Who can be a subcontractor?

A subcontractor is an organisation that is engaged in a contractual and legally binding arrangement with one or more lead providers, to deliver education and training provision that the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funds.

Providers of adult education and training services, including apprenticeships and traineeships must make a yearly subcontractor declaration. This includes organisations who hold:

  • funding agreements and contracts
  • an ESFA apprenticeship agreement for levy-funded apprenticeships and have an approved commitment on the apprenticeship service with at least one employer

You need to make your subcontracting declarations through the Skills Funding Service (SFS)


Using Subcontractors in the Delivery of Apprenticeships

The Government's Subcontracting Policy gives the background to this area and provides examples.


Subcontracting: For The First Time

If you want to subcontract for the first time, you must obtain the ESFA’s written permission before doing so.

Subcontracting for the first time: seeking written approval(PDF, 150KB, 4 pages) describes the process for getting permission to subcontract funding for education and training.

Along with the request to subcontract, you must also provide a report from an external auditor.


Subcontracting: Second-Level

If you want to subcontract to a second level (where a subcontractor further subcontracts to another legal entity), you must first obtain the ESFA’s written permission. You must obtain permission from the ESFA to subcontract to a second level every year.

You can find the information you need in order to review requests from providers to subcontract to a second level:

Subcontracting to a second level: seeking written approval(PDF, 156KB, 6 pages)