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Created 31 March 2021 11:22
We've recently had an auditor tell us that we need to keep a copy of the Apprenticeship Completion certificate in the learner's file/evidence pack, or run the risk of not being compliant - does anyone else have experience of this?
I know in the 18/19 rules it explicitly stated that this was not needed for Standard completions, and that "written confirmation from the EPAO to you about the outcome of the end-point assessment, evidence that the minimum duration requirement has been met, and, where applicable, evidence that the employer’s co-investment has been collected and recorded" would be sufficient.. however I cannot see anything stated in the 19/20 or 20/21 rules around this. It says that for EPA the evidence pack must contain;
P371.1 confirmation that the employer has been informed, as part of their contract, of their obligations around arranging end-point assessment;
P371.2 signed statement by employer and provider that the apprentice meets the gateway requirements and is ready to undertake end-point assessment;
P371.3 signed statement by employer and provider that the apprentice is still employed until the end-point assessment is completed;
P371.4 a copy of the contract between the Provider and the EPAO for the apprentice’s end-point assessment; and
P371.5 evidence of payments made to the end-point assessment organisation for conducting the end-point assessment.
None of the above mentions anything about retaining a copy of the certificate, or even confirmation that the learner passed (as it did in 18/19) - are we to glean from this that no confirmation is required?! How would it be enforceable to fail a provider on an audit if they didn't keep a copy of either?
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Seriously. The majority of this information is available on the EPAO portal. You don't get a certificate if the learner fails, the declarations submitted to the portal confirm the apprentice and employer agree that the apprentice is ready for EPA, how much more bureaucracy do we need? As if we don't have enough to do!
31 March 2021 11:34
The Audit requirement for this is different for FM 35 where evidence of Apprenticeship completion requires ‘The framework achievement payment claimed is supported by a completion certificate, or by an application for a certificate within the last three months, and confirmation that minimum duration requirements have been met’.
For FM 36 it is ‘The completion payment is supported by evidence of completion, evidence that the minimum duration requirement has been met and, where applicable, evidence that the employer's co-investment has been collected and recorded.
Did you not ask where it states a copy of the Apprenticeship completion certificate is required?
31 March 2021 11:39
Not to repeat myself too frequently but remember, if the auditor you are directly working with says something you disagree with, tell them you want to speak to their boss and if they're still wrong, tell them you want them to take it to the policy team. The person in the room (in the virtual room!) is not the final arbiter.
And never fall for "best practice" guidelines, if it aint in black & white in the rules, don't do it ;)
31 March 2021 13:02
Martin West - As always, thanks for your input. Unfortunately I wasn't personally present otherwise I'd have definitely asked which funding rule they were referring to that stipulates we must keep a copy of the certificate. I can appreciate how 'evidence of completion' is I guess most easily demonstrated by the completion certification, but my issue was with the fact they stated it must be this, which is a sentiment that seems to be shared by us all.
Steveh - I've definitely done this in the past whilst working in FE! Currently working at a university who are slightly apprehensive about now being under the remit of Ofsted, so I don't know quite to what extent they'll be prepared to engage in a tussle haha, but I'll absolutely try to suggest this.
Seems like we're all of the same opinion though; there's no rule stating that we must retain a copy. The EPAO doesn't even have to send us one.
31 March 2021 13:09
Heh, first thing is to disabuse them of the notion that ESFA Audits and Ofsted have anything to do with each other ;)
31 March 2021 13:18
Steveh Ben James Sue Bishop I know this is a really old post - but in relation to the signed statement from the employer saying the apprentice will be employed until EPA completion - what are people doing to cover this? Would a progress review just before Gateway suffice? I don't see the point in the need for a statement from the employer saying the apprentice will still be employed until EPA completion - when the very next day, the apprentice could resign or get dismissed! Surely the Apprenticeship Agreement would show the learner is going to be employed for the full duration ... it's just creating more work for the sake of it :(
28 October 2021 23:09