Lyn J

TNP 2 costs

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I have question in relation to TNP2 (EPA) costs.  Our EPAO does not have a set cost for an individual EPA, the cost is determined by how many apprentices sit their EPA at any given time.  The cost decreases when the number of apprentices sitting their EPA increases, therefore one apprentice would cost more than 6, for example.  At the start of the programme we have no way of knowing how much an apprentice’s EPA would cost.  We could estimate it based on geographical location and other factors however this would just be an estimate.  

The only way we will know the exact cost of an apprentices EPA is when the EPA event has taken place.  The reason for this is that if there are any unforeseen circumstances whereby one of the apprentices booked onto the EPA event didn’t actually sit it then this would alter the cost for all remaining apprentices sitting that day.  As you can imagine this is not a very straight forward process. 

Furthermore this then in turn alters the total negotiated price and we are left with a situation at the end of the apprentices programme where we will then need to verify with the employer via the digital apprenticeship service this new cost.  My next question would be, would the employer’s action of verifying this new cost via DAS suffice as auditable evidence?  If not, would we need to revisit the training plan, for example, at the end of the programme and obtain signatures and save this to the evidence pack for this to satisfy an audit? 

Any guidance on this area would be very much appreciated, it seems exceptionally more complicated than it needs to be. I have attended events that the company has paid for and even they don’t know the answer, we can only best guess, however the TNP cost cannot be estimate as per funding rules, how do others work around this issue? It seems like we will be constantly chasing our tail.. MTIA

 

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Martin West

It looks like you will have to review your processes to comply with the funding rules, see below.

P205.5 Where you and the employer do not know the details of the end-point assessment organisation at the start of the apprenticeship, you must enter the price for end-point assessment (in TNP2) once this has been confirmed. This field in the ILR must be left blank until the price of the end-point assessment has been confirmed to ensure accuracy.

P103.1 The employer and the end-point assessment organisation agree the price of the end-point assessment (which is entered by the main provider in field TNP2 on the ILR only when the actual cost is known; estimate costs must not be entered).

P206.1 If either the TNP1 or the TNP2 price changes during the apprenticeship, the reason for this change must be documented in the evidence pack. All changes must be agreed by the employer.

 

The TNP must contain the price agreed between employer and EPAO for the learner and should not include any EPA additional discounts that may be applicable.

HTH

Ruth Canham-James

It's painful, as you have to get the employers to approve a price "change" in DAS right near the end if you won't know the price until really late on. They struggle to understand that, and it messes up their projections. It can even push a smaller levy payer into insufficient funds right near the end. It's a horrible system. I really wish ESFA would make the Assessment cost/price a matter between the employer and EPAO, and leave providers out of it. We don't have anything to do with that money, it just sort of bounces off us. The only complication being we need to make sure we don't charge a training price that would go above band maximum once paired with the assessment cost, so we'd need to have visibility of what the employer and EPAO agreed.

We take a slightly pragmatic view in some cases. We have one EPAO where they do quote us a single price, that we do enter from day one. Sometimes we get a last minute discount for entering multiple at once, and in those cases we then add a new, reduced TNP 2. We feel that's within the rules, as that is the price if they go through alone, which is likely, and it's far more robust that just an estimate. We have evidence of the single price quoted by the EPAO early on.

Lyn J

Thankyou Ruth for your reply, I have got a price for a single EPA of the EPAO however when the invoice has arrived a month after completion the price is completely different less than half originally quoted, hence the meltdown, I have now requested a meeting to agree a cost which I feel should be an average of previous invoices, this setting the price regardless of numbers, location etc, fingers crossed otherwise like you said in your reply it is most certainly painful.

Ruth Canham-James

If you get it in writing (including email) that this is the price they quote, that should be sufficient I think. If they happen to give you a last minute discount later down the line, then that's nice for the employer. Watch out with non-levy employers though. If you charged then 5% of the original price and they paid it up front, then the overall price gets reduced late on, you will owe them a small refund (5% of the difference between the original agreed assessment price, and the new assessment price). It still needs changing in DAS, so just make sure your employers don't "helpfully" stop their DAS record. If you report the Standard completion in your ILR, that will eventually close the DAS record too, and I don't know if you can change the price once it's closed. You may have to insist the EPAO invoices you much sooner, or at least tells you what they're going to invoice you so you can make the ILR/DAS changes sooner.