Jobs in UK practices are at risk because of more delays to the procurement of further education colleges
Despite assurances that the £2.3 billion, 21-firm Learning and Skills Council (LSC) framework will continue, the LSC has not indicated when, or if, projects that were stalled late last year will get the green light.
A number of firms expressed bemusement and frustration at the perceived lack of information provided by the LSC.
‘[This uncertainty] is having a devastating affect on us – projects are collapsing around us at the moment,’ said Tim Hampson, director of Dyer, which currently has seven projects on hold.
‘It does appear that the framework will continue, but no one has said anything to us. That’s what is so frustrating,’ he added.
The LSC announced in December last year that all projects were to be put on hold. And after a review earlier this month, it confirmed that just eight projects would continue.
An independent audit is currently being carried out by Andrew Foster, former controller of the Audit Commission, which is expected to assess how the LSC has found itself in this position. A meeting is due to take place on 20 March for those involved in the south of England framework.
Marigold Webster of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, which has a number of projects on hold, said: ‘We are just waiting with bated breath. We are not convinced we are going to hear much more, but we don’t believe the framework will be dissolved.’
Even if the LSC resolves the situation, it is likely that a significant number of projects will not go ahead, since the LSC only has a set amount of capital to allocate in each financial year.
‘We think some projects will be postponed indefinitely, some will be phased to stretch out the period of funding and some will go ahead,’ said Webster. ‘But we don’t know which will go forward.’
A statement issued by the LSC on 4 March said: ‘Clearly, there are more schemes currently presenting applications than can be funded in this spending round.’