Adult education

Bankrupt council won’t lose adult education service

The city council is the second largest recipient of AEB funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority

The city council is the second largest recipient of AEB funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority

15 Sep 2023, 16:33

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Adult education services at Birmingham City Council are unlikely to be affected by the authority’s strict new controls on spending, imposed after the council effectively declared bankruptcy.

City Councillors at the beleaguered local authority have been told they must agree to immediately stop all non-essential spending, reduce running costs and not commit to new expenditure.

The council faces an £87 million black hole in its budget as it struggles to settle a historic equal pay liability worth up to £760 million. As a result, officials issued a section 114 notice last week, which has widely been described as the local authority effectively declaring bankruptcy.

However, the notice does not affect pre-existing contracts.

A spokesperson for the council said they were unable to comment specifically on the section 114 notice, but confirmed the council has already signed an adult education contract with the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The city council is the second largest recipient of adult education budget grant funding from the combined authority, after South and City College Birmingham, worth £10.2 million.

Its adult education offer includes free and subsidised courses in English, math, ESOL, computer skills, languages, social care and employability skills. It achieved a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted in 2019 and trains around 13,000 students.

The service has continued to promote its courses and advertise for staff vacancies since the section 114 notice was filed.

A WMCA spokesperson said: “We are aware the council has made a section 114 notice. We are closely monitoring and assessing the situation as it develops and are in regular contact with our partners.”

Birmingham City Council is not the first local authority to have filed a section 114 notice and others, such as Nottingham and Surrey Heath, have warned that spiralling deficits could lead them to follow suit.

Other councils such as Croydon, Thurrock, Woking, Northamptonshire and Hackney have previously issued section 114 notices.

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