Supporting our users to access funding on the Apprenticeship Service – Funding backdated starts

Training providerThis article sits within the Training provider section

Following an announcement by Eileen Milner in May 2019, about better access to buy high quality apprenticeships, transition began to a new funding model for all employers where they could open an Apprenticeship Service account to choose the provision they wanted and to manage funding to pay training providers, if the provision did not already form part of the training providers contracted funding arrangements with ESFA.

In May 2020 the ESFA confirmed this transition period will be completed on 1st April 2021, from when all starts for apprenticeships will be managed by employers through the Apprenticeship Service.

This transitional period has always been seen as a significant change for training providers. However, the introduction of the new incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice that supported our COVID recovery plans caused a rapid growth in the number of employers needing to manage funding through the apprenticeship service in order to claim this incentive. This has created business change impacts for training providers [particularly FE Colleges] that have resulted in some problems in receiving payment for the delivery of apprenticeship provision.

Key to this issue, is the need for training providers to ensure that employers have opened accounts and reserved funding prior to apprentices starting their training – a big cultural change for some, in what is already a challenging time.

We have seen many cases where:

  • Training providers have started apprentices before having funding in place
  • Employers have started to open accounts to claim their incentive
  • Commitment processes cannot be completed between employers and training providers, due to the time that has passed
  • Employers cannot be paid the incentive
  • Training providers cannot be paid for training – as double lock occurs [correctly] when the ILR entry for the learner is produced.

We recognise that we are in a period of huge transition to a very different funding model, during what is a very difficult time for employers, training providers and apprentices alike, and as such to overcome the payment issues that providers are facing, we have agreed to a temporary, time-limited change where we can arrange for:

  • Funding to be backdated to the start of the apprenticeship
  • Employer’s apprenticeship service accounts to be updated to reflect the start date and the commitment
  • The employer to claim the incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice
  • The training provider to be paid for the provision they have agreed. Payments to be backdated when the ILR is submitted and paid at the next monthly payment cycle.

This change will be available to request until the 26th April 2021. This is to reflect the deadline for employers to apply for the incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice by the end of April. This process is only available for apprentices that have not already been funded using an ESFA contract in accordance with the funding rules. 


How the process will work

The change can be requested by a training provider or an employer.

Training Providers

You should:

  1. Ensure that the employer has set-up an apprenticeship service account and request from them the Account ID reference and name – this can be found on the homepage when they log-in to the apprenticeship service
  2. Agree with the employer when the apprenticeship is due to be funded from. This must be on or after 1 Aug 2020.
  3. Contact the apprenticeship support team on 08000 150 600 to provide details of:
  • A confirmation from the employer that they have agreed to fund apprenticeship training from the date you want to request
  • Training provider name
  • ULN
  • Apprenticeship training course (Standard)
  • Start date (the genuine start date you want to 'backdate' to)
  • Employer name & Account ID
  • Confirmation the employer does not already have a reservation of funds in place on apprenticeship service for this learning (Yes/No)

You must contact us to request this process and we will discuss with you the most efficient option to return the information required.

After we have received your request, you will receive confirmation when a reservation has been set-up. The timing for this will depend on when you request it, and the attached timeline will help identify when this will happen.

  1. You can then notify the employer that a reservation has been set-up and they can then either enter the apprentice details and pass to you to confirm using the apprenticeship service, or, if they prefer, they can ask you to complete these details for them before they are asked to approve.
  2. Payments will begin to be made at the next monthly payment run at the start of each month, after you have submitted your data to the ESFA that matches the details that the employer has agreed to fund. Payments will be backdated to the 1 Aug 2020 or the start date on the ILR; whichever is the later.



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