The College decided to enter the undergraduate LLB market in January 2011 with a two-year accelerated programme. This turned out, of course, to be a bit of a miscalculation as the fees regime announced in the White Paper is not very supportive of this kind of arrangement, and the core/margin criteria even less so. The College's chief executive is accordingly complaining about the White Paper in the press.
With a clear orientation towards the UK market (so that the UKBA is less of a threat), strong employer connections and a sound financial position, the College of Law looks well placed to benefit from the White Paper so the news that they are considering privatisation is very interesting. As I understand it, the trustees of the charity would sell the business, and could then devote the proceeds of that sale to their charitable purposes whilst freeing the business to expand - potentially in areas outside law.
So this is interesting in two ways:
- By comparison with the Leeds College of Music case, it suggests that an intermediary step towards privatisation isn't really needed - although of course LCM was a HEC, not a chartered institution. I see this as confirming my view (in contrast with Andrew McGettigan) about the LCM case.
- However if privatisation does materialise, then it will provide a very interesting precedent for other institutions which may want to spin out business, art or law departments to manage their own core/margin problems.