Colleges: Tripartite Alignment Group minutes - 24 August 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 24 August 2023.


Attendees and apologies

  • Stuart Greig (Chair), Scottish Government
  • Jess Dolan, Scottish Government
  • Andrew Mott, Scottish Government 
  • Liz Hawkins, Scottish Government
  • Fraser Syme, Scottish Government
  • Lynne Raeside, Scottish Funding Council
  • Martin Boyle, Scottish Funding Council
  • Richard Maconachie, Scottish Funding Council
  • Andy Witty, Colleges Scotland
  • Simon Hewitt (Dundee & Angus College), Colleges Scotland
  • Alan Williamson (Edinburgh College), Colleges Scotland

Items and actions

Terms of Reference (ToR)

Brief discussion on the ToR and in discussion, points were made about the short lifespan of the group meaning it is important to focus on ‘urgent pressures’, and that it is important the work of this group doesn’t duplicate other groups’ work.

College asset disposals

Discussion about the importance of the problems with college asset disposals being clearly defined, and that as public bodies there are issues such as SPFM and the ability to carry money between years. It would be useful to understand the number of assets across the sector not in use and also the UK Government position on this issue.


  • the SFC will reach out to the finance directors network to try and get a clearer picture of the number of assets across the sector currently not in use.
  • the SFC will share their draft disposals guidance with SG.
  • SG will find out the latest from the Department of Education and will circulate around the group.

Development of methodology for establishing the true cost of teaching in colleges

In universities there is a long-established formula for the cost of teaching delivery, combining other costs as well (TRAC), and this group should attempt to establish a methodology to determine the equivalent in colleges.  This can then be utilised to better understand inconsistencies in funding in both settings – e.g. comparisons across on HNC/D delivered in different settings, and/or first year(s) of university courses and HND in colleges.


  • SFC to produce either a proposition or a fleshed out outline of what work is being done currently and how those link up.
  • Colleges Scotland to provide a list of ‘like-for-like’ HNC/D courses.
  • SFC to work with CS to create framework around the credit guidance and provide an update at the meeting next week with the Minister.


Tripartite Alignment Group

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