Learning and Skills Network in administration

A charity with more than 25 years experience in the education sector has been placed into administration.

Ian Oakley-Smith, David Hurst and Karen Dukes of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were appointed joint administrators of Learning and Skills Network (LSN) on Thursday.

The charity, with a turnover of around £13 million for 2010/11,  employs 117 staff and is based in London (48 employees), with offices also in Oxford (14 employees), Olney (16 employees), Cambridge (26 employees) and Belfast (13 employees).

It is not known at this time whether those jobs are secure.

It operates five separate businesses: Technology for Learning, National Extension College, Education, Skills and Research, Development Services, Learning and Skills Development Agency (Northern Ireland)/Learning and Skills Network.

David Hurst, joint administrator and director at PwC, said: “The charity operates a number of businesses and has suffered a dramatic decline in contract income since 2009 with its funded programmes diminished due primarily to the cuts in government spending.

“As a result of the decline in income and significant pension liabilities within the charity, the trustees concluded that they were unable to continue and have placed the charity into administration.”

He also said that buyers are now being sought.

“Our immediate priority is to seek buyers for the successful businesses within the charity, to enable their long term survival, preserve jobs and continue supporting customers and students. 

“We would encourage any interested parties to contact us as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Ian Oakley-Smith, joint administrator, director and head of charity advisory at PwC, said: “There has been a marked increase in the number of financially distressed charities approaching us for advice and assistance in recent weeks and months as the Spending Review begins to impact those charities reliant on government support.

“Learning and Skills Network has over 25 years experience of high quality delivery in the education sector.

“It is an organisation which has excellent relationships across all levels within the sector, previously working to deliver large scale projects and innovative solutions for clients including the UK Government and its agencies, FE institutions and large private sector clients.”

He added: “It appears that there is a good deal of interest in a number of Learning and Skills Network’s activities and we are hopeful that they will be able to continue under different ownership.”

FE Week has approached LSN for comment, but no one was available at the time of publication.