To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Skills Funding Agency took to ensure that the proposed transfer of Newton Rigg assets to Askham Bryan College in 2011 complied with Cabinet Office guidelines for the disposal of public assets, and specifically the appointment of a manager to supervise the contract.
Newton Rigg is not a public asset, having previously been acquired by the University of Cumbria from the University of Central Lancashire and then transferred to Askham Bryan College in 2011. The transfer of Newton Rigg was therefore not subject to Cabinet Office guidelines.
However, following the decision by the University of Cumbria in 2010 to cease delivering the provision of further education funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the Young People’s Learning Agency, the SFA led on an open and competitive procurement process, in accordance with Part B of Schedule 3 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, to secure an alternative provider or providers for the delivery of arts provision in Carlisle and predominately land-based provision at Newton Rigg. As a result of this competition, the funding for students studying further education at the University’s Brampton Road building was transferred to Carlisle College, and the funding for students studying further education at Newton Rigg, together with the relevant further education assets owned by the University of Cumbria at Newton Rigg, were transferred to Askham Bryan College. The procurement was subject to a review by Cabinet Office in 2011 and its findings are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/61795/MYSTERY-SHOPPER-CASE-PUBLICATION-JULY-2012.pdf.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency and its predecessor organisations assign individual case managers to each further education provider who hold funding agreements and contracts to deliver publicly funded education and training. Case managers are then responsible for managing the relationship between government and individual further education providers.