Sub-Contracting Policy 2022/23

About Creative Sport & Leisure Ltd

Formed in August 2013, Creative Sport & Leisure provides apprenticeships, study programmes and traineeships for employers and learners in the Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing Sector. Creative Sport & Leisure’s success comes from positioning itself to deliver demand led skills training to the sector, by responding to the labour market and skills gaps identified through local and national employers. These employers are all keen to establish the training requirements that will create the future workforce for the sector. By operating in this way, Creative Sport & Leisure works with many partners across the UK who share a strategic ambition and vision to work on the same agenda. Through this partnership work Creative Sport & Leisure recognises that for reasons of efficiency and local engagement with Levy paying employers it would be beneficial in future for some of our partners to hold subcontracts.

Creative Sport & Leisure is committed to providing high quality provision and an outstanding learning experience for all its learners, including those receiving their provision through one of our partners. Our employers equally expect a first-class service and the development of fully competent and skilled young people through an apprenticeship with us. Quality and achievement are key drivers to the provision and partners are required to adhere to our Policies and Procedures for the delivery of Teaching, Learning and Assessment (TLA) and engage positively in the process of continuous improvement and self-assessment.

Creative Sport & Leisure believe that the following criteria help to deliver successful quality outcomes for both learners and employers and value for money. We therefore require all Creative Sport & Leisure sub contracting delivery partners to:

  • Meet a minimum qualification success rate of 85%
  • Ensure employment outcomes for a minimum of 90% of apprentices following completion
  • Ensure all provision delivered beneath level 3 offers progression for individuals to at least this level, ideally having pathways through to higher levels
  • Provide robust quality assurance arrangements and meet the standards that are required for Ofsted Grade 1 or 2.
  • Hold centre approval for the qualifications being delivered
  • Ensure that the apprenticeship terms agreed with employers meets Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) rules and regulations


This document applies to all supply chain activity supported with funds supplied by the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) or any successor organisations.

The Sub-Contracting Policy is now a mandatory requirement that must be in place prior to participating in any sub-contracting activity from 1 August 2013. The content of this policy has been developed in line with AoC/AELP Common Accord and the ESFA latest funding rules.

The Policy

Creative Sport & Leisure will use its supply chains to optimise the impact and effectiveness of service delivery to the end user, be it employer or learner. Creative Sport & Leisure will therefore ensure that:

  1. Supply chain management activities comply with the principles of best practice in the skills sector.
  2. Creative Sport & Leisure will at all times undertake fair and transparent procurement activities, conducting robust due diligence procedures on potential subcontractors to ensure compliance with the Common Accord at all levels and to ensure the highest quality of learning delivery is made available, demonstrating value for money and a positive impact on learner lives.
  3. The funding that is retained by Creative Sport & Leisure will be related to the costs of the services provided. These services, and the levels of funding being retained for them, will be clearly documented and agreed by all parties. The rates of such retained funding will be commercially viable for both sides and will be negotiated and agreed in a fair and transparent manner. They will be proportionate to the actual services being provided.
  4. Where disputes between supply chain partners cannot be resolved through mutually agreed internal resolution procedures, Creative Sport & Leisure will submit to independent outside arbitration or mediation and abide by its findings. Contract documents will require both parties to agree that the achievements of supply chains are attained through adherence to both the letter and spirit of contracts or partnerships. Signatories therefore commit that all discussions, communications, negotiations and actions undertaken to build, maintain and develop supply chains will be conducted in good faith in accordance with the overarching principle.

Creative Sport & Leisure is seeking to deliver the majority of its funding through direct delivery. However, Creative Sport & Leisure has secured a number of contracts which necessitate the need to enter into subcontract arrangements on the request of the employer. Any subcontractors will be contracted on a limited basis and only when the best interests of the Creative Sport & Leisure’s community are served through the use of the partners.

Rationale for sub-contracting

Creative Sport & Leisure is committed to high quality delivery of a wide range of courses to meet its wider community’s needs, in line with the funders’ priorities and identified skills gaps. Where appropriate a small percentage of that delivery is delivered through high quality partners with the experience and expertise to meet specific learner needs.

Sub-contracted delivery will be used to:

  • Provide immediate provision to meet a specific identified need whilst reviewing the expansion of direct capacity.
  • Providing access to, or engagement with, a new range of customers.
  • Support another provider to develop capacity/quality.
  • Provide niche delivery where the cost of developing direct delivery would be inappropriate.
  • Support employers with a wide geographic requirement

We will only subcontract where we are confident that:

  • The proposed delivery is in the best interests of learners and employers
  • The proposed delivery has a clear strategic fit with our mission, objectives and values
  • There is sufficient expertise within the Creative Sport & Leisure to quality assure the provision
  • There is sufficient staff resource in support areas to administer the processes
  • The Subcontractor is approved by our due-diligence process
  • There is sufficient funding available within our funding contract
  • The Subcontractor agrees to work within the terms of our contract

Quality Improvement

Sub contracted activity is recognised as a fundamental part of the Creative Sport & Leisure’s provision. The quality of the provision will be monitored and managed through the existing Quality Assurance processes and procedures, as amended in order to fully encompass all sub contracted activity. All sub-contractor partners will work with our experienced Head of Learning & Development and Head of Central Services to ensure that delivery in our name meets our robust requirements for experience and achievement.

