FE staff fear burden of red tape will increase

25th June 2010 at 01:00
Further education staff fear the coalition Government will fail to cut bureaucracy and the burden of red tape will increase instead, a poll suggests.

Further education staff fear the coalition Government will fail to cut bureaucracy and the burden of red tape will increase instead, a poll suggests.

Only one in ten staff surveyed at a conference by the Pearson Research Institute believed that they would be able to cut back on data collection, while 44 per cent of them thought it would increase.

Last year, as shadow minister for innovation, universities and skills, David Willetts said reducing the amount spent on collecting data was a priority.

"Every college principal I meet tells me they have literally dozens of staff whose job is to collect data for a multiplicity of regulators and funding bodies which is not needed for the good management of the college. This is where the savings have to be made," he said.

Last week, FE minister John Hayes announced new freedoms for providers, such as ending the requirement for a statement setting out the numbers of adult and 16 to 19 students they plan to teach.

But Nick Linford, head of the Pearson Research Institute, said that other initiatives would add to the amount of data that needed to be collected.

The Qualifications and Credit Framework will mean students register for several parts of their course rather than only once, for example, and the creation of Unique Learner Numbers means colleges have to spend time verifying that each individual has one and only one number.

Mr Linford said: "Having two Government agencies also has people wondering if they might want their own things rather than a single collection of data. That creates more complexity."

And, after Ofsted raised concerns about the reliability of success rate claims, the Skills Funding Agency is requiring more timely and rigorous reporting of data, keeping administrators rather than lecturers in demand.

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