Memorandum submitted by Department for
Business, Innovation and Skills
Nearing the end of the evidence session at the
Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee on 19 January
you raised a point about prison education services:
Q115 Ian Stewart: A little anomaly that has always
niggled me is I have a prison in my constituency, and I have every
respect for that prison's education service, they are stunning
in their work with prisoners, but why should prison educators
be on less terms and conditions than mainstream educators in this
I promised to write.
Although I understand your concerns, I cannot
comment on the specifics of this situation as the Government is
not the employer of FE staff. FE colleges were established as
independent organisations following the enactment of the Further
and Higher Education Act in 1992 and as such, they are responsible
for their own terms and conditions, pay and workforce modelling.
Under the Learning and Skills Act 2000, the
Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has funding and planning responsibilities
for all post-16 education and training other than higher education.
The LSC determined aggregate contract values for offender learning
delivery in custody based on the cost of delivering efficiently
managed provision. Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS)
providers have five year contracts with the LSC which set out
volumes of delivery based on policy priorities, developed in close
co-ordination with the National Offender Management Service. These
volumes in turn determine the resource available to the OLASS
As we outlined in the 14-19 Education &
Skills White Paper 2005, the Government recognises the concern
about the pay differences between different types of provider.
This is partly driven by the overall funding gaps between the
schools and the FE sectors, which we are committed to narrowing.
We have already taken steps to narrow the gapbetween 2006
and 2008, and we expect to see this narrow further as resources
The Government has, however, no plans to impose
a national pay structure on further education colleges. We envisage
that with increased resources over time, greater flexibility over
use and a longer term funding framework, colleges should be able
to address structural barriers in their current pay arrangements.
I appreciate this may be a disappointing response
but I would stress that the Government's commitment to the further
education sector, demonstrated over recent years in a series of
reforms designed to raise professional standing of the FE workforce,
12 February 2010