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Cheshire latest force to open Degree Holder Entry Programme

As another force announces a new PEQF offering Police Oracle analyses how the different entry routes are funded

Cheshire have just launched their Degree Holder Entry Programme as another route for applicants to come into policing via the PEQF. 

Cheshire have partnered with the University of Chester for the programme.

Forces fund the DHEP route through their Learning and Development budgets. 

It comes as the College of Policing this month announced there would be no more extensions to the IPLDP route and that it will end for all forces in March of next year.

This has not stopped forces returning to the traditional training programme, with Derbyshire and Thames Valley recently re-opening IPLDP this year. Northamptonshire’s Chief Constable Nick Adderley, also wrote to the College last week asking to re-open their route while it remains a possibility.

Three entry routes are available under the PEQF; the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, which requires an officer to gain a degree as part of their training, and the Degree Holder Entry Programme, which is for those who already have a degree in a relevant subject, and the Pre-Join degree, for candidates who already have a policing degree and therefore don’t need to take any further academic studies. 

For the PEQF, forces have needed to establish contracts with Higher Education Institutions. However, Police Oracle understands that for the PCDA route, the money spent on those contracts can effectively be re-couped through the Apprenticeship Levy. 

The Apprenticeship Levy is paid by all employers who have an annual bill of over £3 million, which includes all Home Office forces. It works out as 0.5 per cent of the employer’s annual bill and is paid to the HMRC. 

The initiative was introduced in 2017 and was essentially structured as an extra tax that is ring-fenced to ensure that employers promote apprenticeships and training. Employers must use the money within two years or it is lost. 

Police Oracle understands that most forces can retrieve funding of the same amount of their contracts with HEIs for the PCDA route from the levy. Given they were contributing to the levy prior to the new entry routes, effectively forces will see no or little extra costs for this recruitment route. 

The levy does not cover the DHEP route.

This option is also not available for Welsh forces, as they are not eligible for the levy funding. The Home Office has made alternative arrangements to support the funding of this route within those forces. 

For both the PEQF and the DHEP, forces have either taken out individual contracts with HEIs, or grouped together and taken a joint contract with other forces. Monetary contract values therefore vary between forces. 

For example,Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire have an estimated contract value of £18,112,000 over a five year term for PCDA and DHEP with Anglia Ruskin University. 

While Wiltshire have taken out a contract with the University of South Wales, with their PCDA contact value estimated at £6,220,800 and their DHEP contract at £1,382,400, both for a six year term. 

City of London have taken out a 4 year contract with Coventry University which totals £1.44m for both routes combined. They have calculated an average annual cost of £15,499.67 per PCDA student, combining both tuition fees and yearly City of London police staffing on-costs, and a cost of £11,500 per DHEP student. 

The Education and Skill Funding Agency sets an upper limit of £24,000 per PCDA student. 

Not all forces have yet moved over to the PEQF route which will compulsory from March of next year. Lincolnshire are still only offering IPLDP.

The College have previously said that it is not possible to compare the cost of the PEQF versus IPLDP due to differences in duration, content and delivery. 

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