Thursday, 30 June 2011

Some controversial wording in the HEFCE funding consultation

As I reported here, HEFCE have now issued their consultation document on funding changes initiated by the White Paper, and it contains some words which will, I think, be controversial in the sector:

Our current teaching funding is allocated as part of a block grant, which institutions are free to spend according to their own priorities within our broad guidelines[1]. Since HEIs and FECs are autonomous bodies that set their own strategic priorities, they are not expected to model their internal allocations on our funding calculations. We expect this principle to continue to apply in 2012-13. 
We will continue to recognise the autonomy of institutions. However, as teaching funding becomes more targeted, we will consider introducing further guidance or requirements as to how it is used, particularly taking into account any legislative changes that affect our funding powers.

[1] For full details of HEFCE’s current funding methods see ‘Guide to funding: How HEFCE allocates its funds’ (HEFCE 2010/24).
 That word 'recognise' is rather delicate, but clearly this indicates an intention to restrict institutional autonomy in a very straightforward way.

The sector can be expected to be very upset by this, but at the end of the day HEFCE already has a very wide power to set conditions on its grants, and the only way to avoid coming under that power is not to take the grant.

1 comment:

  1. I consider the sentence following "However" to be more important which cements the power that you referred to in Ferdinand blog. As you have said, if the institutions, like private providers do not take the money from the government they can set their parameters which many colleges like the Regents college will do. I do not have any problems with private colleges as some of them are run well, and provide a good service for those aspiring A level students who are let down by the comprehensive school system, and local sixth form colleges. I compare it to private clinics and NHS clinics in the same building in teaching hospitals. After all, why should I question if one wants to use his/her money in the way he/she wants- to take up expensive membership of gym clubs and subscription to premier FC of choice or use it to pay for private medical insurance. HE is no different and hence am relaxed about Willets paper on colleges and private providers.