This Policy positions sub-contracted provision as a core part of Creative Sport & Leisure activity to enable continuous improvements in the quality of teaching, learning and assessment for both Creative Sport & Leisure and its subcontractor’s. This will be achieved through the sharing of effective practice across the supply chain, for example through the Self-Assessment Report process.

Publication of information relating to sub-contracting

In compliance with Education Skills Funding Agency and other agency funding rules that apply, Creative Sport & Leisure 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 ESFA).

This will only relate to ‘provision subcontracting’ i.e. subcontracted delivery of full programmes or frameworks and standards. 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 an Apprenticeship framework or outreach support). Provision subcontracting lists will be agreed with local ESFA Officials prior to publication.

Creative Sport & Leisure will ensure all actual and potential subcontractors have sight of this policy and any other relevant documents and Due Diligence documentation which ensures that Creative Sport & Leisure can assess:

  • The percentage range of fees retained to manage subcontractors, and how this range is calculated.
  • The rationale used to determine the level of fee retained through each sub-contract is a risk based approach.
  • The contributory risk factors that would result in differences in fees charged for, or support provided to, different subcontractors
  • Previous track record
  • Success levels
  • Type of customers to be engaged
  • Type of provision to be undertaken
  • Payment terms between the Creative Sport & Leisure and subcontractors – timing of payments in relation to delivering provision and timescale for paying invoices and claims for funding received.

The support subcontractors will receive in return for the fees charged.


This policy will be reviewed in each year and updated as required.

The Policy will be discussed with all current and future Subcontractors during contract negotiation meetings and reviewed at least annually in July of each year. Any changes will be notified to subcontractors as part of their regular performance review or through separate correspondence.

Supply Chain Fees and Charges

The ‘Supply Chain Fees and Charges’ applies to subcontractors of the organisation, as listed on the ‘Declaration of Subcontractors’ and notified to the ESFA. Creative Sport & Leisure retains a maximum of 20% of funding delivered through subcontractors for a standard subcontracting agreement, this figure ranges between 10% to 20%. This retention is calculated to cover day-to-day management of subcontracted delivery, monitoring of learner progress, collecting and updating due diligence, ensuring audit compliance, dealing with partner queries, coordinating self-assessment processes, quality and compliance monitoring, as well as other similar services as needed. The retention also includes administration support to process the data, ILR management, Middle and Senior Management support (working with national agencies, funding bodies, advice relating to policies, ESFA guidance, etc.), and management of funding and finances (preparation and processing of payments).

The exact mix and level of support for each Subcontractor will vary depending on the needs of the individual Subcontractor. It is calculated based on the amount of staff time and resources are required to support the successful implementation, quality assurance and delivery of the subcontract.

The type of support and guidance they can expect include:

  • Quality management systems
  • Certification and registration with awarding bodies if required
  • Management Information Services and data control advice
  • Subcontracting and Charging Policy 2020/21
  • Safeguarding of Young People and Vulnerable Adults procedures
  • Health and Safety compliance
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment observations and coaching
  • CPD Opportunities and planned training and development
  • Support with Funding Rules compliance
  • Regular quality and delivery meetings
  • Equality and diversity support
  • Support to produce policies
  • Support to produce SAR & QIP
  • Utilisation of facilities/equipment within/from Creative Sport & Leisure

Not all Subcontractors are charged the same management fee with the differences in fees being dependent upon the level of support required, the experience of the Subcontractor, their target learners; their track record, published success rates and the level of risk as determined by the due diligence process. Creative Sport & Leisure will endeavour to ensure the retained fee arrangements for different subcontractors are fair and equitable based on these parameters. If additional and/or exceptional services are required of the organisation in ensuring quality subcontractor provision, there will be a separate fee agreed above the core retention percentage based on usage (such as Internal Verification, additional training etc.).

Payment Arrangements

  • Payments are made on a monthly basis by the end of the following month in which the activity is successfully processed and uploaded to the Data Service by Creative Sport & Leisure (unless agreed otherwise)
  • Following validation of the evidence in the ILR return, Creative Sport & Leisure will make the appropriate payment to the Subcontractor based on the level of income calculated by the validation process in that month less the agreed management fee
  • VAT is charged on the management fee at a rate of 20%
  • Payments are made by BACS
  • Creative Sport & Leisure expects that the Subcontractors will fully engage in the assessment of accuracy of payments and they therefore have the responsibility to review their remittance advices to identify any inaccuracies.

All contracting is done on an annual basis and agreements will be recalculated and negotiated each year at contract renewal, giving sub-contractors the opportunity to reduce their fees through continuous improvement.

Additional Support for Sub-contractors

The precise additional support given to each sub-contractor will be negotiated with that sub-contractor, but will be based on a ‘risk’ approach and may include:

  • Additional site visits
  • Additional lesson observations
  • Additional support
  • More rigorous verification
  • Support to produce policies
  • Support to produce SAR & QIP

Additional Charges

Creative Sport & Leisure 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 Creative Sport & Leisure
  • Internal Verification

All subcontracted provision is subject to a full legal agreement with the college and failure to meet robust quality requirements may result in the withdrawal of all funding.

Subcontractors are subject to external audit, including Ofsted and all funding agencies and cooperation with these processes are explicit within the contracting agreement.

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