Apprenticeship levy reporting for the 2019/2020 financial year

In April 2017 the UK government introduced an apprenticeship levy.

Employers with an annual wage bill of £3m+ pay 0.5% of that wage bill to HMRC which then holds the monies in an account made available back  to the employer (with a 10% top-up from government) to be spent on apprenticeship training.

Over a four year period from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2021, local authorities and other public sector bodies have a target to meet in terms of the number of apprenticeships that must be offered and taken up each year.  The target is 2.3% of their headcount each year. For example, if a local authority has a headcount of 1000, then 23 of that headcount must be an apprentice.  In this example, over the four year period, a local authority must evidence 92 apprenticeship starts to meet the 2.3% target.

Public sector bodies are required to ‘pay regard’ to this target and have a statutory requirement to report data annually to the Department for Education (DfE) and explain to them how they have had regard for the target, including the actions taken to meet the target and the challenges experienced which have prevented them from meeting the target.

Data reported to the DfE since the introduction of the levy in April 2017

Data reported




Percentage of apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) as a proportion of employment starts between 1 April to 31 March




Percentage of total headcount that were apprentices on 31 March




Percentage of apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) between 1 April to 31 March as a proportion of total headcount on 31 March




Action taken towards meeting the public sector target

  • Apprenticeship starts increased from 27 in 2017/2018 to 66 in 2019/2020.
  • A cohort of 30 apprentices joined London Borough of Newham in the Autumn of 2019, undertaking either a Business Administration or Accountancy apprenticeship.
  • We have increased the range and level of apprenticeships used in the Council to support skills needs and help raise skill levels across the workforce.
  • We work with our London Councils colleagues and the Local Government Association to keep our knowledge about apprenticeships and funding current.  These groups are responsible for shaping the apprenticeship offer across London and nationally and we add our voice to that debate.
  • Apprenticeship funding rules allow levy paying employers to transfer up to 25% of their levy funds to other employers.  The council is working with Newham College and the London Ambulance Service to make use of this funding opportunity for local businesses and residents.

The Council currently has over 65 apprentices studying various apprenticeship standards ranging from Level 2 to 7. These include Accountancy & Taxation Professional, Business Administrator and Management Apprenticeships at Levels 5 to 7.  In November 2020, six managers embarked upon the Emerging Leaders Programme, the aim of which is to develop leadership capability within the Council.  This management training, delivered in partnership with The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE), is fully funded from the Council’s apprenticeship levy funds.

We used our levy funds to start training three new Social Worker degree apprentices in September 2020 – qualified social worker positions are difficult to fill across the country and Newham is no exception so this is the ‘grow our own’ philosophy in action.

We have had some challenges along the way including the lack of flexibility on how levy funds can be invested, for example it is not possible to pay for salaries from apprenticeship levy funds. However our aim is to continue to utilise funds to up-skill our existing staff and create opportunities for our residents to undertake high-quality apprenticeships.  We will continue to have due regard for the Public Sector Apprenticeship Target.

For more information, please get in touch with us at [email protected].


Published: 12 Jan 2021