Charity red tape tightens
Colleges are currently exempt from registration because it was felt they were sufficiently regulated. This means they do not file annual returns or get Charity Commission approval for transactions. However, it is likely that under a new Bill they will have to provide the same levels of information as other charities.
The Bill's roots lie in a Cabinet Office review aimed at codifying all charity law, which has evolved piecemeal since the 16th century. The status of public schools were a principal concern but FE was caught up in the review.
One result is that the commission will have powers to investigate exempt charities at the request of their main regulator - which, for colleges, is the Learning and Skills Council. "There's an obvious irony in imposing further monitoring requirements when, particularly in FE, bureaucracy-busting is promised by the Government," said Paul Pharoah, an education lawyer.