The Association of Learning Provider’s (ALP) Spring Conference kicked off in Nottingham today, with a clear message that the Government needs to listen more to the providers it is relying upon.
ALP’s chief executive, Graham Hoyle, spoke of mixed news in his opening comments to delegates, with the confirmation of 16-18 year old funding welcomed as a way forward.
However, the Machinery of Government and budget discrepancies still pose great problems for the sector.
Martin Dunford, chairman, stressed "the time is now" for the Government to listen what ALP has to say as he blamed the difficulties providers are now facing on "slow" and "frustrating" response times.
Mr Dunford warned the planned changes to the Machinery of Government, which has caused massive ongoing concern, are "unlikely to be helpful", as it seeks to increase complexity – posing a direct threat to the visibility of providers in local authorities.
In a plea for the future, he called for the independent sector to be trusted to respond to the needs of the nation, and warned the Government to "make full use of us or ignore us at your peril".
The two-day conference boasts speakers from both sides of the government, including Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Further Education, Sion Simon, and Shadow Minister for Works and Pension, James Clappison.
(Pictured: Graham Hoyle OBE, chief executive of the ALP)
FE News is at the conference, and will bring you more news and video as the event unfolds