Subcontracting and Supply Chain Policy - Skills Bootcamps

Purpose and Scope

The University of Birmingham (UoB) is committed to delivering high quality training for Skills Bootcamp learners. Where UoB enters into contracts with the Funding bodies for Skills Bootcamp learners (“Funding Bootcamp Agreements”) for the training of those learners, UoB may sub-contract certain of its obligations to sub-contractors or Supply Chain Delivery Members.

This policy outlines UoB’s relationship with its sub-contractors and Supply Chain Delivery Members, which areas of training UoB sub-contracts, the process for choosing a sub-contractor or Supply Chain Delivery Member, and how UoB determines the associated costs of sub-contracting.

This policy covers (a) agreements entered into by UoB with third parties by which UoB sub-contracts, in return for a sub-contracting fee charged by the third party, certain of its obligations under Funding Bootcamp Agreements; and (b) agreements entered into by UoB with third parties by which UoB and those third parties collaborate under a revenue share model in order to deliver certain of UoB’s obligations under Employer Bootcamp Agreements. In this policy, the phrase ‘sub-contracting’ (and equivalent) is used in connection with both sorts of arrangements.

Overarching Principle

UoB commits to the overarching principle of optimising the impact and effectiveness of service delivery to learners by:

  • Undertaking fair and transparent procurement activities in connection with the appointment of sub-contractors, and conducting robust due diligence procedures.
  • Ensuring that any revenue share or sub-contracting fee is calculated by reference to the costs of services provided by sub-contractors.

Current Sub-contractors and Supply Chain Delivery Members

A contract between edX Boot Camps (UK) Limited (company registration number 11172271) (f/k/a Trilogy Education Services UK Limited) and the University of Birmingham was signed in February 2019 for the delivery of Skills Bootcamps. The agreement is due to expire on 31st August 2024. From 1st November 2021 the University entered into a contract with West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to deliver Skills Bootcamps in Coding and Data Analytics; that Agreement requires UoB to be the principal and, under Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) rules, to sub-contract certain of its obligations to edX Boot Camps (UK) Limited as a Supply Chain Delivery Member.

Subcontracting Process

Upon commencement of the sub-contracting process, UoB will consider a Business Case Proposal to ensure that:

  • The proposed delivery is of high-quality provision and in the best interests of learners
  • The proposed delivery has a clear strategic fit with our mission, objectives and values
  • The proposed delivery is meeting the skills needs of local employers
  • There is sufficient expertise within UoB to quality assure the provision and delivery
  • There is sufficient staff resource in support areas to administer the processes
  • The sub-contractor is approved by our due diligence process
  • The agreement is able to demonstrate good value for money
  • The sub-contractor agrees to work within the terms of the relevant Funding Agreement
  • The safety and safeguarding of learners is embedded across all provision
  • The proposed delivery is making the provision available to a wider cross-section of the community.
  • Sub-contracting arrangements are in-line with the relevant Education & Skills Funding Agency Funding Rules and Guidance.

Rationale for Sub-Contracting

UoB sub-contracts in order to enhance the opportunities available to learners through local and accessible provision and to fill gaps in niche or expert provision. UoB is committed to only enter sub-contracting agreements where the sub-contractor possess the requisite facilities, management and technical expertise to ensure proper delivery. UoB does not contract to meet short term funding objectives.

All sub-contracting arrangements for Skills Bootcamp provision must fulfil at least one of the following aims:

  • To meet the skills and training needs of the region
  • To support the strategic objectives of UoB
  • To serve a specific demographic need that would not otherwise be met
  • To bring positive community benefits
  • To build capacity in high demand subjects areas
  • To deliver learning that otherwise could not be offered
  • To utilise organisations who have strong experience in the delivery of Skills Bootcamps and wrap around support for non-traditional students.
  • To support UoB in meeting the needs of priority sectors, where specialist teaching and provision is required.

Sub-Contracting Agreements

  • Sub-Contracting Agreements comply with current ESFA and WMCA Funding Rules.
  • UoB and the Sub-Contractor will have a legally binding contract which will detail contractual (including reason for delivery, the services the University will provide, associated costs) and quality assurance arrangements for the contract year.
  • Each supply chain delivery organisation must have a valid UK Provider Registration Number (UKPRN) where they are delivering any element of teaching, learning or assessment.
  • It is the responsibility of UoB to obtain an annual report from an external auditor if the total contracts within the sub-contracting delivery will exceed £100,000 in any one financial year. The report will provide assurance that UoB are managing and controlling the delivery of the sub-contractor.

Authorisation of Sub-Contracting Agreements

Sub-Contracting Agreements and any subsequent variations are authorised by the Provost and Vice-Principal or an Authorised University Signatory on behalf of UoB.

Sub-Contracting Fees

UoB will agree a revenue share with a sub-contracted organisation. The revenue share will vary depending on the delivery agreed and the management activity that will be required. The exact mix and level of support for each sub-contractor varies according to the needs of the individual sub-contractor.

