The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) have announced that they will be publish on their website providers that they reject, in order to “aid the sector”.
In a document published yesterday the SFA repeated criteria for the rejection of providers and subcontractors, but added in the final sentence (point 17) that: “The Chief Executive will publish on the Skills Funding Agency website a list of organisations to whom the criteria apply and in respect of which the Chief Executive has taken action.”
A spokesman from the SFA told FE Week: “The document is a revamp of previous policy guidance. Following our commitment to the sector and in line with the intentions of the government’s transparency agenda, point 17 is an addition to the former policy, the intelligence the Agency intends on sharing will aid the sector particularly when they consider entering commercial and legally binding relationships.”
Reasons for organisations to be rejected, and published in the new online list, include: significant irregularities in the award of qualifications, having to make a repayment of £100,000 or 5 per cent of contract value, and on-going investigation relating to suspicion of fraud.
Providers that meet the criteria to be rejected may also be removed from the register of training, be excluded from bidding and prevented from sub-contracting provision.
The Association of Colleges (AoC) told FE Week that they support the SFA publishing a list of rejected providers.
Julian Gravatt, the assistant chief executive of the AoC said: “AoC supports the decision by the SFA to have a procedure in place that will help to identify high-risk providers. We also see the move to publish a list of names as a positive step, which will help inform our members.
“However, as this is the first year it will happen in this way we do expect that SFA will review the way it works and whether it is the best approach.”
Graham Hoyle, Chief Executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) agrees.
Mr Hoyle told FE Week: “As a long-standing champion of good quality provision, AELP has no issues with the SFA’s proposals for transparency on this matter.”