Chartered Institution for Further Education still supported by DfE subsidy

The Chartered Institution for Further Education is still being propped up by hundreds of thousands of pounds in government subsidy more than two years after it started accepting paying members, an FE Week Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Just eight providers have so far been granted chartered status – far short of the estimated 80 the body needs to become self-sustaining.

According to the figures received by FE Week, the CIFE received £210,067 from the Department for Education in 2017/18.

This means the government has now supported it to the tune of £1.35 million since 2013.

£1,026,867 million of this was cash funding, while a further £320,475 was in kind, for government office space used by the CIFE until mid-2016.

Plans for an institution – the brainchild of John Hayes, a former minister for FE and skills (pictured above at the inaugural admissions ceremony) – that would grant high-achieving FE providers a royal seal of approval were first announced by the now-defunct Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2012.

But it wasn’t until June 2015 that it was finally granted its royal charter, and it began accepting applications in November of the same year.

To date just eight providers have passed the CIFE’s rigorous entrance process, which requires evidence of qualities such as “an exemplary record of corporate governance”, “satisfactory financial health”, and a reputation for “honesty, openness and transparency” within the sector.

FE Week reported in May 2017 that Dudley College, Steadfast Training Ltd and Skills Group had all gained chartered status – joining existing members Hawk Training, Blackpool and the Fylde College, Bridgwater College, and Furness College.

East Riding College became the eighth member, in September 2017.

The CIFE’s chief executive Dan Wright told FE Week in May that he planned to have at least 80 members over the following two years, which would allow it to be financially self-sufficient.

The annual subscription fee for members who have achieved chartered status is £5,000, but for interested parties there is also a £3,000 non-refundable fee to have an application reviewed in the first place.

Chartered Institution for FE timeline:

  • July 2012: BIS draw up plans for a chartered institute to get a royal charter under minister John Hayes.
  • May 2013: Lord Lingfield appointed chair by minister Matt Hancock
  • July 2013: The Institution for Further Education is incorporated (company number 08625268)
  • June 2015: A royal charter is granted
  • October 2015: The Chartered Institution for Further Education is incorporated (RC000883)
  • November 2015: It opens to members
  • July 2016: The first members join – Hawk Training, Blackpool The Fylde College, and Bridgwater College
  • November 2016: Furness College joins
  • February 2017: The inaugural admissions ceremony is attended by John Hayes (pictured above)
  • May 2017: Dudley College, Steadfast training and Skills Group join
  • September 2017: East Riding College joins

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