Apprenticeship procurement

Writing on paper

Start by choosing a training provider

Employers use their apprenticeship service account to select an apprenticeship framework or standard, and identify an approved training provider to deliver the training. Levy funds can only be used to pay for apprenticeship training that is delivered by providers and employers that appear on the register of approved apprenticeship training providers (RoATP).  

The employer and training provider agree a price for each apprenticeship, which includes the costs of the training and assessment. For apprenticeship standards this must include the cost of the end-point assessment.

For the time being there is a threshold in place which means that organisations who want to deliver less than £100,000's worth of apprenticeship training per year as a subcontractor will not need to apply to join the register (they can apply if they want to) in order to deliver apprenticeships.

For more information please visit apprenticeship funding.

Procuring services

A number of different models for procuring apprenticeship training and assessments are currently being explored across the NHS. While there isn’t a single national approach being developed, some of the models will allow national access to training providers while others work across a particular region.

The table below provides a top level summary of some of the key features of the models we are aware of to date. We will continue to keep employers updated as more information becomes available. Any blanks in the table represent knowledge unknown at this time. 


When procuring a provider and an assessment organisation from the approved registers, public sector bodies will need to comply with Public Contracts Regulations 2015

A directive that simplifies the rules for where most procurement spend and activity takes place can be found at Gov.UK. 

There is also more flexibility for services caught by the so-called ‘light touch regime’ which includes certain social, health and education services. A feature of this regime is that it can be applied where contracts fall below a certain value and makes the process easier. The financial thresholds are set out in this policy guidance.

Procurement models 

Name   Brief overview   Timeframe   Charge 
NHS Shared Business Service (SBS) SBS have been working with trusts in Greater Manchester to set up a Framework Agreement akin to a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS). Providers apply to join the DPS and pay a small charge.
Other areas are interested in this approach and are waiting to see the outcome of the work in Manchester and elsewhere.
Available from May 2017. No cost attached for trusts.

Greater Manchester Devolution group Alongside the work with SBS the GM Devolution group are working on a similar DPS with the Local Authorities and other Public Sector bodies. Possibly available in the Autumn. No charges will be attached.
London Procurement Partnerships (LPP) Members of the LLP have developed a DPS to give public sector bodies a route to contract with training providers. Currently London and the South East are using this but the system can provide full England coverage.
Providers will be charged for joining the LPP DPS, which they account for in their tender to be placed on a framework and may seek to recover this cost. 
Available in London and South East but can be used across England.  The levy funds cannot be used for provider costs.
Salisbury NHSFT Commercial Services
Salisbury’s Commercial Services team operates a DPS for both NHS and other public bodies. The service includes on-boarding suppliers, assisting with specifications, and helping to procure and evaluate training providers. Providers pay a 1 per cent fee on business awarded.
The service can also support aggregation with other organisations to drive volume or create new courses.
Available from March 2017.  There is no charge to client organisations.
Crown Commercial Services (CCS)
CCS are working with Civil Service Learning to develop a framework agreement to provide access to small pool of suppliers who will deliver clusters, or ‘lots’ of apprenticeship standards/frameworks commonly used across central government and the wider public sector.
The 11 lots cover 20 standards and five frameworks in areas such as Leadership and Management, Project Delivery, HR, Finance, Digital, Customer Service, Business Administration.
Unlikely to be in place before end July 2017.
We do not expect any charges to be passed onto trusts.
Managed Learning Service provider
Procurement is ongoing for a single MLS provider who will provide Sourcing Services for a wide range of L&D requirements. Apprenticeship training is in the scope of this service, so this could be a route for procuring apprenticeship training providers.
Provider will not be in place before July 2017.
Cannot be paid for using levy funds.
North of England
Commercial Procurement Collaborative
North of England (NoE) CPC has opened a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) to allow NHS organisations to access approved providers.
Available from April 2017.
Norfolk and Norwich Norfolk and Norwich offer a framework rather than a DPS which has been set up by Norfolk County Council.
This is different to a DPS as it isn't live all the time and only opens up when the lead organisation allows it. 
Restricted to Norfolk and neighbouring counties.
Partnership across Lincolnshire
A procurement partnership is being developed across Lincolnshire similar to the London model. 
Nottinghamshire   Work is currently ongoing to develop a DPS across STP footprints in Nottinghamshire.    

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