From education to employment

Report indicates greater effort needs expending in efficient practice

Further Education colleges across the UK could save up to £75 million nationally by March 2008 by introducing more efficient processes, a report has revealed.

The National Audit Office (NAO) presented a report to Parliament last week detailing practices that “would lead to savings without compromising quality”. Further, it suggests that these savings could be “redeployed” in support of frontline teaching.

Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO commented on the findings: “Modern procurement processes have reached a stage where they can bring colleges big savings ““ money that they can redeploy to direct services for learners”.

Proposals include sharing best practice; gaining “economies of scale” when buying goods or services by collaborating with others, and reviewing, understanding and improving the management of current contracts and suppliers. The report states that each year, the UK’s 384 FE colleges spend £1.6 billion on goods and services ranging from books and stationary to exam fees and bills. While most appreciate the benefits of more efficient methods, “many need to improve their processes substantially”.

Sir Bourn added: “All colleges should seize the opportunities and support that are now readily available to help them implement the necessary improvements”.

Vijay Pattni.

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