenticeships aged 19+, which was announced on Sunday.

Providers are likely to want clarification on paragraph 88, which states: “Providers should not claim the full amount of funding available for an Apprenticeship completing in fewer than 12 months and will not ever be able to claim the achievement element of an Apprenticeship not withstanding proven and documented prior learning with a duration of fewer than six months in any circumstances.”

The Agency have also confirmed that they have scrapped plans for an Outcome Incentive Payment and will instead pilot Job Outcome Payments. The document states that “ten per cent of the rate will be paid where an eligible Learner leaves without achieving the learning aim but enters work.” In effect the 10% Job Outcome Payment will opporate as a reduced fine, as it only applies when the provider is not paid the 20% achievement funding. However, paragraph 37 will need some further explanation as it simply states:  “The Agency will base future years’ funding allocations on the performance of each Provider in getting unemployed people into work.”

To download the Funding Rules 2012/13 document click here.