The ArgusCity College Brighton and Hove facing 'financial crisis' (From The Argus)

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City College Brighton and Hove facing 'financial crisis'

The Argus: City College Brighton and Hove facing 'financial crisis' City College Brighton and Hove facing 'financial crisis'

A leading college is facing a “financial crisis” as it looks to make £1.5 million worth of staff cuts.

Unions passed a vote of no confidence in City College Brighton and Hove’s senior management team after claiming 90% of the cuts will fall on teaching and support staff.

A total of £450,000 has been put aside for redundancy payments – with 25% of employees at risk, according to unions.

But senior staff told The Argus yesterday that the union estimate was too high and official numbers would not be announced until after plans had been put out to consultation later this month.

Vice principal Rebecca Conroy said the college’s ambitious building plans, which include a £79 million redevelopment of their Pelham Street campus, had not been the cause of its current financial difficulties and that the project would still go ahead.

Plans for a series of ten-storeyhigh buildings with teaching rooms, 442 student homes and up to 125 properties for 10,000 students a year were approved by the Brighton and Hove City Council in December.

In a letter to staff and union members, Julie Nerney, chair of the board of governors, said senior management would not change its plans despite its financial position being scrutinised by its bank and the Skills Funding Agency.

Accountants KPMG are also reported to have visited the college to analyse their financial position.

In the letter, she said: “The board of governors is not prepared to put on hold the restructuring programme or the proposals for the new build.”

UNISON Branch Secretary Alex Knutsen yesterday said many staff were angry and felt they had been left in the dark for the past year over the state of the college’s finances.

He said: “If they’d have said to us this is the problem we’re in 12 months ago we could have worked with them but we’re still not sure we’re getting the whole story.

“They’ve been telling staff and us that there isn’t a problem. Two days later they say we’ve been deemed inadequate and referred to the funding agency and KPMG have been in – and that puts things on a whole different level.”

He added members had given their unanimous backing to hold a ballot for strike action if the situation remained unchanged with announcements on redundancies.

It is feared up to 100 members of staff could lose their jobs after Easter.

Mr Knutsen added: “A year has been frittered away when we could all have been working together to avoid this crisis, which now will almost inevitably lead to confrontation.

“They are a disgrace, and should stand aside so that competent managers can take their place.”

Alison Kelly, from the lecturers Union UCU, said the college should rethink its expansion plans adding that senior management had spent too long concentrating on a vanity project rather than quality of teaching.

She said: “We can’t see how it won’t impact on the actual provision, as far as we can see it’s going to cut courses and have larger class sizes.

“It’s all a matter of the number of courses and the quality of the courses and people are really worried about redundancies. But they’re just as worried about what’s happening to the college; they are against the new build which they see as a vanity project.”

Mrs Conroy said the college had tried to be as transparent as possible about their financial situation to staff and that work was now under way to put a “recovery plan in place”.

She said: “We are certainly not unique, the further education sector has had significant cuts in funding.

“But we have quite a high ratio of staff to pupils and so we are probably out of kilter to begin with compared to other colleges.”

A statement from the college said: “The current situation will mean a difficult period until the end of this academic year for the college but it is a situation that is manageable and we are confident that the necessary level of savings can be achieved to ensure that the college returns to a position of financial health.”

Comments (10)

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7:42am Sun 6 Apr 14

seabass_Hove says...

Great buildings but cannot afford them? It sounds EXACTLY like the situation at the Haywards Heath 6th form campus last year. The teaching staff are collateral damage. Established courses will be destabilised, for a period of time at least. However the kids get new classrooms, I suppose their management team know best, don't they?
Great buildings but cannot afford them? It sounds EXACTLY like the situation at the Haywards Heath 6th form campus last year. The teaching staff are collateral damage. Established courses will be destabilised, for a period of time at least. However the kids get new classrooms, I suppose their management team know best, don't they? seabass_Hove
  • Score: 22

8:26am Sun 6 Apr 14

From beer to uncertainty says...

