How to claim funding through a partnership

If you're not in one of the advertised local authority areas, you must apply for the Workforce Development Fund (WDF) through an employer led partnership. An employer led partnership is a collection of adult social care employers, which may include micro employers, who come together to ‘pool’ their workforce development needs and potentially commission training to collectively meet those needs. All partnerships are open to new members throughout the year.

Within each partnership there is a ‘grant holder’ who is responsible for the disbursal of the funding within the partnership, and supporting their members to access the fund. You can find out more about the requirements that grant holders and their partnerships should exercise in disbursing WDF

To be eligible to apply for the funding you must meet the following requirements:

  • be an adult social care employer in England
  • have an NMDS-SC account that meets WDF requirements
  • complete a member’s declaration form and return it to the partnership lead
  • submit a copy of each learner’s certificate to evidence claims. 

More detail is available about the requirements and your responsibilities as an employer when claiming WDF

These seven steps tell you how to apply for WDF, but if you would like more information please refer to our detailed guidance.

Commission learning and development for employees for eligible qualifications and learning programmes.

Employers have free choice as to which learning provider they use to deliver learning and development to their staff. In some cases the lead organisation for a WDF partnership may have a training arm to their business but they cannot make it a requirement for employers, who are accessing their training provision, to join their WDF partnership or for members to use their training provision. This represents a conflict of interests and is expressly forbidden. 

You can find guidance in our learning and development guide on finding a suitable learning provider. You can also use our endorsed provider search directory to find a learning provider. Our endorsement framework provides a mark of quality that is given to the best learning and development in the adult social care sector.

Things to check before you enter into a contract

Some learning providers promote that they deliver qualifications which are fully funded through the WDF either through their website information or promotional materials or via their sales representatives. Please be aware that any learning provider who promises ‘free’ training as the learning is funded by the WDF is providing employers with incorrect advice as to how this funding works. We would recommend that you seek clarification from organisations if they make such promises as they cannot provide this guarantee. 

Further information can be found in the FAQs for employers.

If you’re not already on the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) then you’ll need to set up an account. The NMDS-SC is an online data collection for the whole adult social care workforce and sector. Before you get started please read the requirements for completing NMDS-SC and download the guidance on how to complete it in order to claim WDF.

Once you’ve done this, please visit to sign up.

Look at the following list of partnerships and decide which one you want to join:

Send your completed member's declaration form to the lead partner of your chosen partnership. The partnership will send this to Skills for Care. The completed form confirms your agreement to the terms which employers are bound by. Any employer who has used a partnership before to claim WDF does not need to complete a declaration form, unless you are joining a new partnership. 

Employers must join and liaise with the partnership directly. A third party, such as a learning provider, cannot do this on an employer’s behalf.

Update your NMDS-SC account in line with the requirements for WDF. You can generate reports to check whether your account meets the requirements and we have produced detailed guidance on how to do this.

Complete the employer claim submission form and submit this with a copy of the learner's certificate(s) to the partnership.

Qualification certificates must contain the following information:

  • candidate name
  • candidate registration number
  • unique learner number
  • name of qualification and qualification number as per the list of funded qualifications and learning programmes
  • the date of issue of the certificate must be between 1 January 2018 and 31 May 2019
  • name of the awarding organisation
  • name of the learning provider or centre number
  • QCF certificates must include the breakdown of units completed.

Learning programme certificates must contain the following information:

Your partnership will send them to Skills for Care.

Please note if you are claiming funding for a completed QCF qualification, the amount of funding you will receive is the total advertised funding value of the qualification minus any funding you have already received. For example, you have already claimed funding (£360) for the 9 mandatory units within a level 2 diploma in health and social care. The total advertised funding value for the completed qualification is £690, therefore you will receive £330. (£690 - £360 = £330.)

You’re responsible for maintaining a clear audit trail of funding received and spent and must be able to confirm details of learning and development funded through WDF if required so we recommend you retain copies of the evidence for your records.

Once claims have been successfully verified by Skills for Care, payment is made to the partnership who will then pay their members.