The government needs to look carefully at the NHS’ plans to hit providers with brokerage fees.

No-one is suggesting the health service is breaking the Skills Funding Agency’s rules, but we must prevent money meant for frontline training from going astray.

The issue of brokerage is one that I’ve followed closely since my investigation a year ago exposed brokers were charging up to five per cent of every deal they made to match subcontractors with primes.

The SFA deserved full credit for announcing in February that public funds would not be used to pay such fees through its final apprenticeship funding rules.

But it’s alarming to discover that the nation’s largest and most treasured public body is indulging in another form of brokerage to recoup the cost of seeking providers.

It also seems that the decision by these NHS bodies to create their own “frameworks”, which will effectively limit access for contracts to providers they deem fit for purpose, casts further doubt on the robustness of the government’s own new register of apprenticeship training providers.

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