Humberside

Hull College criticised over £10m budget deficit

Hull College
Image caption Hull College has three main centres in Hull, Goole and Harrogate

Hull College has been criticised over its financial management after racking up a £10m budget deficit.

A report by the Further Education Commissioner revealed the debt had been accumulated since 2012 and a further £1m loss was expected this year.

It said there were "concerns at all levels of the organisation" and its financial health had "fallen from good in 2012/13 to inadequate in 2015/16".

The college said it was working to make improvements.

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Robert Halfon wrote to the college to say there was concern "that the college has had significant failures in financial management. Leadership and governance needs to improve in this respect".

The FE Commissioner said the college, which has three main centres, in Hull, Goole and Harrogate, lacked "strategic vision and strong leadership", which was "frustrating and demotivating for staff".

The report also stated the college had "placed a strain on its cash resources" and needed "a significant level" of financial help from the government.

Staff cost 'unaffordable'

"The college's financial strategy has largely been to make year-on-year cuts to staffing levels and to secure capital receipts from asset sales.

"Despite a number of years of staff cuts... the college's staff costs are high, at around 78% of income for 2015/16 and a forecast 72% for 2016/17. (As a comparator, the Area Review benchmark is 60% to 65%).

"This level of cost is unaffordable for the college," it said.

In a statement, Hull College said: "The corporation and leadership team is working with the FE commissioner to put in place a comprehensive and effective action plan to secure the necessary improvement while developing a new transformational strategic plan with staff and key stakeholders focused on providing technical education and training which is highly responsive to employer needs locally, regionally and nationally."

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