At five years old it's a little soon for a mid-life crisis, but the Further Education Funding Council is having a good hard look at why it's there.
Colleges are being asked to pass judgment on eight commandments the FEFC is thinking of taking up as its guiding principles.
A consultation paper out this week says the Government's emphasis on Welfare to Work, raising standards and promoting lifelong learning has prompted the rethink.
Colleges are being asked whether they agree with the new list of long-term goals. The council's main aim - to secure "adequate and sufficient" further education - remains.
But new to the list is a desire to stimulate demand for and participation in FE, and an aim to work in partnership with colleges and other bodies. Also new is an explicit reference to students' achievements, an area criticised by ministers.
The new aims are:
* to secure throughout England sufficient and adequate facilities for further education to meet the needs of students, including those with learning difficulties andor disabilities, and the communities in which they live for initial and lifelong learning opportunities; * to stimulate demand for and participation in further education in order to contribute to the creation of an inclusive society; * to contribute to the development of a highly skilled and employable work force, particularly as envisaged in national targets, in order to contribute to the creation of a thriving economy; * to promote ongoing improvements in the quality of further education in order to maximise the achievements of its students; * to promote the role, contribution and potential of further education and the achievements of its students and institutions at national and regional level in order to fully inform policy development; * to ensure that the sector has the necessary resources and deploys them with due regard to value for money in order to help deliver the council's statutory duties and policy objectives; * to work in partnership with colleges and others at national and regional levels, including employers, other funding bodies and central and local government agencies in order to achieve the council's statutory duties and policy objectives; * to support and deploy the council's staff in order to ensure that they can contribute to the achievement of these aims and provide a high-quality service to further education.