IfA refuses to reveal funding band review recommendations

The Institute for Apprenticeships will not publicly reveal the recommendations from its funding band review – despite sharing them with the employer groups involved.

A number of those employer groups have come forward with the outcomes, and FE Week has reported on six of them.

But despite repeated requests for the full list, the IfA has refused, insisting that it would be “premature” to share it.

The information “is not final” and could be subject to change, an IfA spokesperson told FE Week.

“What we’re not choosing to do at this moment in time is to share those recommendations, should there be a change as a result of the Department for Education, or as a result of any appeal that goes through,” she said.

“We’re in a period where we have to wait for the final decision, which will be made by the DfE. At that stage we’ll be happy to publish that on our website.”

The institute’s “priority” at the moment is to communicate with the employer groups behind the standards, rather than with the “wider public”.

“At this stage, who we need to be communicating with is the Trailblazers. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re giving them time to review our recommendations and come back to us,” she said.

“It’s not that we’re trying to hide anything – it’s the complete opposite,” she insisted.

“We’ve told everybody what’s happening, but it’s now time for us to give the Trailblazers those 10 days in which they can appeal the process if they want to.” 

The funding band review was launched in May by the IfA at the request of the DfE.

Its aim is to “help make sure that employers can access high quality apprenticeships and that funding bands represent good value for money for employers and government”.

Any recommendations from the review, which covers 31 standards, including some of the most popular, are subject to possible appear by the employer group followed by final sign-off by the education secretary, Damian Hinds.

FE Week has so far reported on the outcomes of six of the reviews, all of which have resulted in a recommendation to lower the funding band.

The level six chartered manager degree apprenticeship is facing the largest cut, from £27,000 to £22,000.

The level two hair professional standard is facing a 22 per cent reduction, from £9,000 to £7,000, as is the level five operations/ departmental manager.

The level two retailer standard is set to be reduced by £1,000, or 20 per cent, from £5,000 to £4,000.

Meanwhile the level three team leader/ supervisor and level two customer service practitioner standards are both facing £500 cuts – from £5,000 to £4,500 for the former, and from £4,000 to £3,500 for the latter.

Writing exclusively for FE Week, Sir Gerry Berragan, the IfA’s chief executive, said that some of the reviews had resulted in a recommendation that the band “stay the same, some increase, and some decrease”, he said.

FE Week has asked for a breakdown of the number of reviews that have so far resulted in a recommendation for the funding band to stay the same, increase or to decrease, but has not yet received an answer.