Increasing membership fees and saving around £500,000 through redundancies are necessary steps to put the Association of Colleges on a more stable financial footing, its chief executive has insisted.
In February, David Hughes revealed a series of sweeping proposals to change how the organisation was run. He said that, with the number of colleges expected to drop to around 250, the existing structure was “not affordable”; without changes, there would be a £1 million overspend on its £6 million budget in 2017-18, he added.
Speaking to Tes today, Mr Hughes outlined the main changes to the organisation’s structure resulting from its recent internal review.
AoC restructure: the main changes for colleges
- Membership fees will be set at 0.1 per cent of college income. For 2017-18, fees will be capped at £38,500 for the largest colleges – significantly higher than the current cap of £28,000. However, most college's annual increases will be capped at 5 per cent. Mr Hughes said “four or five” colleges had expressed concerns about the increase, but said he was optimistic that the “overwhelming majority” would continue to be AoC members.
- A “significant number” of redundancies will be made, which are estimated to save the AoC around £500,000. However Mr Hughes refused to say exactly how any jobs were being cut. “It’s not a pleasant thing to have to do, and it’s very difficult for the staff involved,” he added.
- The AoC’s nine regions across England will be retained, but it will be moving from nine regional directors to seven area directors. It will also end its financial relationships with its three outsourced regional bodies: Emfec in the East Midlands, ACER in the East and AoSEC in the South-East.
- The AoC will continue to undertake national pay negotiations with the unions representing staff working in colleges, on behalf of its member colleges. However, as at present, each individual college will decide whether to implemented the pay rise agreed by the AoC and the unions.
- New policy groups are being created, with the aim of encouraging college leaders to increase their profile on the national stage, and represent the interests of the sector. Mr Hughes added that the changes would ensure the AoC is a “confident and ambitious organisation that can represent and influence successfully on behalf of colleges at a national and local level”.