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Colleges to benefit from new £2m fund

Over one hundred colleges throughout England will benefit from a new Further Education fund of £2 million.

Projects in 102 institutions will be developed immediately with support from the FE Efficiency and Innovation Fund.

The fund is part of an overall package of £15 million allocated to the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) in June by Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to support the Association of Colleges (AoC ) and the FE sector to achieve “an innovative suite of shared service solutions”.

The AoC works closely with the SFA on the Joint Collaboration and Shared Services Procurement Board to improve delivery of College services by securing funding for its members.

With an emphasis on pooling resources in a time of financial belt-tightening, the initiative will allow several organisations to share specific customer-facing or back office services. Over the past five years there has been a substantial increase in the number of shared service solutions across the public sector. It is hoped the trend will now be replicated among colleges and FE providers.

Welcoming the programme, Martin Doel, chief executive of the AoC, said: “We are sure that these projects will provide a valuable contribution to the sector and achieve their aims whilst delivering greater efficiencies. The projects will also provide a template for shared service activities in the future so that a wider spread of Colleges can benefit and make similar savings.”

Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning minister John Hayes said: “This fund is an important step towards encouraging colleges to share services and to collaborate with other institutions and local organisations to continue to deliver the services vital to the everyday running of colleges, in the most cost-effective way.”

James Carew

(Pictured: AoC chief executive Martin Doel) 

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