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Are current accountability frameworks appropriate for degree apprenticeships?Purpose In 2015 the Conservative-led government announced their plan to increase the number of people participating in apprenticeship to 3 million by 2020. As part of this plan there is to be an expansion of the number of degree level apprenticeships, with the government suggesting that these should be seen as a real alternative to university. Despite the government’s propaganda of an alternative to university, higher education institutions (HEI) have a pivotal role to play in both the development and delivery of degree level apprenticeships. However, the accountability for the success of degree level apprenticeships remains unclear. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to consider whether existing outcome-based notions of accountability are appropriate, given the tri-partite relationship involved in apprenticeship delivery. Design/methodology/approach The paper provides an analysis of current notions of outcome-based accountability contextualised through the degree apprenticeship programme. Findings The paper illustrates that outcome-based accountability frameworks do little to support the delivery of degree level apprenticeships suggesting that there needs to be a shift to a holistic approach where student success forms just one element of an accountability framework. A conclusion is subsequently made that current accountability frameworks may end in an unnecessary confusion regarding the roles and responsibilities of individual contributors associated with degree apprenticeships, resulting in a missed opportunity to maximise on the value arising from the tri-partite delivery relationship. Originality/value This paper provides an original perspective involving accountability associated with degree apprenticeship programmes in the UK.