Section 3: SFC Assessment
3.1 In order to assess the robustness of the governance and financial management at the College, the SFC asked its Further Education Development ( FED) group and Education Scotland to provide it with evidence by which it could assess the College against the fundable body criteria.
3.2 The FED reported to the SFC in July and August 2013 and identified areas of significant weakness in governance and made substantial recommendations for improvement. By October 2016, significant progress had been made, but some of the recommendations remained outstanding. Following an internal audit review in March 2017, further progress was made against the recommendations.
3.3 The SFC considered a paper in September 2017 which recommended that the College be assigned to UHI following confirmation that all remaining outstanding matters had been addressed. The paper set out the SFC Chief Executive’s assessment of governance arrangements at the College with a view to the College being granted assigned college status. The paper also included a table of criteria which the SFC must consider in relation to approving additions to the list of fundable bodies, or before recommending assignation of a college to its RSB. The table includes sources which evidence the institution’s readiness for this. The full SFC paper is available online: http://www.sfc.ac.uk/web/FILES/councilpapers_22092017/SFC17_80_Confirmation_of_assigned_college_status_Argyll_College.pdf
3.4 UHI’s internal audit service carried out a review of the College’s governance structures and processes against the Code of Good Governance. UHI has confirmed that apart from one matter that will be addressed when the College is assigned to UHI, and another that will be addressed as part of the completion of the College’s annual accounts later this year, the College is compliant with the Code.
3.5 All recommendations for improvement have now been met. On 29 March 2018, the SFC wrote to the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science to propose the assignation of the College to UHI.
Education Scotland Review
3.6 Until the College is assigned, North Highland College UHI retains overall responsibility for the quality assurance of SFC funded provision delivered by the College. Over a number of years responsibility for aspects of quality management has been devolved to the College following the development of its own policies and procedures.
3.7 Education Scotland reported to the SFC in July and August 2013 and made 12 recommendations for improving the College’s arrangements in relation to learning and teaching. Following an annual engagement visit conducted by Education Scotland, feedback was provided to the College on 3 rd March 2016 with SMT, Chair of Board of Management and the Outcome Agreement Manager in attendance. Education Scotland has no major concerns regarding the quality of provision within the College. They felt significant progress had been made and worked with the College throughout the following year.