A charity with more than 25 years experience in the education sector has been placed into administration.

Ian Oakley-Smith, David Hurst and Karen Dukes of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were appointed joint administrators of Learning and Skills Network (LSN) on Thursday.

The charity, with a turnover of around £13 million for 2010/11,  employs 117 staff and is based in London (48 employees), with offices also in Oxford (14 employees), Olney (16 employees), Cambridge (26 employees) and Belfast (13 employees).

It is not known at this time whether those jobs are secure.

It operates five separate businesses: Technology for Learning, National Extension College, Education, Skills and Research, Development Services, Learning and Skills Development Agency (Northern Ireland)/Learning and Skills Network.

David Hurst, joint administrator and director at PwC, said: “The charity operates a number of businesses and has suffered a dramatic decline in contract income since 2009 with its funded programmes diminished due primarily to the cuts in government spending.

“As a result of the decline in income and significant pension liabilities within the charity, the trustees concluded that they were unable to continue and have placed the charity into administration.”

He also said that buyers are now being sought.

“Our immediate priority is to seek buyers for the successful businesses within the charity, to enable their long term survival, preserve jobs and continue supporting customers and students.

“We would encourage any interested parties to contact us as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Ian Oakley-Smith, joint administrator, director and head of charity advisory at PwC, said: “There has been a marked increase in the number of financially distressed charities approaching us for advice and assistance in recent weeks and months as the Spending Review begins to impact those charities reliant on government support.

“Learning and Skills Network has over 25 years experience of high quality delivery in the education sector.

“It is an organisation which has excellent relationships across all levels within the sector, previously working to deliver large scale projects and innovative solutions for clients including the UK Government and its agencies, FE institutions and large private sector clients.”

He added: “It appears that there is a good deal of interest in a number of Learning and Skills Network’s activities and we are hopeful that they will be able to continue under different ownership.”

FE Week has approached LSN for comment, but no one was available at the time of publication.



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6 Comments

  1. john smith

    I am not surprised that they have gone burst!. One of the worst managed charities. Imagine acquiring a company worth £1M for £10M. Their days were numbered when they started making decisions purely in the short term. Where is John Stone?… I presume enjoying some winter sun!

    • Bernie Boddington

      Is John Smith a pseudonym? There are many thriving and viable parts of the business. At a time when staff at LSN are clearly vulnerable your exlamation mark!! laden message!!! and lack of empathy is unappreciated!!! 🙁

  2. Dave Jones!

    LSN were unable to compete in the modern world – they were too used to having everything paid for by the gov’ so when budgets were cut they were left in a state of panic!

    They had £30M in the bank dec 2009 then went on a ridiculous spending spree to satisfy the charities commission. “£30M is too much for a charity to be sat on” – they spent and spent and spent buying up small L&D practices. Then they handcuffed these acquisitions, snubbing ideas and throwing coldwater over new ways of working and fresh ideas; ideas that had kept these small companies a-float until they were bought out by LSN.

    LSN is ruined and now too are those who were acquired. Poorly managed and an incompetent senior team is to blame.

    John Stone should actually be ashamed of himself. A leader with no leadership skills.

    25 years of knowledge gone to the wind…

  3. Mike Taylor

    The culprits responsible for this debacle are to be found on Linkedin publicly boasting about their roles in “strategy, governance and a multi-million pound transformation” at LSN.
    Indeed.
    I wonder if they are going to retract their statements in the light of recent events?

  4. Susan Baker

    Those responsible “retired” leaving the legacy of their reckless spending. They should have listened to the concerns and advice of staff and managers instead of continuing on their arrogant testosterone fuelled spending spree.