The Federation of Awarding Bodies has called on post-16 providers to keep paying their suppliers during the coronavirus pandemic – and this should include awarding organisations, "regardless of whether such activities have taken place".
In a statement from its board, FAB said the pandemic represented a "significant challenge" to the post-16 skills eco-system, both operationally and financially.
The organisation said that, by definition, examinations and assessments came usually at the end of a cycle of teaching and learning, including apprenticeship end-point assessments. Because of the impact of Covid-19 and strict social distancing measures, it added, the federation agreed that government and regulators had to take "decisive action to ensure there is adequate operational and financial support for the whole skills eco-system at this time".
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This, FAB said, had to include support for recovery when the crisis is over. "In the meantime, we call upon all post-16 providers in the system to continue paying their suppliers, including awarding organisations and end-point assessment organisations, within the accepted norms of business practice over the next three months, regardless of whether such activities have taken place."
FAB said it was encouraged by the work of the devolved administrations in this area, including the combined mayoral authorities. It added this was "not the time for one part of the skills and apprenticeship system to try and avoid paying the other, when, in fact, we all need to pull together".
FAB chief executive Tom Bewick told Tes: “The FAB board and membership is committed to ensure that the whole sector is supported at this time. We think it is really unhelpful if people from different parts of the skills system play off against each other.
"That’s why we’re working tirelessly behind the scenes with government departments, agencies, regulators and representative bodies to try and come up with solutions during this really difficult and unprecedented time which ultimately will provide support to the whole sector.”