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2022 - 23 WMCA Skills Programmes Funding Rules

Section 6. – Skills Programmes Key Definitions

Employed and Unemployed Residents

The WMCA has chosen to adopt the Department for Work & Pensions labour force survey definition of employment/unemployment. This is:

  • Everybody aged 16 years or over is either employed, unemployed or economically inactive. The employment estimates include all people in work including those working part-time. People not working are classed as unemployed if they have been looking for work within the last four weeks and are able to start work within the next two weeks. A common misconception is that the unemployment statistics are a count of people on benefits; this is not the case, as they include unemployed people not claiming benefits.

  • Jobless people who have not been looking for work within the last four weeks or who are unable to start work within the next two weeks are classed as economically inactive. Examples of economically inactive people include people not looking for work because they are students, looking after the family or home, because of illness or disability, or because they have retired.


For 2022/23, the WMCA will continue to use the criterion to confirm whether a resident is employed. The WMCA defines residents as employed if they are in receipt of waged income as either a permanent, temporary (including part- time, zero-hour and agency contracts) or self-employed workers.

Providers should ensure that learning for those employed is directly relevant to providing new skills to enable them to progress into new or broader job roles leading to a better-paid jobs.

Unemployed & Economically Inactive

For funding purposes, the WMCA defines a resident as ‘unemployed’ if they are not currently employed and are able to start work or available for work. Providers should ensure that for those unemployed, the learning is directly relevant to their employment prospects and labour market needs and is recorded in the ILP.

The WMCA will also define economically inactive residents who are not currently employed and seeking to secure work through re-training as ‘unemployed’. For this cohort of resident’s providers should ensure that the learning is directly relevant to the resident’s future career aspirations in work and is recorded in the ILP. The training must also support their employment prospects and labour market needs.

To support assurance, activity providers should secure self-declarations from residents that can be evidenced to identify employment status set out in Confirmation and signatures.

Residents in receipt of low wage.

You may fully fund residents who are ‘Employed’ and would normally be co- funded. You must be satisfied the resident meets both of the following:

  • is eligible for co-funding; and
  • earns less than £19,350 (£9.90 per hour) based on the real living wage
  • You must have seen evidence of the resident's gross annual wages in these circumstances. This could be a wage slip within three months of the resident's learning start date, a bank statement showing the paid amount or a current employment contract that states gross monthly/annual wages.
  • Please note this is not an exhaustive list but must support your decision to award full funding to an individual who would normally be eligible for co- funding.
  • WMCA will continue to monitor the low wage position in line with the national guidance. Updates to low wage may be communicated in year.

Eligible qualifications

Where you deliver regulated qualifications and/or their components, you must ensure they are eligible for WMCA Skills Programmes funding, approved for funding and available on Find a learning aim.

Where you deliver approved qualifications and/or their components you must ensure that learners are registered for the qualifications and/or components in line with the awarding policies and procedures. You must not pre-register students a significant period in advance of the learner starting the qualification.

We will fund qualifications that are linked to occupational regulation/licence to practise. You can find more information about these qualifications at the qualifications website.

Before delivering a component you must check with the awarding organisation that they provide a learner registration facility, and the learner can achieve it alone or as part of accumulating achievement towards a qualification.

You must provide accurate unique learner number (ULN) information to awarding organisations and ensure all information you use to register learners for qualifications is correct. You can find more information in the Learner Records Service guidance.

Supply chain/subcontract

We are seeking greater transparency and closer collaboration in relation to the supply chain delivery and those services provided by third parties in the delivery of Skills Programmes. The supply chain rules and commitments are set out in Skills programme Supply Chain Funding Rules 2022/23.

The WMCA requires all its providers to have a clear rationale as to why they use a supply chain in the delivery of the Skills Programmes – this includes recruitment, delivery of teaching, learning or assessment and job finding services. We will require providers to set out rationale at course level as part of the supply chain declaration.

The detailed supply chain arrangements that underpin your funding agreement will need to be agreed as part of your delivery plan. If you do not have an agreement in place at the beginning of the funding year, you cannot enter into a supply relationship without the express written agreement of the WMCA.

If during the funding year, you wish to make in-year changes to your agreed supply chain delivery member or arrangement, you must provide a business case with a clear rationale

This must be approved and agreed with WMCA prior to any additional supply chain delivery procurement activity taking place.

You must not use your supply chain to meet short-term funding objectives.

The WMCA will be reviewing, using the ILR and its performance management reviews, the contributions of supply chain to your Delivery Plan.

The WMCA considered whether to set a funding cap on management fees for supply chains that undertake direct delivery on behalf of providers. We have concluded not to at this time, as we feel to prescribe in this way could inadvertently set a market rate. The WMCA will expect you to retain evidence to support the levels of management fees you charge for training delivery.

The WMCA will implement additional controls related to sub-contracting and associated third party services provided in the delivery of Skills Programmes. More details can be found in WMCA’s Skills Programmes Supply Chain funding rules, but the key changes are as follows:

  • Definition of the sub-contracting to be broadened to supply-chain
  • Supply chain intent to be set out through declaration
  • Declaration of course delivery at sub-contractor level
  • Ofsted inspection outcomes
  • Requirements for reporting and quality assurance
  • WMCA will also be restricting the volume and value of WMCA funds held by a sub-contractor through multiple prime contract agreements. Where a supply chain partner delivers for more than one directly contracted provider, the WMCA reserves the right to consolidate the allocation under one direct provider.
  • Where a provider has a supply chain partner that exceeds £1m, the WMCA will risk assess this arrangement and may decide to cap the arrangement at £1m.
  • WMCA will be reviewing its supply chain delivery with the view that in further years it will move towards capping supply chain to 25% of delivery. This will be reviewed as part of the PMR process to understand the impact. Please note this doesn’t include Lot 9 (SWAP Consortium).