Provider and DfE agree terms and avoid High Court battle over terminated contract

An undisclosed settlement was agreed

A training provider has dropped a High Court challenge against the Department for Education after an undisclosed settlement was agreed.   

Abis Resources Limited launched legal action against the department in 2019 after the firm’s FE loans and apprenticeship contracts were “unconscionably” terminated.   

Documents obtained by FE Week showed that the provider was seeking damages worth £600,000.   

But the DfE was contesting the case and even counter alleged that Abis Resources owed the government more than £100,000 in overclaimed funding.  

If the case had gone ahead it would have been the first time a training provider has taken the DfE all the way to court over terminated skills funding contracts, FE Week understands.  

But new documents obtained by this publication show that both parties have come to a settlement agreement.   

A consent order from the court said: “By consent it is ordered that all further proceedings in this action be stayed upon the terms set out in the settlement agreement between the parties dated 9 March 2022.   

“Each party shall have permission to apply to the court to enforce those terms without the need to bring a new claim.   

“There shall be no order as to costs.”   

However, the DfE, Abis Resources and its solicitor DWF have all refused to comment or share any details about the settlement.   

It is therefore unclear whether the provider received any damages, or whether the DfE reclaimed any of the alleged overclaimed funding.   

The Department for Education ended Abis Resources Limited’s funding agreements in 2018 after discovering that an awarding body had imposed the most serious sanction possible and withdrawn its approval of the provider two years earlier.   

Officials claimed that Abis was in breach of its contracts because it failed to immediately and formally notify the DfE of the sanction when it was first enforced in June 2016. The alleged deceit also led to the provider being “mistakenly” accepted on to the government’s apprenticeship provider register.   

But Abis claimed there was “no proper basis” for the termination because it had in fact notified the department of the awarding body dispute at the time.   

ABIS Resources, based in London, was set up in 2006 to offer a range of commercial and publicly funded courses. It is owned by Muhammad Shiraz Uddin.   

The firm initially delivered Train to Gain courses until the controversial scheme was scrapped in 2010.   

Abis moved into the advanced learner loans market in 2015, holding direct contracts with the then Skills Funding Agency totalling almost £650,000 until 2018.   

The provider’s only Ofsted inspection was conducted in 2010 and resulted in a ‘good’ rating. 

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