Lingfield gets £350k budget

The body behind a new quality mark for FE providers will get taxpayer funding of up to £350k this financial year having received £201,193 last year, according to details released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Institution for Further Education (IFE), a not-for-profit limited company, spent just over half of its £400k budget from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in 2013-14 as it developed plans for Chartered Status.

It can call on BIS, which released the information, for up to £350,000 this financial year “to operate and exist” — but no government funding has been put forward beyond that.

However, the “position will be reviewed in light of progress made in 2014-15”.

A BIS spokesperson said: “The funding that BIS provided to the IFE to establish Chartered Status is considered appropriate.”

An IFE spokesperson told FE Week: “On money, the intention is that the institution will be self-financing from membership fees as soon as possible.

“The availability of any future grant funding beyond 2014-15 is a matter for BIS.”

The IFE was launched last July and given responsibility by BIS for developing and launching Chartered Status.

Lord Lingfield (pictured), chair of the IFE, told FE Week in March that the organisation had “prepared business plans and received seed corn funding and recently acquired the lease of premises in Victoria Street, in Westminster”.

The Tory peer added he had consulted earlier this year with 80 large and small providers on plans developed by the IFE for the quality mark.

It is understood issues covered included the potential cost of the quality mark.

He said a “small group” had been chosen from providers who responded to the consultation to “develop and refine” the proposals.

The group held what is understood to have been its first formal meeting on June 4, but IFE would not say who attended or what was discussed.

Its spokesperson said: “There was indeed a monitoring meeting on June 4, which involved a selection of colleges and training providers.

“The meeting was one of many meetings and contacts with interested parties. The work of consulting and listening is still going on.”

He added IFE was still waiting for royal permission before it could start granting Chartered Status.