Pooled PAYE

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An apprenticeship service account is set up using a PAYE number. This PAYE number can only be linked to one apprenticeship service account.  

A Pooled PAYE scheme is where multiple employers use a single PAYE scheme to report PAYE information to HMRC.  Pooled PAYE schemes are a historic practice and HMRC is not currently accepting any new requests from employers to pool PAYE schemes. 

This means employers who are part of a Pooled PAYE scheme are not able to set up individual accounts on the apprenticeship service to access the range of benefits this allows.  

For this group of employers, separating from the Pooled PAYE scheme and creating their own PAYE scheme is the best way to enable access to the apprenticeship service and the full functionality it offers.  This includes accessing funding for the training and assessment of their apprentice.

We have confirmed with HMRC that, where an organisation wishes to remain within the Pooled PAYE scheme for the purposes of paying the majority of their staff, it is permissible for them to set up their own PAYE scheme solely for the purposes of paying their apprentice staff members. This would enable the employer to set up an account on the apprenticeship service and access the full functionality it offers.

HMRC guidance on how to set up a PAYE scheme can be found here.  

If an employer wishes to remain part of the Pooled PAYE scheme, but does not want to follow the options above, there are 2 options that they can choose to enable them to access apprenticeship funding: 

  1. Working with the local authority who can employ the apprentice directly and second them to your organisation. With this option, because the local authority is the employer of the apprentice, they will be able to use their levy funds to fund the apprentice’s training and assessment and manage the apprenticeship through their apprenticeship service account. 
  2. Working with a Flexi-Job Apprenticeship Agency (FJAA); an organisation that can recruit, employ, and arrange training for apprentices on behalf of employers. 



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