The ESFA must enforce rules that are supposed to be putting a stop to wasteful short-term subcontracting.

The example uncovered this week showed Stephenson College seeking to find subcontractors to use up £100,000 of funding by the end of July.

That’s less than three months from the start of the contract to the end, proving that it’s a tactical move with the short-term aim of simply hitting its adult education budget allocation.

The funding rule they are clearly breaking states that providers “must not subcontract to meet short-term funding objectives”.

So what is the ESFA going to do about it?

It sadly wouldn’t tell us, and passed up a perfect opportunity to show that it’s getting tough.

Incidentally, 57-per-cent management fees are way too high, so it’s good that the same college changed its policy after we confronted them.

AELP, Holex and Collab were right to stipulate that lead providers should charge no more than 20 per cent.

The system must not be abused. Unscrupulous lead providers will have to find other ways of supplementing their income.