Annual accounts blackout remains at five colleges

Deadline for publication was January 31. Here's why a handful are still yet to surface

Deadline for publication was January 31. Here's why a handful are still yet to surface

Exclusive

Fraud investigations into principal pay, a subcontracting probe and reclassification are among the reasons for delays to multiple college accounts this year.

The government’s deadline for colleges to publish their financial statements in an easily accessible location on their website is January 31 each year to “maximise transparency and support accountability”.

But Department for Education’s release of its annual college accounts database revealed 21 of England’s 223 colleges had not filed their 2022/23 accounts by the end of April.

An FE Week audit found most of the offenders have since released their accounts, but five remain under wraps.

The most high-profile delay involves Weston College, where government fraud investigators are probing “funding irregularities” involving the pay to former principal Sir Paul Phillips (click here for full story).

Elsewhere, Warwickshire College Group said a government “funding assurance audit” meant its financial statements could only be issued this month. A spokesperson said the Education and Skills Funding Agency was “aware of the position” and had “granted a filing extension to the end of July 2024”.

Strode College’s accounts have been delayed by an ongoing investigation into a historic case of dodgy subcontracting, which involved hundreds of traineeship learners working illegal hours. The government is now seeking clawback which has shifted the college’s financial health from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’.

The FE Commissioner is currently conducting a structure and prospect appraisal at Strode, which could result in a recommendation for the college to seek a merger. 

Principal John Revill told FE Week last month he plans to publish Strode’s accounts during the summer.

South Essex College has failed to publish accounts for the past two years. A spokesperson said this was due to the reclassification of FE colleges in autumn 2022, and the subsequent need to rebroker its commercial loan with the DfE.

The college emailed copies of both sets of accounts to FE Week following a request on Thursday and said the financial statements would be published online in the next few days.

Emergency funding

Eastleigh College, which merged with Fareham College and City College Southampton in August 2023 to form the South Hampshire College Group, also only published its accounts following an enquiry from FE Week.

Eastleigh’s delayed accounts show the college received more than £2 million in emergency funding from the government in 2022/23, and its financial health rating was ‘inadequate’.

The new South Hampshire College Group will not publish accounts until next year, but Ofsted released a monitoring report this week which found ‘significant progress’ was being made following the merger.  

The remaining colleges with unpublished accounts – St Brendan’s Sixth Form College and the Windsor Forest Colleges Group – did not respond to requests for comment.

Latest education roles from

Student Engagement and Enrichment Lead

Student Engagement and Enrichment Lead

Bournemouth and Poole College

Tutorial Learning Mentor

Tutorial Learning Mentor

Barnsley College

School Liaison Admissions Tutor

School Liaison Admissions Tutor

Riverside College

Study Coach

Study Coach

Heart of Yorkshire Education Group

Lecturer in Maths

Lecturer in Maths

Heart of Yorkshire Education Group

Apprentice Development Leader

Apprentice Development Leader

GP Strategies

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

Why we’re backing our UK skills ‘Olympians’ (and why you should too)

This August, teams from over 200 nations will gather to compete in the sticky heat of the Paris summer...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Is your organisation prepared for a major incident?

We live in an unpredictable world where an unforeseen incident or environmental event could disrupt a Further Education (FE)...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

A new chapter in education protection!

Gallagher is a specialist in the Further Education sector, working with over 75% of Further Education colleges in the...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Pearson is planting the seed for sustainability talent with new HTQ

Sustainability is rapidly becoming a key organisational goal for many businesses looking to make a difference in society, the...

Advertorial

More from this theme

Colleges, safeguarding

Prevent referrals made in FE at record high

Rising Prevent referrals and data sharing case studies lead calls of deradicalisation programme to be scrapped

Anviksha Patel
Colleges, Election 2024

LSIPs: Colleges call for long-term funding and shared accountability

AoC reviews the flagship policy one year on from the national rollout

Anviksha Patel
Colleges

Weapons and drug use on the rise in colleges, staff warn

Support staff demand more training and stricter punishments for rule breaking students

Anviksha Patel
Colleges, Election 2024

IFS: Colleges face £400m funding shortfall for rising 16-18s

Growing student numbers mean colleges will need £400 million just to maintain per-student funding levels

Shane Chowen

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment

  1. Julian Gravatt

    Late accounts never good but 5 late ones in 2024 is just 2%, which is a low figure compared to councils (771 sets of accounts late at 31 Dec 2023 and a four year plan to ger audits back on track) or previous years im the college sector. ESFA doesn’t assemble equivalent data for the ITPs it funds.