Why not cash-in on the governments mismanagement of public finances and education? Just turn it into a bilingual, faith school. It will need a suitable name. Perhaps 'The God Help Us All Academy for Bilingual Plumbing, Carpentary and Brickwork'?
Courses to include:
Bizness studays,
Non-accountancy for politicians,
Nail Technician level 3 (replacing neurosurgical consultant posts at RSCH from 2015 onwards).
Why not cash-in on the governments mismanagement of public finances and education? Just turn it into a bilingual, faith school. It will need a suitable name. Perhaps 'The God Help Us All Academy for Bilingual Plumbing, Carpentary and Brickwork'? Courses to include: Bizness studays, Non-accountancy for politicians, Nail Technician level 3 (replacing neurosurgical consultant posts at RSCH from 2015 onwards). From beer to uncertainty
  • Score: 16

10:22am Sun 6 Apr 14

mimseycal says...

How on earth can they claim that the expansion plans do not have any effect on their financial shortfall?
How on earth can they claim that the expansion plans do not have any effect on their financial shortfall? mimseycal
  • Score: 30

10:50am Sun 6 Apr 14

clubrob6 says...

I would have thought the teaching staff was the most important part after all its about learning,perhaps the new building plans should be looked at to save before cutting staff.
I would have thought the teaching staff was the most important part after all its about learning,perhaps the new building plans should be looked at to save before cutting staff. clubrob6
  • Score: 36

5:49pm Sun 6 Apr 14

PORTSLADEGIRL says...

I think the new build is having an effect on the current students, of which my son is one. He has had very limited materials and resources available to him since the start of his course in September. I am not sure how he is going to meet all the requirements for his course so that he can pass. It feels like current students on practical courses are being sacrificed in order for a new build.
I think the new build is having an effect on the current students, of which my son is one. He has had very limited materials and resources available to him since the start of his course in September. I am not sure how he is going to meet all the requirements for his course so that he can pass. It feels like current students on practical courses are being sacrificed in order for a new build. PORTSLADEGIRL
  • Score: 34

11:27am Mon 7 Apr 14

David-Knight says...

She said: “We can’t see how it won’t impact on the actually provision, as far as we can see it’s going to cut courses and have larger class sizes.

Perhaps the Argus staff would like to do a course?
She said: “We can’t see how it won’t impact on the actually provision, as far as we can see it’s going to cut courses and have larger class sizes. Perhaps the Argus staff would like to do a course? David-Knight
  • Score: 0

12:52pm Mon 7 Apr 14

Fairfax Aches says...

To many courses in "media studies" and "history of art" and "sports studies".
What do you expect if no-one has a clue about what actule education means.
Sort it out you burocrats!
To many courses in "media studies" and "history of art" and "sports studies". What do you expect if no-one has a clue about what actule education means. Sort it out you burocrats! Fairfax Aches
  • Score: -8

1:20pm Mon 7 Apr 14

divertundra says...

"Facing" a crisis?
There has been days where the toilets in the college have been closed because they haven't managed to pay for toilet paper

Plenty of other businesses that supply the College have suffered long delays or unpaid bills for months now

Meanwhile the planning for new buildings trundle on despite the local community and many of their own staff believing the plans to be unviable..

I'd say the crisis is already in full effect, they just can't keep it quiet any more.

I feel worst for all the staff and students, they should all get out while they can.
"Facing" a crisis? There has been days where the toilets in the college have been closed because they haven't managed to pay for toilet paper Plenty of other businesses that supply the College have suffered long delays or unpaid bills for months now Meanwhile the planning for new buildings trundle on despite the local community and many of their own staff believing the plans to be unviable.. I'd say the crisis is already in full effect, they just can't keep it quiet any more. I feel worst for all the staff and students, they should all get out while they can. divertundra
  • Score: 25

5:40pm Sat 12 Apr 14

puffie says...

what a terrible mess ! whilst the principle & financial director are off on exotic foreign holidays , the poor dedicated staff are left worrying about their futures over the Easter holidays .
what a terrible mess ! whilst the principle & financial director are off on exotic foreign holidays , the poor dedicated staff are left worrying about their futures over the Easter holidays . puffie
  • Score: 4

9:58pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Havewewonthelotteryyet says...

The most successful companies invest in their employees, not their building. The main capital of a college is knowledge or the 'knowledge workers" i.e. the teachers, as explained by Peter Drucker. Would a football club invest in a new stadium, make the players redundant and keep the directors?
The most successful companies invest in their employees, not their building. The main capital of a college is knowledge or the 'knowledge workers" i.e. the teachers, as explained by Peter Drucker. Would a football club invest in a new stadium, make the players redundant and keep the directors? Havewewonthelotteryyet
  • Score: 4

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