Colleges are responsible for the buildings and space they use for education and training, which they either own or lease. Colleges fund capital expenditure themselves using a combination of their own cash, bank borrowings and Government grants.
Growth Deals and College Capital Projects
The government has made some important announcements today about capital funding to colleges in 2015-16 via local enterprise partnerships (LEPs).
These are contained within 39 Growth Deals which set out the agreement reached between the Cities and Local Growth Unit and LEPs. All the deals are on the government website.
The deals provide some more information on how the £2 billion Single Local Growth Fund will be allocated in 2015-16.
This fund includes £330 million in capital funding for colleges and other providers of skills training. The information on individual LEP plans is spread out across 39 documents. AoC staff have therefore brought together the information about skills capital funding into a single note. Some growth deals name college projects and allocated budgets; some deals have no projects listed at all; some of the larger LEPs will hold a further bidding round. Note that the "LEP commitment" stated in the deals will generally be money provided by the college themselves on a matched funded basis. The note identifies some questions that will need to be resolved between now and April 2015:
- the extent to which a LEP can vary the plans set out in each deal (for example because of some external event)
- whether there is an appeal route for a college whose project has been left out of the plans
- how the projects themselves have been assessed
- how they will be evaluated or audited
- what the flow of funds is from government to college (presumably via each LEP’s accountable body)
- what arrangements will be made to report on spending.
Capital Funding Presentation
This presentation given by Julian Gravatt to AoC's Finance conference summarises current capital funding issues.
Capital Reference Group
Since 2009, AoC has organised a Capital Reference Group. This discusses current issues of importance in capital funding and provides advice to Government on capital funding.
The Capital Reference Group was set up in 2009 by AoC at the request of the then Secretary of State. The group meets two to three times a year, is chaired by a college principal (currently Mike Potter CBE, Principal and Chief Executive, Guildford College Group), comprises nine representatives from colleges across the nine English regions, a number of representatives of specialist colleges and officials from SFA, EFA and BIS. AoC provides the secretariat. Minutes of recent minutes and key papers are below.