Modern Apprenticeship Training Providers can view COVID-19 interim measures below, offering advice, support and relevant contact information. 

Please note, MA Covid Interim Measures were updated on 1st April 2022. QPRs and MA Outcomes have now returned to business as usual as per the MA Conditions and Specification 2122 (as extended to 31st March 23).

Providers should continue to deliver their MA Services as detailed in the MA Specification 2122 (as extended 31st March ‘23). If you are unable to deliver your MA services in line with the Specification due to COVID, we will continue to offer flexibilities known as “COVID Interim Measures”. These should only be used as a last resort for Providers who are unable to deliver their MA Services set out in the MA Conditions and MA Specification. 

COVID Interim Measures are short term measures to support Providers to continue delivering their services. Interim Measures are not included in the Modern Apprenticeship Specification and Condition documents. All COVID Interim Measures are published on this page. 

The COVID Interim Measures have been in place from 1st April 2020 and have been extended to 30th Sept 2022. You can view the MA Specification and Conditions for 21/22 (as extended 31st March 2023) on our website. Please ensure you review these documents thoroughly and speak to your SIA for any clarifications you require. 

Providers must continue to input all information to FIPS timeously in accordance with the MA Specification, keep all documentation required, and ensure these are available to upload to FIPS and SDS staff on request.  

 

See below for what we accept for signatures as detailed in section 3.9 of the MA Specification: 

"You must ensure that key controls are in place to ensure that all signatures on all forms and documentation are genuine and used only where there is knowledge of and intent to sign. 

We accept:

  • wet signatures;

  • stylus signatures (this includes mouse or touchscreen);

  • and signatures gathered using electronic signature software. Where these are typed or tick box controlled, you must provide an audit trail. 

  • We do not accept copied and pasted signatures.  

Any irregularity in required signatures may be deemed a breach of your MA Contract. You must retain any electronic signature audit trail with the relevant document and make it available to us on request. If you are using electronic signatures, including a stylus signature, and have ESF tagged apprentices, please refer to Appendix 7 for further instructions on ESF requirements for signatures." 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alternatives to Signatures – COVID Interim Measure 

If you have ESF tagged recipients, please see additional ESF instructions in the ESF Tab for COVID Interim Measures. 

If Providers are unable to gain signatures in the ways listed above, then as a last resort, they should follow the detailed guidance in full below. 

Provider Email in Lieu of Signature: 

There must be prior contact with all relevant parties to collect the information to enable the MA documentation to be fully completed. 

The Provider must send an email to the Apprentice or Employer with the relevant E-Mail Confirmation Statement (found below) and the relevant document(s) attached or inserted to the email.  

This sent email acts as the Providers signature for the named document(s) and supports the audit trail. Where both the Apprentice and Employers signature are required on the named document(s), this can be sent as one e-mail to both signatories. 

The provider can attach or embed all relevant documents and email confirmations statements within the one email. 

Apprentice and Employer Email in Lieu of Signature: 

The Apprentice and/or Employer must then positively respond to the email which confirms they have read, understood and contributed as appropriate to each named document. There is no mandatory wording for the reply email, however, emojis will not be accepted. This email acts as the Apprentice and/or Employers signature and must be retained with the named document as evidence. 

For compliance purposes, you must ensure the correct MA document is attached along with the correct email confirmation statement as this acts as proof of the signatures.  

Please remember to retain your original emails as if your emails do not meet the expected standard, further evidence may be requested from Payment Assurance. 

The email must be from a unique email address as outlined in the MA Specification (see 4.2.3) for 21/22(as extended to 31st March ‘23) and the MA FAQs. 

Providers are required to use the following email confirmation statements for each document: 

Training Agreement  

Required signatures: Apprentice, Employer and Provider signature

Statement: This email contains the Training Agreement for the Apprenticeship. If you respond positively to this email you confirm that you will undertake the Apprenticeship with the support of your Provider and that you have read and understood the agreement.  

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Equalities Monitoring Form  

Required signatures: Apprentice signature  

Statement: This email contains the Equalities Monitoring Form. If you respond positively to this email you confirm that you have read and completed this and understand that for equality monitoring purposes, the Provider will input the information to an SDS system and then destroy the hard copy of the form.    Your data will be held securely and confidentially, and will only be used for reporting purposes, further information can be found in the SDS Privacy Notice.   

