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BSF Thread, FE College Building Program - "A Disaster" in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; So how long until we similar headlines for BSF ? MPs have condemned the "catastrophic mismanagement" of a college building ...
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    somabc's Avatar
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    FE College Building Program - "A Disaster"

    So how long until we similar headlines for BSF?



    MPs have condemned the "catastrophic mismanagement" of a college building scheme in England which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds.

    The Learning and Skills Council, which ran the scheme, and the government are criticised in a report by the committee which deals with further education.

    The LSC encouraged colleges to bid for funds and approved projects it did not have money for, their report says.

    Ministers have acknowledged mistakes made and say lessons are being learned.

    MPs on the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee say the government should review the way all such quangos operate, so that such a situation cannot happen again.

    The LSC was charged by the government to deliver its programme to rebuild or refurbish England's colleges.

    The MPs said that at the time building projects were being approved, the body had been preparing to be disbanded and "wanted to go out with a bang", and had encouraged colleges to "big up" their plans.

    But there was no process for prioritising bids and by last November, when the alarm was finally raised, 144 colleges had together invested tens of millions of pounds in preparing bids and getting approval from the LSC.

    Recently, it was announced only 13 of those projects would go ahead this year.
    BBC NEWS | Education | College funding fiasco condemned
    BBC NEWS | Education | Few college buildings to go ahead

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    Face-Man's Avatar
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    Actually PFS have loads of money so it more likely that they take this over than BSF fails

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Face-Man View Post
    Actually PFS have loads of money so it more likely that they take this over than BSF fails
    I thought PFS did not have any government money, it is all coming from the Private Sector? I don't understand how building new colleges can have no money or interested private sector bids while BSF is inundated with cash. Surely building new schools and colleges would on the face of it be similar?
    Last edited by somabc; 17th July 2009 at 01:16 PM.

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    Some BSF schemes had to go cap in hand to the European Investment Bank for funds because UK Banks didn't want to invest.....

    Europe loan bails out school rebuilding plans - Times Online

    Also, as far as BSF having loads of money, they have already seriously overspent... by at least £10 billion against a budget of £45 Billion

    http://www.lgcplus.com/news/bsf-1631...987898.article

    In fact Partnership for schools is doing such a great job they have been given the task of rebuilding primaries too

    http://www.partnershipsforschools.or...transition.jsp

    Maybe they will get the job of sorting out FE too?
    Last edited by broc; 17th July 2009 at 01:38 PM.

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    The FE funding was very different from the BSF idea. Although government claims that they value FE (and seem to expect them to pick up kids who've failed at school and magically get them qualifications at a fraction of the cost of a school) there has never been the same level of investment and it's now gone very, very wrong.

    I suspect that the money for "bricks and mortar" in BSF will dry up but the move to outsource stuff like IT support will continue. If some big company comes along and says "we can run your IT for half the price it now costs" I suspect that there will be lots of people saying "yes, please"

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Anyone interested in starting an IT managed service company?

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    Some BSF schemes had to go cap in hand to the European Investment Bank for funds because UK Banks didn't want to invest.....

    Europe loan bails out school rebuilding plans - Times Online

    Also, as far as BSF having loads of money, they have already seriously overspent... by at least £10 billion against a budget of £45 Billion

    BSF ?£10bn over budget and late? | News | Local Government Chronicle

    In fact Partnership for schools is doing such a great job they have been given the task of rebuilding primaries too

    Partnerships for Schools

    Maybe they will get the job of sorting out FE too?
    to top it all, aren't they seriously behind schedule in terms of how many schools should have been rebuilt by now ?

    The BSF i guess is now something they can stick a fiscal stimulus tag on. The type of huge capital investment that will provide all sorts of employment they'll claim, irrespective of how useful. What i don't understand is that the govt. did the whole PFI tango before the financial crisis, as a way of off balance sheeting everything to give the impression of being financially responsible.

    Now that there's no pretence about how much is going to be spent/borrowed by govt. why not just add the spend+overspend to the govt. balance sheet ? Maybe i'm simplifying it too much.

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    As far as I know, the two programmes are funded/administered very differently.

    With the Building College's for the Future programme (2001-), College's were asked to put forward proposals (e.g. for a totally new building or a rebuild/refurb). Some College buildings were in a dire state after historical underfunding compared to Schools, so some programme to improve facilities was (and still is) essential.

    The LSC would then assess it and approve/modify/reject the proposals and agree to pay for a certain proportion of the cost (e.g. half). The rest would be normally be born by the individual College (e.g. through the sale of land, or the loan from a bank), and perhaps one or two other public/private bodies.

    As I understand the BSF programme for rebuilding schools (which I know little about), most of this is funded through the PFI. A great way (or an Accounting trick) to get money pumped into upgrading building/facilities without putting the treasury's budget into the red, but where we will all pay for it (several times over) decades down the line.

    The LSC will be disbanded soon, and the responsibility for the on-going funding for 16-19 year students will move back to the LEAs (as was the case in the 90s), so perhaps the two Capital building programmes may merge to some extent. Who administers the BSF prgramme, or is it not centrally managed like the College building programme was?

    The main thing that surprised me about the Capital Buidling program defecit, was the size of the gap between grants that they agreed to and how much money they actually had. I mean, how can anyone possibly end up agreeing to pay £2bn (£2,000m ) more than they had??! Do they not own a calculator?

    This recent report recommended that the Goverment assess the risk reocurrance of such problems in DIUS (and presumably other departments.)

    There were also some other deficiencies inherent with the programme identfied in the previous report, the fact that it was "demand led" meant that it depended on Colleges to ask for money, and there was no national/regional assessement/analysis on the basis of need.

    The LSC were in the news again for the wrong reasons in the last 12 months; those related to serious problems with the EMA programme and the SATs results (both subcontracted after a tendering exercise).

    Regards,

    Bruce.

    Leeds, UK.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce123 View Post
    As I understand the BSF programme for rebuilding schools (which I know little about), most of this is funded through the PFI. A great way (or an Accounting trick) to get money pumped into upgrading building/facilities without putting the treasury's budget into the red, but where we will all pay for it (several times over) decades down the line.
    that's my point. public finances are now most definitely in the red as they are now forced to run a deficit to act as an automatic stabiliser.

    In fact, they could run budget deficits perpetually if there wasn't this hysteria about balancing budgets and totally unnecessary budget surpluses.

    In other words, the accounting trick was totally unnecessary. Twas a choice for political convenience.
    Basically politicnas and public understanding about the economics of the public finances is mired in outdated concepts that don't apply to a sovereign govt. with it's own currency.

    This misunderstanding won't alter anytime soon.

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    Face-Man's Avatar
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    well it looks like sixth forms are going to be "offer" BSF money to complete builds....

    EducationInvestor - Article: Sixth form colleges to access Building Schools for the Future cash

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    That has a horribly unfair feel to it if it's accurate!

    It seems to be saying that colleges which are 16-18 only will get extra funding. That completely messes up general purpose FE (which typically takes ages 16-90) but over the past few years have been forced to concentrate on 16-18

    I can understand that it looks like a good way to sort out some of the mess and if moving funding needs away from LSC for 6th form colleges helps make more available for the rest of the FE sector then maybe it's a good idea but it just feels like another way of shafting FE!



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