The redundancy announcement is the result of changes to student finance service delivery for English students attending English universities, between the Student Loans Company (SLC) and the UK Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and is therefore a matter for the UK Government not the Scottish Government.
However, whilst the Scottish Government has no powers to intervene, I met with the Chief Executive of the SLC on the evening prior to the redundancy announcement being made public. We discussed the help the government could provide, and I gave a commitment that the government would assist the SLC in managing this difficult situation.
At an early stage my officials discussed PACE support with the SLC’s management – PACE is our national strategic partnership framework for responding to redundancy situations. PACE is working in partnership with the SLC’s outplacement agency to provide a wide range of support to SLC personnel including benefits information, career planning, access to government funded training, financial advice and long term support.
I am regularly updated by my officials on the situation and met the chief executive again on 17 March 2010 for an update on the voluntary redundancy programme.