Commenting on the embargoed Public Accounts Committee report on Learndirect, Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Mark Dawe said:
‘This isn’t about private or public sector delivery; it’s not about big or small; it is about poor quality provision.
‘What is missing at the moment is a proper data and monitoring system that identifies where the real issues are. Too often the data is flawed, out of date or inaccurate and the focus is put on the wrong providers. We are currently witnessing tens of millions of pounds being handed over to poor quality public providers to sustain them and this is not reflected in the sentiments expressed by the PAC.
‘However, AELP strongly supports the PAC’s recommendations on subcontracting and associated management fees. We have been working with DfE and ESFA on guidance and best practice to ensure that all subcontracting is done for the right reasons and on a sound basis. We want full transparency and we are disturbed that while the ESFA are restricting funding to the non levy market, some lead providers are using the opportunity to charge unjustifiably high management fees. This is totally unacceptable and we hope that official guidance will be available soon.’
The ESFA has amended its funding rules so that lead colleges and providers no longer have to publish their subcontracting arrangements and associated management fees on their websites. AELP believes that this change was mistaken and transparency around the practice should be restored.