We have a statutory obligation to produce an audited annual report and accounts and lay the report before parliament.
Our role is to fund skills training for further education in England. We supported over 1,000 colleges, other training organisations and employers with more than £4 billion of funding each year.
For the financial year 2014 to 2015, we effectively managed over £4.3 billion of government funding and our significant achievements included:
- achieving our target of delivering over 2 million apprenticeships in the last parliament by November 2014
- being able to allocate funds to, and pay, colleges and training organisations through the Hub, a secure online system
- delivering £10 million of skills investment through the Employer Ownership Fund - supporting 51 employers
- employers pledging 23,000 new apprentice jobs during National Apprenticeship Week 2015
- 120 apprenticeship standards being approved with more than 150 in development, 1,200+ employers involved in developing and designing them
- 2,500 assessments on colleges and training organisations to evaluate their financial stability to deliver funding
- the National Careers Service handling over 20 million visits on its website and giving 700,000 people careers advice
- the Central Delivery Service Centre handling 2,500+ queries monthly
During our year-end audit of expenditure performed by the National Audit Office (NAO), it was found that 16 colleges (one with 2 capital schemes) had secured payments in advance of need for capital projects funded by profile through the College Capital Investment Fund (CCIF), which finished at the end of March 2015. This resulted in a qualification of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) accounts for the 2014 to 2015 financial year.
The NAO has said that our accounts have been properly prepared and show a true and fair view, and that except for the capital grant payments, in all material respects the expenditure and income of our accounts has been used for the purposes intended. There is no suggestion that these payments were not for agreed capital programmes.
We will be commissioning reviews of our internal financial management and control arrangements and the compliance by colleges with the financial programme management arrangements for the CCIF. If this review identifies that colleges secured funds in advance inappropriately the SFA will, as is our normal process, seek to recover those funds.
Notes to editors
The SFA’s main role is to provide around £4 billion for skills training to support around 3.3 million learners aged 19-and-over in the Further Education sector. In addition, the SFA administered the College Capital Investment Fund (CCIF) to provide Further Education (FE) colleges funding for capital projects. CCIF is the SFA’s capital funding mechanism established as a part of the FE College Investment Strategy in December 2012.
The 16 colleges that secured pre-payments are:
- Harrow College
- Knowsley College
- Lewisham and Southwark College
- Stoke on Trent College (2 capital schemes)
- Warwickshire College
- Wiltshire College
- Capel Manor
- Colchester Institute
- Kendal College
- PETROC (Devon)
- Reaseheath College
- Sheffield College
- Somerset College of A&T
- South Thames College
- Leeds City College