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eligibility Declaration for Enhanced Funding – Modern Apprentices aged 20-29 (Disability and/or Care Experienced) 

Required signatures: Apprentice and Provider signature   

Required action: You must upload both the email confirmation and the form to FIPS. 

Statement: This email contains the Eligibility Declaration for Enhanced Funding – Modern Apprentices aged 20-29 (Disability and/or Care Experienced). By replying positively to this email, you confirm that you have completed this form to self-disclose that you are Disabled and/or Care Experienced and that you require the support described by your Provider to help you achieve and sustain your Apprenticeship.   

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apprentice Progress Review documentation (including those for QPR - either SDS Exemplars or your own documents, approved by your SIA)  

Required signatures: Apprentice, Employer and Provider signature   

Statement: This email contains an Apprentice Progress Review for the Apprenticeship. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm that you have reviewed the progress of the Apprenticeship with the support of your Provider and that you have read and agree with the progress review. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Summary of Achievement Record documentation (either SDS Exemplar or your own document, approved by your SIA)  

Required signatures: Apprentice and Assessor signature   

Statement: This email contains the Summary of Achievement Record (SOAR) for the Apprenticeship. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm that you have achieved the milestone and that you have read and agree with the SOAR. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Record of Progress Documentation  (Automotive only - for MA’s in training that started prior to April 1st, 2020) 

Required signatures: Apprentice and Assessor signature   

Statement: This email contains the Record of Progress for the Apprenticeship. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm that you have made progress in the stated subject area and that you have read and agree with the Record of Progress. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apprentice Transition Plan (ATP) 

Required signatures: Apprentice and Provider signature 

Statement: This email contains the Apprentice Transition Plan. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm you have read and understood the contents of the form and that you wish to receive support to assist you in taking the next steps in your career or learning journey. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ATP Access Fund 

Required signatures: Apprentice and Provider signature 

Statement: This email contains the ATP Access Fund form. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm you have read, understood and agree with the declarations and the fund requirements. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adopt an Apprentice 

Required signatures: Apprentice, Provider and Employer signature 

Statement: This email contains the Adopt an Apprentice Funding Agreement. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm you have read, understood and agree with the declarations and the fund requirements. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is an example of an acceptable email audit trail evidence. 

Providers will be informed by SDS if their apprentices have been tagged for ESF purposes and must refer to Appendix 7 of the MA Specification titled 'ESF – List of Audit Evidence Requirements.' 

All apprentices who have been ESF tagged will have started their MA prior to COVID restrictions being applied in March 2020, and at that time you should have had either a wet signature or an Advanced or Qualified electronic signature that complies with the eIDAS Regulation on the Training Agreement.   For all subsequent documentation (reviews, SOARs etc) the current SDS rules in terms of signatures,  gaining agreement by email should be applied and will be compliant for any ESF tagged apprentices. 

There are numerous versions of Advanced or Qualified electronic signatures, but the most common examples that we are aware of are DocuSign and Adobe Sign.  However, please note that while SDS accepts a stylus as a form of electronic signature, the Managing Authority for the ESF Programme has confirmed that they cannot accept a signature made with an electronic stylus.  If your organisation did use this format of electronic signature for the mandatory registration documents (Training Agreement) please email the ESF Verification Team mas@sds.co.uk for information on what you need to do to ensure compliance. 

For more information, visit: What is the eIDAS Regulation?

All evidence relating to claims made on FIPS should be uploaded as soon as possible in order that they can be verified.  This should include email confirmation trails gathered as an alternative to a signature.  Please note that email confirmations are only acceptable where they have been sent from the same email address of the participant/business as displayed on the registration form / FIPS. 

For any questions relating directly to ESF, please contact mas@sds.co.uk 

 

 

Next Steps  

If you have any questions or issues not addressed by the guidance above, please contact your SDS Skills Investment Adviser.

We continue to liaise with the Scottish Training Federation and the Scottish Government on measures to support contract holders through this uncertain period.  We urge you to follow the Scottish Government’s latest information and advice on Coronavirus at gov.scot/coronavirus. Public health advice can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS Inform.