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Do you know if you are going to hit your funding targets for 2014/15?

There are significant financial consequences for failing to hit your funding targets - the Skills Funding Agency reclaim funds for underperformance, sometimes in year, whereas the Education Funding Agency look to reduce the funding allocated in future years - unfortunately it is not as easy to reduce your costs as it is to clawback funding!

We have for many years offered a service whereby we review your ILR return to identify areas of underperformance - and have been very successful in securing funding that many colleges were prepared to repay - however if undertaken earlier not only would colleges be able to secure additional funding but many of the costs associated with underperformance, including commissioning partnership provision and incurring staff costs for additional provision could be avoided.

So, do you know if you are going to hit funding target for 2014/15?

With main enrolment almost complete you should be in a position to know with reasonable certainty whether you are going to hit your Education Funding Agency target - and also have a good idea whether you are likely to have a shortfall in terms of your Skills Funding Agency allocation.

Closing the ILR, Preparing for a Funding Audit, Finalising the Financial Statements, Preparing a Self-Assessment Report - these are all reasons we often hear as to why many of you aren't provided with reliable data to determine what your outturn is likely to be - by the time you have the information you need it may be too late to act!

Having supported a number of colleges during the last academic year to determine whether they were going to hit their funding targets we thought that it would be useful to share our top tips for ensuring you have an accurate funding position for the current year:

  1. Don't accept no for an answer - although the reasons noted above are perfectly valid they should not prevent you from getting an early indication of where you are - the sooner you know the easier it is to take action if you are underperforming;
  2. Use your previous years' performance as an indication of your current performance - if you missed target previously and have not changed what you do significantly the likelihood is that you will miss your target again;
  3. Get to grips with your group size - this is one of the key efficiency drivers, a drop of just one in a group can hit your bottom line by £4,000 - if MIS can't provide, walk the corridors - you will soon know if there is a problem!
  4. Use your nose - Is the car park full? Are the learning resource centres at capacity? Is the refectory full? - If the numbers are suggesting that you are above target but your instinct is that there is a problem, investigate!
  5. Act quickly - the sooner you act the easier it is to resolve!

If you would like to discuss any of the issues above further please feel free to contact us at ets@icca-ets.com