Subcontracting Supply-chain Fees and Charges Policy in Adult Learning

1. Policy Statement

Surrey County Council's Surrey Adult Learning (SAL) Service is committed to utilising its Adult Education Budget funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to widen participation among adults in learning. By working with key partners, SAL are able to support the community to access teaching and learning that we do not have the resources to provide directly. Working with subcontractors allows us to offer a wider choice of learning to our local community. The Service is interested in working with subcontracted partner organisations who are able to help extend the availability of Community Learning across the County's diverse adult population.

Any decision to subcontract with a partner organisation will be based on the availability of funding and an identified training need for learners. Most importantly, the potential partner organisation must be able to demonstrate the ability to deliver high quality training and education, and that they have a sound financial standing.

The Service has within its ESFA Adult Education budget a relatively small Adult Skills allocation. The Service will only subcontract this funding where such an arrangement will provide education and training that the Service does not have the infrastructure or expertise to deliver itself.


This policy applies to all subcontracted partner organisations.

2. Improving the Quality of Teaching and Learning

SAL will support all subcontracted partner organisations, and will develop and share good practice through quality reviews, operational meetings, observations of teaching and learning and learner and employer feedback.

3. Management Fees

The ESFA mechanisms for Community Learning and the Adult Skills qualification programmes are based on different funding models. Community Learning is a grant based contract while the Adult Skills work is based on a unit rate per qualification. For Community Learning the fee charged is notional as there are no national published unit rates for these courses

There is an assumed cost to SAL in all subcontracting arrangements - to support the procurement process, plus the ongoing administration, quality assurance and management of the contracts.

3.1. Community Learning

The nature of the Community Learning funding grant, and the diverse nature of the programmes/groups within the community that may benefit from the activities of subcontractor organisations are such that not all subcontractors are paid the same fee per learning outcome. Differences in fees are dependent upon the profile of target learners; the length of the courses; the level of support required from the Community Learning service; the experience of the subcontractor, their track record and published success rates; and the level of risk as determined by the due diligence process.

There is no management fee component retained in Community Learning subcontracting arrangements. The resource input from SAL is funded through its ESFA core grant.

Subcontractors working with Surrey Adult Learning do receive a high level of support and guidance and access to the Service's systems, including:

  • Quality management systems
  • Management Information Services and data control advice
  • Audit of management systems and delivery and observation of teaching, learning and assessment
  • CPD opportunities and planned training and development
  • Advice on national funding and policy guidance
  • Support with Funding Rules compliance

The two critical considerations in engaging a subcontractor is that they will add value to the Surrey Adult Learning offer in Surrey, and that the contract represents value for money.

3.2. Adult Skills

A management fee of 15.0% will be retained from the value of the ESFA rates for each qualification as set out in the ESFA funding rate matrix for each learning aim. The support and guidance arrangements are as outlined for Community Learning above.

4. Payment Arrangements

Payments will only be made to the Subcontractor once SAL have received the funding from the ESFA (or its successor), and completed enrolment forms and associated documents have been received from the subcontractor and processed by the Service.

SAL will pay the subcontractor delivering against the Community Learning budget in November, February and May based on the enrolments that have been processed in the current term. The Subcontractor will be notified of the payment if there is a variation against the planned schedule of outcomes. The subcontractor will invoice the Service for that amount in line with actual performance. The Service will normally pay the Subcontractor within 30 days of receiving the invoice. Any anomalies that arise following payment will be subject to reconciliation at a later invoicing date.

SAL will pay the subcontractor delivering against the Adult Skills on a batch basis on receipt of completed enrolment and achievement documents, no less than once per term.

5. Policy Communication

This Policy is available online and can be made available in hard copy upon request. The Policy will be discussed with all current and future subcontractors during contract negotiation meetings.

6. Publishing Funding Data

Data regarding the actual level of funding paid to each Subcontractor will be published annually within 30 days of the Individualised Learner Record closing.

7. Policy Review

The Policy will be reviewed on a regular basis and/or when significant changes in the Funding Rules occur.

8. Monitoring and Evaluation

A member of the Surrey Adult Learning Senior Leadership Team will meet with the subcontractor once each term to monitor and review progress against the contract targets and to agree any changes emerging from the review.

9. Performance Management

SAL is funded and monitored against the Performance Management Rules, which allow the ESFA to adjust contract funding according to provider performance measured against national tolerances throughout the contract year. The Service will likewise adjust subcontractor funding, where appropriate, against the Performance Management Rules as set by the ESFA.

10. Supplier Opportunities

The Service operates a due diligence process for all subcontractors including Provision and Service Subcontractors.

All subcontractors of SAL must complete the due diligence process and have approval from the Service before they can undertake any form of subcontracting.

In addition, all existing subcontractors must refresh annually any time critical documentation that they had previously submitted such as Employers Public Liability Insurance, teaching staff employed and their relevant qualifications, and annual end of year accounts.

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