UoB will receive all the funding for subcontracted delivery through the payment mechanisms of the ESFA. A proportion of that will then be passed to the sub-contractor in accordance with the ‘payment terms’ of the sub-contract. To determine the value of the funding retained by UoB, UoB will work with the sub-contractor at the business case, due diligence and contract stage to compile a list of services and products that will be provided by UoB to support quality delivery. These will be broken down into four main headings and the activities are reasonable and proportionate and contribute to the delivery of high quality Teaching, Learning and Assessment:

  • Quality Monitoring, Quality Assurance and Oversight
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Support costs and administrative functions
  • University Student Services

Sub-contractor Management Activities

UoB’s Apprenticeship and Skills Bootcamps Steering Group is responsible for the management of all sub-contracted provision. The Steering Group’s terms of reference are:

  1. To have oversight of the Skills Bootcamp provision at the University of Birmingham (UoB) as a training provider.
  2. To own, develop, and update as required, the University’s strategy on Skills Bootcamps, with the Chair of the Steering Group acting as owner of the strategy.
  3. To make strategic, executive decisions regarding the portfolio of Skills Bootcamps and to provide strategic direction and guidance to Schools and Colleges.
  4. To receive, consider and approve proposals for the development of new Skills Bootcamps and sub-contraction provision.
  5. To undertake due diligence and risk assessment for existing and potential sub-contactors
  6. To manage potential reputational and/or financial risks and any threats to the University’s current provision that might arise from the development of Skills Bootcamps and sub-contracting provision.
  7. To Nominate a named monitoring officer for all data and ILR processing/queries
  8. To monitor Skills Bootcamp data relating to learner and employer numbers, retention, success and satisfaction rates.
  9. To monitor the quality of Skills Bootcamp delivery and compliance, including planned ESFA and DfE audits and visits.
  10. To report to the University Education Committee, University Quality Assurance Committee and the University Recruitment, Admissions and Targets Committee on all matters relating to Skills Bootcamps, including any impact on Colleges’ financial and resource planning.
  11. To receive reports from College Quality Assurance Committees and Working Groups on a regular basis.

Quality Assurance

Sub-contracted delivery will be expected to meet UoB’s quality assurance standards. Where content or delivery is sub-contracted the quality of provision will be monitored and managed through UoB’squality improvement processes and policy. This may include review by auditors and advisers of UoB. The Apprenticeship and Skills Bootcamps Steering Group receive reports on the quality of Skills Bootcamps and sub-contracted delivery on an annual basis.

All staff involved in the delivery of Skills Bootcamps are Associate Staff of UoB and have full access to resources provided to UoB staff. UoB also provides access to range of teaching, learning and safeguarding training for sub-contractors.

Sub-contractors will receive a high level of support and guidance, by means of bi-monthly Sub-contractor Quality and Performance Meetings and a Quarterly Joint Management Board.

Timescales for Payment of Invoices

All sub-contractor arrangements will be paid on the on the basis of an agreed proportion of funding, relating to valid funding claims, within 30 days of the invoices being authorised by UoB.

Communication of the Sub-Contractor and Supply Chain Policy

This policy is reviewed on an annual basis and amended to reflect changes to funding guidance and UoB policy for the forthcoming year. The policy is reported to the Apprenticeship and Skills Bootcamp Steering Group for approval, discussed with sub-contracted organisations during review meetings and is published on this page.

Contingency Planning

In compliance with ESFA and WMCA Skills funding rules that apply, if a sub-contractor withdraws from the arrangement, or if a sub-contractor goes into liquidation or administration, UoB undertakes to directly manage and deliver the remainder of the agreed provision already being delivered.

If UoB needs to withdraw from a sub-contracting arrangement, sufficient notice will be provided to allow sub-contractors to complete delivery of immediate provision. Contracts will clearly state conditions for termination and recovery of ESFA and/or WMCA funding grants in case of non-delivery.

Commitment to Government Policy

ESFA policy seeks to reduce overall levels of sub-contracting delivery. This includes, specifically, reducing the volume of sub-contracted delivery. ESFA policy also requires that UoB publishes its rationale and plan for sub-contracted delivery and this policy forms part of the University’s response.

Publishing of Data

In compliance with the Education & Skills Funding Agency and West Midlands Combined Authority below is the annual summary of UoB’s sub-contractor’s revenue for the funding year 1 August 2022 to 31 July 2023.

Adult Education Budget (Skills Bootcamps)


Total funding £314,550 received from the WMCA for AEB funded Digital Bootcamps. Funding was applied as Women in Tech and Diversity in Tech Scholarships for Skills Bootcamps in Coding, Data Analytics, UX/UI, Cybersecurity and Drama. £185,840 was received by the sub-contractor during the academic year and £46,460 was received by UoB on a revenue share model for sub-contracting delivery.


Amount (GBP)







WMCA Wave 3 (Skills Bootcamps)


Total funding £396,000 received from the WMCA for Wave 3 funded Skills Bootcamps. Funding was applied for Skills Bootcamps in Coding, Data Analytics, UX/UI, Cybersecurity, and Data Skills. 80% (£235,520) was received by the sub-contractor during the academic year and 20% (£58,880) was received by UoB on a revenue share model for sub-contracting delivery.


Amount (GBP)









Department for Education Wave 3 (Skills Bootcamps)


Total funding £200,400 received from the Department for Education for Wave 3 funded Skills Bootcamps. Funding was applied for Skills Bootcamps in Front-end Web Development & UX. 80% (£160,320) was received by the sub-contractor during the academic year and 20% (£40,080) was received by UoB on a revenue share model for sub-contracting delivery.


Amount (GBP)









Approved by ASBSG

Date: 14 December 2023

Review Date: 14 December 2024