College oversight: support and intervention

This updated guidance sets out how the government will support and intervene to improve financial resilience and quality in colleges.

Applies to England



This guidance is primarily aimed at governors, principals, finance directors and/or senior leadership teams of further education (FE) colleges, sixth-form colleges and designated institutions in England.

This summer 2022 update to the guidance is effective from 20 July 2022. It reflects:

  • the introduction of the new duty on colleges to review how well their provision meets local needs, and to consider what actions they could take to meet those needs better
  • the Secretary of State’s enhanced intervention powers under sections 56A and 56E Further and Higher Education Act 1992
  • making Curriculum Efficiency and Financial Sustainability Support available to all colleges as part of the offer of active support
  • the revised Ofsted inspection framework which, from September 2022, includes an assessment of a college’s contribution to meeting skills needs


If a college or creditor initiates insolvency proceedings, notice of those proceedings should be sent by email to or by post to:

Secretary of State for Education
Department for Education
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street

College funding

We will annually publish information on the funding provided to:

  • further education (FE) corporations
  • sixth form college corporations
  • designated institutions

In the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, we have supported 13 colleges with emergency funding (March 2020: 7). As at March 2021, a total of £31.6 million has been provided (March 2020: £35.7m).

In the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, £26.8m cash repayments were received against loans issued since inception of Exceptional Financial Support (in year ending 31 March 2015) and the Restructuring Facility (in year ending 31 March 2017).

Published 1 April 2019
Last updated 20 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated guidance to reflect the new duty to review provision; enhanced Secretary of State intervention powers; improvements to active support; and revised Ofsted framework.

  2. Renaming of Formal Intervention as Intervention and introduction of Active Support - to replace previous categories of Prevention and Early Intervention.

  3. Updated with details of emergency funding and/or insolvency funding given to 7 institutions in the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

  4. Document updated to reflect amendment to formal intervention trigger for cash related concerns.

  5. Extended the criteria for FE Commissioner diagnostic assessments so a college can be referred for one earlier than the current criteria allows. Delegated the decision to place a college into Supervised College Status to the Case Management Group (CMG).

  6. First published.