Colleges: Tripartite Alignment Group minutes - 13 October 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 13 October 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Stuart Greig (Chair), Scottish Government
  • Liz Hawkins, Scottish Government
  • Fraser Syme, Scottish Government
  • Lynne Raeside, Scottish Funding Council
  • Richard Maconachie, Scottish Funding Council
  • Andy Witty, Scotland Colleges
  •  Joanna Campbell (Dumfries & Galloway College), Scotland Colleges
  • Angus Campbell (UHI), Scotland Colleges

Items and actions

Updates on the actions from the previous meeting

  • CS updates:
    • CS are collating information on assets for disposal. An update will be shared with the group. (Note discuss on asset disposal below)
    • CS Finance Directors are considering the optimum split between individual college and sector college from sale proceeds. An update will be shared with the group.
    • CS are raising the profile of this group through a number of forums such as the College Principals Group, College Chairs Group and various committees
  • SFC are working with their IT section to establish a Sharepoint site


CS are progressing a timeline of critical points in the college financial and curriculum planning year which can be overlaid with SFC and SG timelines. This will help inform other pieces of work.


SG will send timeline to CS week commencing 16 October. SFC will then add their material with the aim of a completed timeline covering interests of all parties within the next three weeks. Once ready it will be added to the Sharepoint site.

Asset disposals

  • SG spoke to DfE to get a better understanding of the flexible approach in England. SG legal and finance colleagues have advised the setup in England cannot be replicated in Scotland due to the fiscal framework rules and consolidated budgeting guidance
  • one potential solution is to bring college assets within SG’s Infrastructure and Investment Plan
  • SG confirmed that there is a legal framework in place to ensure that receipts would not be used outside of the college sector


  • CS to reframe the ask of colleges in identifying unused assets and create a register of assets
  • SFC will provide CS with the fields of information needed from colleges in identifying unused assets
  • SG will put the SFC in touch with Infrastructure Investment colleagues

Credit Flexibility working group

CS are in the process of securing a date for the first meeting of the group.

Cost methodology

SFC is working on a paper for the Alignment group. Their pilot work with one college is ongoing. SFC noted that their predecessor organisation conducted a similar exercise in 2004 and although it was not completed, there will be useful learning to take from it. SFC explained that the methodology is to help colleges understand and plan their costs using a consistent methodology but they would expect there to be significant regional variation.


SFC to share the paper with the group.

Future of the Tripartite Alignment Group

  • the Minister is keen to keep this group live and retain a role in the group
  • the group discussed the characteristics of a great college in 5 years time in an urban, rural and specialist setting - this can be discussed at the next meeting
  • a clear comms plan for the group would be helpful


SG to scope out a thought piece on the comms plan and share with the group.

Next meeting



Tripartite Alignment Group

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