Supplier relief: London deputy mayor reveals Covid-19 provider support

Training providers in London are to receive “advance payments” to “support provision and recognise the disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak”, the deputy mayor of the Greater London Assembly (GLA) has revealed this evening.

The two letters signed by Jules Pipe (pictured), sent to providers with devolved adult education budget (AEB) and European Social Fund (ESF) contracts, can be downloaded in full via the links below.

The news comes less than 24 hours after FE Week revealed details of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) support for providers with AEB funding.

Both the GLA and WMCA announcements are responses to the cabinet office guidance on “supplier relief due to Covid-19”.

London’s deputy mayor described the support as demonstrating his “commitment to maintaining a strong and responsive provider base” for around 30 AEB funded providers with £32.5 million of contracts benefiting this year.

But, the majority of AEB funding in England has not been devolved and only the GLA administers ESF locally.

The Department for Education has said they will support colleges that are ‘grant funded’ but has yet to say if or how they will financially support private providers with AEB and ESF contracts. Allocation figures for 2019/20 published by the funding agency show they currently contract with around 230 AEB procured providers to the tune of over £80 million, with a further £8.5 million for procured 19 to 24 traineeships.

In his letter to AEB providers with contracts secured following a tender, know as the ‘procured providers’, Pipe writes: “Your monthly payments will be uplifted to your average monthly earned funding (based on the average of the previous three months) and up to the profiled contract value for the 2019-20 funding year.”

The letter goes on to say: “The funding uplift will be an advance payment and it will be reviewed as part of the end-year reconciliation process in December 2020, at which point the GLA expects to take the impact of Covid-19 classroom delivery closure into consideration as part of any performance management arrangements.”

This will, Pipe continues, require a “variation to your contract”…”and further guidance will follow detailing the arrangements for this.”

The letter to ESF funded providers says that if delivery on the 2019-23 programme has started, providers can “request an additional advance payment of up to 5 per cent of the lifetime contract value to support the project during the period of classroom closures caused by Covid-19”.

Both the AEB and ESF letter say providers are “permitted to carry forward underperformance caused by Covid-19 closures to deliver in future years” … but … “we will need you to commit to ‘open book’ accounting where your delivery is less than the amount we pay you in a month – it is not permissible to accrue any profit on these funds.”

 

Click here download the GLA letter to AEB procured providers

Click here download the GLA letter to ESF providers