Public Sector and the Levy

Public Sector Levy

The Apprenticeship Levy will affect the public sector in the same way as the private sector – local councils and other organisations will pay 0.5% of their wages bill into the Apprenticeship Levy just like all other large employers. But the public sector will also be required to meet the legislative requirements contained within the Enterprise Bill. This legislation will stipulate that all public sector organisations will be required to make sure that 2.3% of their workforce are apprentices at any one time.  So as well as paying the Levy, local councils, for example, will need an apprenticeship programme that manages and trains circa 100 – 200 people annually.

Whilst there is still an opportunity to comment through the current consultation process, this is very unlikely to change the target.

The public sector consultation

The consultation papers put it like this:

“We are committed to reaching 3 million apprenticeship starts in England in 2020 and are taking action to support this commitment.

 In order to meet the 3 million starts commitment the public sector needs to improve from its current position of delivering comparatively fewer apprenticeships than the private sector. Leveraging apprenticeships through the public sector will play a significant role in helping to deliver apprenticeship growth. This will include more apprenticeships within our Departments and agencies, but also within the NHS and front line services.”

Key measures

The Executive Summary goes on to spell out the key measures contained within this bill:

  1. Delivering three million apprenticeships by 2020 is a key priority for the Government.
  2. We set high expectations for large and small businesses in the private sector to employ apprentices. We want to ensure that the public sector is a model employer in this regard, leading by example and employing a significant proportion of apprentices to develop a skilled workforce for the future.
  3. Expanding the number of apprenticeships in the public sector will support growth in the programme and gives a clear sign that Government is investing in apprenticeships.
  4. The Enterprise Bill contains provision to amend the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 so that the Secretary of State can set targets for prescribed public bodies in relation to the number of apprentices working for them in England.
  5. The clause includes a duty on all public bodies which are set a target to have regard to that target. In order to increase transparency, public bodies will have a duty to publish information annually on progress towards meeting the target and send this information to the Secretary of State. The bodies in scope and the target itself will be set out in regulations.
  6. We intend to use the Office for National Statistics (ONS) classification for public sector organisations for National Accounts as a starting point [details here]. We propose that the duty applies to public bodies that have 250 or more employees in England to ensure it is practicable for organisations to achieve.
  7. The target will be a minimum 2.3% starts each year based on the headcount of employees working for a body in England.

Further information is in the January 2016 Consultation on apprenticeship targets for public sector bodies

How we can help the public sector

There are lots of ways in which the London Apprenticeship Company can assist you. We’ve worked with numerous councils, schools, the NHS and many other and other public sector bodies – examples are shown under who we are

Full details of what we can do are under how we can help. You can also see public sector apprenticeships on the case studies page.  To request any of our services (some of which are free) please contact us

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