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New bids process favours consortia

THE Scottish Further Education Funding Council is putting up pound;100,000 to encourage colleges to bid for projects that will extend self-evaluation approaches.

The council has already provided pump-priming cash to stimulate improvements in the evaluation of information and communications technology. It now wants to spread this to careers education, bursaries and financial guidance for students, admissions processes, marketing and recruitment and childcare support for students.

The council is likely to favour funding consortia of colleges in each of these areas.

"This work will help to further embed the culture of continuous quality improvement across the whole range of colleges' operations," the council states in its latest circular.

It acknowledges that staff attitudes will be the most difficult hurdle to overcome. The ICT project had shown that "while the creation of standards is important, the most challenging aspect of this work is to create a context and a culture in which staff responsible for those functions can engage in an open process of self-evaluation".

In line with its pledge not to overload colleges with documentation and red tape, the council says that "to avoid unnecessary work" it will accept outline bids.

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