Approved Supplier Status
The LSCi’s main duty under the Learning and Skills Act is to arrange post-16 education and training of a high enough quality and quantity to meet learners’ needs. The main purpose of funding suppliers is to help the LSC carry out this duty. ‘Learning to Succeed’ and ‘Raising Standards in post-16 Learning’ make the LSC responsible for encouraging and supporting the development of high-quality new provisions, leading to a wider base of new suppliers.
If you are successful with a tender, and do not currently contract with the LSC, you will need to go through an assessment process to help the LSC decide whether you can meet their minimum requirements. This process aims to help make sure that organisations can provide quality provision that meet the needs of learners. Organisations will need to complete the Approved Supplier process prior to finalising contracts with the LSC.
The application process aims to help the LSC make sure that the organisations awarded contracts can provide quality provision that meet the needs of learners. It also aims to:
- Keep the bureaucracy of the application process to a minimum
- Help the LSC be more flexible in the way they deal with smaller organisations
This assessment will review a number of areas, including: resources, equipment and facilities, health and safety, and equal opportunities.
Assessing New Providers
If a Provider does not hold a contract with any LSC, then they will have to be taken through the New Provider Process; a series of checks that are conducted by the LSC to confirm that the Provider is suitable to hold an LSC contract. This process must be completed prior to the formal agreement of the ESFi contract.
The following is a summary of the process, further information will be provided to relevant organisations once they have been invited to enter into contract negotiations.
The New Provider Process enables the LSC to assess new organisations for:
- Financial health – to understand how much risk the organisation presents to LSC’s funds and those managed by the LSC and to ensure that the organisation is able to carry out its duties
- The quality of education and training and the standards achieved by learners – to assess the organisation’s potential to offer well-managed services and to raise standards and achievement levels over time
- Quality assurance and continuous improvement – to assess how effectively the organisation uses its quality assurance and continuous improvement processes
- Data management – to assess the organisation’s ability to meet LSC’s information requirements and comply with the Data Protection Act
- Health and safety – to assess the organisation’s ability to provide a safe, healthy and supporting environment for all learners
- Equal opportunities – to assess the organisation’s ability to promote equal opportunities in all areas of operation and in particular, to provide access and support achievement for learners of particular backgrounds
New Providers will be asked to complete an application form that covers the above criteria. This should be submitted to the LSC along with a range of supporting documents covering:
- Management structure
- Details of publicly-funded contracts
- Details relating to staff qualifications
- Organisation prospectus or leaflet (if available)
- Business plan or development plan
- Relevant financial information
- Financial and legal statement
- Health and safety questionnaire
- Equal opportunities questionnaire
Following an assessment of this information, the application will either be rejected or recommended for further consideration. The LSC will inform the organisation of the decision in writing, providing feedback to those organisations that have been rejected.