Take a moment to empathise with the Central Delivery Service (CDS) advisers at the Skills Funding Agency.

As if what must feel like annual restructures at the Agency were not stressful enough, they represent the front line in communications with embattled providers.

On the 23 December last year they dutifully emailed colleges and training providers to “confirm the outcome of any 16-18 growth requests” would occur as planned, by 8 January.

Yet as FE Week went to press, nearly a month later, there remains little to no news about when or whether the apprenticeship growth requests will be granted.

What we now know is an unrelated budget mess at the DfE is to blame.

Do civil servants at the DfE know what damage this does to the relations between providers and their SFA CDS adviser?

And even if they do, will they even care?

History has shown that these growth requests are granted in the end, but at what cost to the very human relationship between funder and provider?

Communication is key, and a DfE claiming to be committed to transparency should practice what they preach.


Click here to read our story on the chaos of 16-18 apprenticeship growth funding requests


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