Large provider’s contracts in doubt as ‘inadequate’ rating looms

BCTG set to be downgraded from grade two to four

BCTG set to be downgraded from grade two to four

22 Jun 2023, 21:48

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The future of a large training provider based in the West Midlands is uncertain as Ofsted prepares to issue it with an ‘inadequate’ judgment, FE Week understands.

Inspectors are expected to downgrade BCTG Limited from the ‘good’ rating it achieved in 2018 to the lowest possible grade following its latest inspection which concluded last week.

The provider holds multi-million-pound contracts with different authorities to deliver training to thousands of apprentices and learners in sectors such as care, early years, accounting, construction and HGV. Its contracts include the adult education budget, advance learner loans and the government’s new skills bootcamps.

Ofsted’s reasons for the anticipated grade four verdict are unclear, and it is not known whether BCTG is appealing against the judgment. A spokesperson for the company said bosses can only formally respond to the recent visit and grade once the report has been published.

One big change for BCTG Limited since its last inspection has been an “accelerated” shift away from subcontracting to a predominantly direct delivery model, as stated in its latest accounts. The company worked with 27 subcontractors at the time of its 2018 ‘good’ result. This was cut to just five subcontractor partners in 2021/22, according to government data.

A statement from BCTG Limited, which is part of the BCTG Group, said: “BCTG Limited recently received a routine Inspection by Ofsted which concluded on June 16, 2023.

“As with all Inspections, the findings and any grades awarded remain provisional and confidential until the report is finalised. We will respond to this, once published.

“BCTG continues to support all our learners and employers, and values the relationship with our funding partners.”

Rules set by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, with which BCTG holds more than £5 million worth of skills funding contracts, state that private training providers will have their agreements terminated if they receive an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted result, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

The company was recently awarded an adult education budget contract with the West Midlands Combined Authority, which takes a discretionary approach on whether to terminate contracts for providers rated ‘inadequate’.

It is not clear what impact a grade four and any contract termination would have on BCTG Limited.

The company recorded turnover of £15.2 million and a profit of £1.1 million in 2022, according to its latest accounts which shows it employs 64 staff.

BCTG Limited’s latest Ofsted inspection comes two months after Performance Through People, which is also part of the BCTG Group, received a ‘good’ judgment from Ofsted.

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