Created on: 11 Mar 2020 | Last modified: 05 Mar 2024

There has been much misinformation given about the reasons for privatisation. Here, we debunk some of these.

The new College needs to be ‘unincorporated’ in order to have charitable status

All incorporated, public, colleges have charitable status and are registered with OSCR therefore this is NOT a reason to privatise Further Education in Shetland.

Incorporated colleges are struggling more than non-incorporated colleges

The Audit Scotland Scotland’s Colleges 2019 report highlights the following:

  • although all non-incorporated colleges have recorded a surplus, the level of each surplus is lower than that reported for many incorporated colleges and the incorporated colleges’ surplus increased dramatically from 2016/17 to 2017/18 whilst the unincorporated colleges’ surplus more than halved; and
  • of the six non-incorporated colleges, only Orkney College is not projecting a recurring deficit during the next five years.

Governance arrangements would be less onerous and there would be less administrative burden

Why would we want there to be less public accountability, oversight and governance of our tax-payers’ money?

Financial sustainability

Colleges receive a significant level of public funding and the EIS agrees that the Scottish Government (through the Scottish Funding Council) should ensure that the sector is appropriately resourced. 

Public sector colleges are not allowed to build reserves

This is TRUE, although incorporated colleges can use Arms Lengths Trusts to effectively generate reserves. They can also carry over a small surplus. Nonetheless, finances should be reinvested into education, staff and resources rather than building reserves which commodifies education and can pit colleges in competition with each other.

Public colleges are unable to raise finances

Scotland’s Colleges 2018/19 reports show how non-governmental income is raised through education contracts or commercial purposes. For example, industry can contract with the college to deliver bespoke courses, accommodation can be let out, and funds can be raised from commercial sales.  Colleges can also utilise the expertise of their staff in order to provide consultancy advice and developmental services to commercial organisations and bodies.

Industry funding for the North Atlantic Fisheries College Marine Centre would be cancelled

We have seen absolutely no information on this claim to substantiate it.