‘Frustrating’: ESFA extends ASF contracts 6 weeks before delivery

Providers will receive a rollover of their 2023/24 adult education allocation

Providers will receive a rollover of their 2023/24 adult education allocation

19 Jun 2024, 14:22

More from this author

tender

National adult education procured contracts are to be extended, the Education and Skills Funding Agency has finally announced.

Training providers that were successful in the government’s £75 million tender for 2023/24 will have their allocations renewed into 2024/25 for one year.

Providers will receive a rollover of their allocation that was agreed as of May 2024, which includes any increases or reductions on their original contract received through in-year performance management reviews.

There are just six weeks before the extended contracts kick in. Provider bosses had been left frustrated at being kept in the dark over whether there would be an extension.

One contract holder who did not wish to be named told FE Week: “We are trying to budget and plan for the next academic year across the mayoral combined authorities and the EFSA, yet we are still in the dark on around 50 per cent of our contract values.

“My chief financial officer comes from out of sector, and she is literally dumbfounded by the fact that with only six weeks of the year to go we still have little idea what our contract values for next year are going to be. If we do have to make redundancies etc then it is not fair on our staff to tell them at the last minute.

“The irony is that come August 1st we will be expected to be firing on all cylinders.”

Simon Ashworth, director of policy and deputy chief executive at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, added: “This short notice does not provide the certainty and reassurance that procured providers need to make informed planning decisions, especially considering the wider challenges posed by a new devolution deal and the significant change of funding methodology that the adult skills fund also brings.”

From the 2024/25 academic year, the adult education budget will become the adult skills fund (ASF), which involves higher funding rates for some courses.

The ESFA said it has not adjusted procured allocations to account for previous delivery in the new North East Combined Authority, which is now a devolved area. This means that providers previously delivering in this area should “use their provision to deliver to learners based in non-devolved postcodes”.

Procured contract holders have been told they can submit a business case to request increases and decreases to their awarded allocation amount for 2024/25.

The ESFA had always intended to confirm whether there would be an extension by June. The agency declined to comment on why it could not communicate their decision earlier in the year.

Fifty-six providers were handed contracts in last year’s controversial tender, which is currently being challenged through the courts by major training group Learning Curve, after it missed out on a contract. A trial is set for December.

Latest education roles from

Learning Mentor – Enhance Curriculum – Full time 40 weeks per year

Learning Mentor – Enhance Curriculum – Full time 40 weeks per year

MidKent College

ESOL Lecturer

ESOL Lecturer

MidKent College

Estates Project Manager

Estates Project Manager

Hull College

Mental Health & Wellbeing Adviser

Mental Health & Wellbeing Adviser

Barnet and Southgate College

Curriculum Manager – Maths

Curriculum Manager – Maths

Barnet and Southgate College

Head of Langdon College (London)

Head of Langdon College (London)

Kisharon Langdon

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

#GE2024: Listen now as Let’s Go Further outlines the FE and skills priorities facing our new government

The Skills and Education Group podcast, Let’s Go Further, aims to challenge the way we all think about skills...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, colleges and schools can be confident that learners...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Why we’re backing our UK skills ‘Olympians’ (and why you should too)

This August, teams from over 200 nations will gather to compete in the sticky heat of the Paris summer...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Is your organisation prepared for a major incident?

We live in an unpredictable world where an unforeseen incident or environmental event could disrupt a Further Education (FE)...

Advertorial

More from this theme

AEB, Devolution

Combined authority ‘rewinds’ adult education budget tender after complaints

West Yorkshire Combined Authority said it had faced ‘substantial challenges’ to its contract awarding decisions

Josh Mellor
AEB, Devolution

London’s mayor pairs skills with business in new appointment

Howard Dawber will take over from Jules Pipe, who has overseen skills for eight years

Josh Mellor
AEB, Politics, Skills reform

DfE scales back ‘free courses for jobs’ offer 

Access will be restricted to adults earning below £25k in 2024/25

Billy Camden
AEB, Devolution

Mayoral authorities can’t afford new national adult ed funding rates

Greater Manchester claims new rates would lead to 22% drop in learner volumes

Josh Mellor

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 Comments

  1. T Haz

    So they can extend things during an election period! Not extending the Employer Support Fund for T levels was supposed to be because of the election, purdah period etc. This just shows that is rubbish, all the businesses waiting for the ESF to be started up again, looks like they’ll be waiting forever.