Management clear-out planned for college running on emergency cash

A college surviving on bailout funding is seeking to balance the books with a management clear-out.

Twenty managers who currently cover 10 roles at Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (GB Met) were informed yesterday evening that they are at risk of redundancy.

No teaching or back office jobs are currently affected.

GB Met triggered formal FE Commissioner intervention earlier this year after it was granted an undisclosed amount of emergency funding from the government and its then-chief executive, Nick Juba, quit.

The college, which was formed by the merger of City College Brighton and Northbrook College in 2017, said its income has fallen “significantly” in the period post-merger and this has then been exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19.

Andy Green has been seconded from Chichester College Group to lead GB Met while a new permanent chief executive is found and is attempting to find savings through a restructure.

A spokesperson told FE Week: “The college has launched a consultation to restructure the leadership of the organisation to save significant costs and align its resources with the needs of a college of this size.

“The proposed structure is in line with the college’s aspirations both to recover its financial position and to improve the quality of the student experience.

“GB MET needs a strong and agile leadership team to lead it through the period of recovery. This is a difficult time for staff at risk but GB MET is committed to securing its future as a provider of outstanding education, meeting the needs of its local communities. To reach this goal, costs need to be saved and this is why a leadership restructure is required and being implemented.”

The spokesperson did not disclose how much money the college anticipates to save following the restructure at the time of going to press.

GB Met’s accounts show that its income sat at £41 million in 2016, which fell to £39 million in 2018 and then increased slightly to £40 million last year. The accounts for 2018/19 suggest the college’s financial woes could also stem from a £21 million redevelopment project for its Pelham Street campus which began in August 2019.

The financial statements state that there “remain some cashflow timing issues to be managed during the project”, which is scheduled to complete in 2021, and their forecasts “show that a short-term borrowing facility will be required”.

GB Met had received a diagnostic visit from the FE Commissioner in December 2019 following a grade three Ofsted report, but this was escalated to formal intervention following the request for emergency funding.