Further memorandum from the Association
of Colleges (ILA 25)
CLOSURE OF INDIVIDUAL LEARNING ACCOUNTS
1. AoC conducted a quick postal survey of
member colleges on 30 November to ascertain the effects of the
early closure on colleges.
2. 105 colleges had submitted returns by
22 January. Almost all were able to give figures for the number
of ILA account holders for whom learning had been booked in the
current academic year: the total was 48,186.
3. 75 colleges reported that they had been
unable to book learning for ILA account holders because of the
early closure of the ILA programme. Not all were able to give
figures for the numbers involved, but the total for those who
were able to quantify was 7,724.
4. 19 colleges reported that they would
suffer losses amounting to £144,845 from investment which
had been made in anticipation of ILA holders becoming enrolled.
5. 84 colleges reported that they expected
to suffer a loss of income amounting in total to £1,225,111
as a result of the early closure of the ILA programme. Colleges
generally expect to have to meet this loss of income in order
to honour commitments to students.
6. Colleges cited an extensive range of
courses on which ILA account holders had enrolled. Although computing
and information technology (including ECDL, IBT, CLAIT, internet
technology, CAD) figured prominently many others were mentioned
including administration, word processing, horticulture, garden
design, floristry, languages, photography, building crafts, engineering,
electrical installation, mathematics, open college network programmes,
hairdressing, beauty, body massage, health studies, early years,
management, teacher training, counselling.
7. Additional issues which had arisen for
colleges as a result of the early closure included:
Dealing with considerable numbers
of complaints from disenchanted students who were unaware of closure,
or who have lost an entitlement to public support as a result
of the closure or of fraud.
"Increased administrative burden
involved in sorting out problems.
Adverse publicity for providers as
well as for the ILA programme and Government; and
Loss of confidence in the campaign
to promote lifelong learning.
Resolving the problems of how to
deal with students for whom ILA support was expected but has now
Much administrative time and effort
wasted in dealing with the ILA Centre, especially in trying to
overcome the severe delays involved in accessing the ILA website
prior to the closure, in inefficiencies in dealing with applications,
and in poor communication with colleges and account holders.
Uncertainties over the nature and
timing of any replacement programme.
Some courses may be at risk in the
coming weeks because ILA account holders who will now have to
met tuition fees in full themselves will not enrol.
Achievement of college targets may
be adversely affected.
Delays in receiving payments due
in respect of valid ILA bookings.
8. AoC will be taking these issues up with
Ministers in an effort to seek a resolution of the problems which
have been created, and to ensure that in any re-launch of the
programme the weaknesses of the original design (such as the lack
of adequate mechanisms for ensuring quality assurance, probity
and value for public money, and the unnecessary complications
of the administrative system) are eliminated.
Association of Colleges