ASCL welcomes the opportunity to contribute to this consultation. Subcontracting forms part of the provision of many of our FE College members, and is an important element of their overall programme. We have many members whose colleges use subcontracting to enhance the opportunities for young people and adults, fill gaps in niche provision, support better access for learners and offer entry points for disadvantaged groups – and have done so for many years.
We understand that the ESFA wishes to strengthen oversight of subcontracting by eliminating poorly managed provision. However, we advise caution in the introduction of major changes to subcontracting agreements when it is acknowledged by ESFA that 576,000 learners benefit from this type of provision. The 674 prime contractors, who currently subcontract to 2,288 subcontractors, are already held responsible for the quality assurance and financial arrangements of the programmes on which students are enrolled. Additional requirements may make this type of provision untenable in the future.
Full response to consultation