From education to employment

Cabinet Office Issue Report to Reduce Burdens in FE Colleges

The Cabinet Office and the Department for Education and Skills (DFES) have issued a report in an attempt to identify the needs in reducing the financial constraints experienced by FE colleges.

The report, which is part of a new initiative, aims to address the Government’s drive in improving public services such as the education sector where skills in the workforce and among young people and adults are given top priority. One of the issues the report highlights is the agenda for change with the hope of achieving significant improvement in the public sector. This includes the deliverance of a high quality FE service between colleges and agencies and reducing the large sum of public funds spent in the FE provision.

LSC and Reducing Burdens

In 2001, the DfES set up the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) with an objective to plan and fund colleges, sixth form in schools and adult learning. As part of their strategy in reducing financial burdens in the education sector, a joint project between the LSC, DFES and the Cabinet Office was initiated in May 2005. Since then, considerable progress has been made in identifying the unnecessary burdens on providers in FE and training and in taking action to address these.

The main areas that the report covers and focuses on in order to identify the key issues in reducing the burdens, which affect the front line staff in FE colleges across England, are; effective communication and joint-working, particularly between FE establishments such as technical, vocational and sixth form colleges and employers; causing excessive and uncoordinated data demands, which includes information sharing, the number of audits, inspections and regular demands from awarding bodies; and generating unnecessary bureaucratic paperwork burdens and processes.

Even though the conduct of transactions between educational bodies and businesses to protect people’s rights against fraud and abuse has risen dramatically, the report aims to find out the views of professional bodies and staff in order to help introduce an effective way to reduce the burdens faced in FE colleges and sets out the key findings and possible recommendations for improvement which will be effective for the future.

Kavita Trivedi

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