For the first time in August 2012, a group of GTAs joined forces to ‘pool’ their SFA contracts in a Collaborative Contracting Consortium. The objective of the original concept was to form a larger entity with a collective voice for GTAs, which would hold more sway with funding agencies and government. Longer term, such a collaboration might benefit from economies of scale and standardisation.
In effect what has happened within a very short time frame is much more than we envisaged. The small number of GTAs in the consortium have found that the key word is not contract but collaborative. Members have found that by far the greatest benefits of collaboration have been mutual support and a collective drive to improve quality and standards. Peer support and review are well underway and delivering benefits in terms of learner progress and achievement. More work is planned at develop the self-assessment process in to a real force for change and improvement.
The consortium is preparing to welcome new members for the next contract year. Management fees are still the lowest we have found nationally. Also on the horizon is a move towards shared services, which will deliver efficiency savings for members in a challenging economic climate.
Some of the benefits of the GTA England Collaborative Contracting Consortium:
- Continued autonomy to respond to local needs; protection of identity (UKPRN number retained to pursue other non-Apprenticeship funding opportunities)
- As a national Provider with reach; open up other lines of funding such as the EFA; JC+
- National profile and influence on policy development; placing the GTA brand on an even more secure footing
- Access to capital and development funding and attractiveness to funders
- Procurement and other cost savings – joint purchasing, shared services and collaborative quality and self-assessment
- Shared capacity, resources and intelligence
- Contract growth – potential to be one of the largest providers in the country
- Virement between GTAs to maximise contract utilisation objectively handled by GTA England
- Quality development; Peer referencing; Benchmarking
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