Schools, education and childcare Adult Education Sub-contracting

Sub-contracting fees and charges policy 2023-24

Manchester Adult Education Service

Policy Aim 

This document aims to provide consistency of approach and transparency to the Service’s supply-chain fees and charges in relation to its sub-contracting provision.  MAES sub-contracted provision is funded from the GMCA Adult Education Budget which is part funded by the European Social Fund.

Definition of Terms

Standard Management Fee – this is a standard fee applied to all sub-contracted provision to account for standard costs incurred by the Service through its management of these contracts.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) – Government funded agency that supports provision for learners in further education who are aged 19 or over in Greater Manchester.

1.    Reasons for sub-contracting

The Service recognises the need to offer as diverse a range of provision as possible, in as flexible and cost effective a way as possible.  By working in partnership with sub-contractors the Service is able to do the following:

  • Offer niche provision;
  • Engage with the wider community, therefore increasing wider participation by attracting learners who are unable, or unwilling, to attend provision offered in the Service’s main centres;
  • Provide immediate provision to meet a specific identified need;
  • Provide access to, or engagement with, a new range of customers;
  • Offer flexibility by delivering provision at times and venues convenient to learners;
  • Ensure greater cost efficiency.

2.    Quality Improvement

The Service is committed to continual improvement in teaching and learning, both in its own direct provision and in its sub-contracted provision.  The quality of the provision will be monitored and managed through the existing Quality Assurance processes and procedures.

In terms of sub-contracting provision specifically the following processes are in place to help monitor quality of provision, and actively improve quality on an on-going basis:

  • A programme of monthly Quality Improvement sessions;
  • A Link Manager assigned to each sub-contractor in order to provide help and support and who visits at least four times to monitor and verify the performance of the sub-contractor to ensure quality learning is delivered;
  • Quality monitoring includes sight and discussion of all teaching and management systems and a teaching observation;
  • Attendance at training sessions offered by the Service as appropriate.

3.    Publication of Information relating to sub-contracting

In compliance with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and other agency funding rules that apply, the Service will publish its sub-contracting fees and charges policy and actual end-of-year sub-contracting fees and charges on its website before the start of each academic year (and in the case of actual end of year data, as required by the GMCA).  This will only relate to ‘provision of sub-contracting’, i.e. sub-contracted delivery of full programmes or frameworks.  It will not include the delivery of a service as part of the delivery of a programme (for example, buying the delivery of part of a programme).  

4.    The support sub-contractors receive in return for the fee charged by the Service

Standard Management Fee – The Standard Management Fee is 10% and is applied to all contracts and is the proportion of GMCA funding retained by the Service to cover standard costs incurred through the management of these contracts.  These costs include:

  • Due diligence checks for potential sub-contractors as part of the annual tendering process;
  • Administration including MIS tasks to create new courses and registers for the sub-contracted provision;
  • A Link Manager for each sub-contractor who will carry out regular site visits and offer curriculum planning advice;
  • Skills updating sessions for delivery of staff to include enrolment, eligibility of learners, equality and diversity, quality assurance including RARPAP;
  • Contract compliance and performance management meetings;
  • Strategic review meetings to identify areas for development;
  • Monthly meetings to review progress and focus on any areas for improvement;
  • Travel to sub-contractor and delivery premises;
  • MIS functions relating to the submission of funding claims to the GMCA;
  • Checking for learner eligibility, funding, accuracy and timeliness in line with GMCA rules;
  • Data input of learner details for enrolment and completion;
  • Monthly reconciliations to ensure accuracy and timeliness of data;
  • Quality audits in line with the Service’s QA processes including quality sampling of learners to track learner progress and quality improvement guidance;
  • Announced and short notice observations with checks on student attendance and constructive feedback to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment;
  • Learner surveys to gain feedback of learner experience and prompt any action;
  • External audit of sub-contracting controls;
  • Sharing of ‘Good Practice’.

Appendix A shows the frequency/number of the above activities during the contract year.

Additional Charges per Learner

The Service may also retain funding to cover the cost of any funded activity that it might undertake on behalf of the sub-contractor such as:

  • Awarding Organisation fees and charges;
  • Hiring of facilities/equipment within/from the Service;
  • Internal Verification.

Such payments will be agreed in advance and confirmed in writing.

5.    Payment Terms

An initial set up payment of 20% is offered to all sub-contractors and thereafter payments are made upon satisfactory evidence of delivery through enrolment forms and registers.  Upon receipt of satisfactory evidence the Service will pay associated invoices within 30 days of the invoice date.  This payment will be made by BACS transfer.  However, if any supporting evidence is queried by the Service then payment will be withheld until these queries are resolved, and payment will then be made at the earliest possible opportunity.

6.    Policy Review

The Service will review this policy annually and update as required.  The review will take place at the end of July each year and any policy revisions will be completed and published prior to the commencement of the next academic year.

7.    Communication

Any changes to the policy will be communicated to the existing sub-contractors at contract management meetings.  Furthermore, the Service will distribute a copy of this policy to all potential new sub-contractors and discuss it with them as part of the Service’s pre-contracting process.

8.    Publication of Policy

If you would like a signed PDF version of this document please email:

9.    Approval

Approved By:    Brian Henry

Position:            Head of Manchester Adult Education Service

Approval Date:  27th July 2023

Review Date:    31 July 2024

Appendix 1

Pre-contract processes

Activity – The following activities are included in the standard contract management and covered by the retained funding element. Number/frequency included in the standard retained funding element.
Annual due diligence One per year
Issuing standard sub-contract Agreement One per year


Contract and MIS processes

Activity – The following activities are included in the standard contract management and covered by the retained funding element. Number/frequency included in the standard retained funding element.
Initial meeting for new providers One per year
Contract compliance and performance management meeting Three per year
Issuing MAES documents and forms to be used by the sub-contractor As and when required/amended
Agreeing use of sub-contractor templates and forms (if at least as good as MAES documents) One per year 
Entering learner data and amendments onto the ILR and checking eligibility Throughout the year
Entering attendance data and reconciling with the ILR Throughout the year
Calculating fees due and processing payments Throughout the year
Data-match checks with other main contractors with whom the sub-contractor works – if applicable Throughout the year
External audit of sub-contracting controls One per year


Quality Assurance processes

Activity – The following activities are included in the standard contract management and covered by the retained funding element. Number/frequency included in the standard retained funding element.
Quality Improvement sessions Monthly from September until May each year
Quality Assurance visits and lesson/assessor observations Four per year (more by arrangement)
Standardisation meetings One per year
Annual Survey of learners One per year
Audit of MIS data including enrolment forms and attendance records Throughout the year
Review of learner documents including tracking records, reviews and ILPs Three per year
Contact with the sub-contractor regularly to support and monitor performance Throughout the year
Annual review of the sub-contractor provision with MAES self-assessment process and Quality Improvement Plan One per year




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