What’s the future for public sector organisations? One thing is for sure. It isn’t going to look like it does today. Like every other bit of government you need to do more with less. Devolution is on everyone’s agenda. You are going to need to work with others to provide integrated services. So you will have to work in different ways on different things with different people. At KPMG, our brightest people are reimagining public services, and the pages below are sharing that thinking for education. Intended as a conversation-starter, we want to know what you think of our ideas as we work together to reform the public sector.
The education and training landscape has changed progressively over the last 25 years with the provider base gaining more autonomy through decentralisation, whether post-92 higher education institutions, further education and sixth form colleges, or more recently academy schools.
More recently we have seen growth in private sector providers and a continued push to put funding in the hands of the customer (whether the learner – through loans – or the employer, via the impending Apprenticeship Levy). On top of this, devolution will shake the education and training landscape up dramatically.
Whilst decentralisation has provided numerous benefits over the years, it has also led to both delivery overlaps and gaps where there ought to be provision. Meanwhile, colleges have come under serious financial pressure from funding cuts.
The government’s area-based reviews of provision primarily seek to create “fewer, often larger, more resilient and efficient providers”. However, we believe a holistic approach is needed to deliver not just on this one front, but on three: a high-quality education and training system; one that meets community, business and learner needs; and one that is financially sustainable.
Our experience suggests that there will be no single one-size-fits-all solution to this conundrum for each college. The right answer depends very much on the individual college’s situation, what’s happening in their region, what their communities and local employers need and what learners want.
To provide some food for thought we have asked KPMG professionals “What is the single best survival strategy for a further education institution?” Each has its own merits and no single one is the “right” answer. Each needs to be weighed up according to local conditions.