Accumulated Surplus of SFC £50Million Underspend

Ashton King made this Freedom of Information request to Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council,

Please provide all documentation, between the SFC, Scottish Government & Higher Education Institutions and Further Education Colleges regarding the re-profiling of £50million from the SFC’s HE Budget for FY 2015/16 which was to be repaid by the SFC to the Scottish Government at FY end 2016/17?

To be clear, I wish to receive copies of all information that SFC holds which details the accumulated surplus of £50Million underspend. This includes but is not limited to internal letters or memos, minutes of meetings, external letters to educational institutions, governmental letters, opinions or audit findings.

However in particular I would am requesting the documentation in which the SFC advised the Scottish Government that it had accumulated this surplus of £50Million in 2013 and how the SFC had managed to retain the alleged cumulative underspend to enable the them to use this funding pot to meet in year pressures given that due to ONS classification, the SFC cannot hold excess cash balances or reserves.

Particularly as the Scottish Government had to award additional funding to meet the financial pressures of Colleges Mergers in 2013 and 2014.

Please be aware that the SFC have stated on record that they have the ability to re-profile funding over the financial year end and that for the purposes of the financial year-end, all funds are managed together (SFC/HE/FE) and that any re-profiling of funds is a temporary movement of cash over the financial year end. The re-profiled funds are moved back to their original budget line on 1 April.

Please advise where these funds have been held, with particular consideration to be given when answering this question that after 1st April 2014, whereby Further Education Colleges due to ONS Reclassification were also unable to hold cash balances or reserves, in the same manner as the SFC.

Therefore previous to this date of 1st April 2014, please provide evidence that this accumulated surplus £50Million has been moved or re-profiled from an SFC budget at FY end to a FE/HE budget and then moved back to their original budget line on April 1st per financial year?

Post 1st April 2014 please provide evidence that this accumulated surplus £50Million has been moved or re-profiled from an SFC budget at FY end to a HE budget and then moved back to their original budget line on April 1st per Financial Year?

Yours faithfully,

Ashton King

Dear Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council,

Please acknowledge receipt if this FOI request?

Yours faithfully,

Ashton King

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ashton,
Please see attached.
Simon.

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Dear Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council's handling of my FOI request 'Accumulated Surplus of SFC £50Million Underspend'.

The response to this request is delayed. By law, you being the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council should have responded promptly and by 29 March 2017, and have now in effect broken this Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 by failing to response promptly and within the specified 20 workings days.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

Ashton King

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

1 Attachment

With reference to your email of 18 April 2017, please find attached a letter of acknowledgement.

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Sarah Bennett, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached a letter regarding your review of the FOI request
made on the 28^th February 2017.

 

Email Confidentiality Notice - This email (including any attachments to
it) is confidential and protected by copyright. If you receive this email
in error, notify us immediately by reply email, delete it, and do not make
use of, disclose or copy it. No liability is accepted for viruses and it
is your responsibility to scan any attachments. The opinions expressed
within this email are the opinions of the sender and do not necessarily
constitute those of the Scottish Funding Council.

We welcome correspondence in Gaelic and endeavour to respond in Gaelic,
acknowledging receipt within 20 working days.
---
Tha am post-dealain seo (a' gabhail a-staigh faidhle sam bith na lùib)
dìomhair agus air a dhìon le còraichean foillseachaidh. Mur robh
còiragaibh am post-dealain seo fhaighinn, cuiribh fios thugainn gun dàil
lefreagairt post-dealain, dubhaibh às e, agus na dèanaibh feum,
foillseachadh no lethbhreac dheth. Chan eil sinne cunntachail
airsonbhìorasan agus tha e an urra ribhse faidhleachan a sgrùdadh. 'S e
nabeachdan taobh a-staigh a' phost-dealain seo beachdan an neach a chuir
eagus dh'fhaodadh nach buin iad do bheachdan Comhairle Maoineachaidh na
h-Alba.

Tha sinn a’ cur fàilte air co-sgrìobhadh Gàidhlig agus nì sinn ar dìcheall
freagairt innte, le bhith a’ toirt fios- freagairt an ceann 20 latha
cosnaidh.

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

8 Attachments

Dear Mr King,

 

Please find attached a response to your request for information of 28
February 2017.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Richard Hancock

 

 

Richard Hancock

Assistant Director, Strategy | Leas-stiùiriche, Ro-innleachd

Corporate Services | Seirbheisean Corporra

 

Telephone: 0131 313 6645

Email: [email address]

 

 

Scottish Funding Council | Comhairle Maoineachaidh na h-Alba

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Dear Info,

Under FOISA, please treat this as a fresh request:

Following the award of additional funding to SFC in the 2011 spending review, it was claimed that the SFC rolled forward a larger than normal reserve from one financial year to the next.

Please provide a copy or a link to the section of the 2011 Scottish Government Spending Review that specifically shows the additional funding awarded to SFC?

Please provide any and all correspondence relating to this additional funding awarded to the SFC, that is not apparent in the disclosure you have provided.

I refer you to Question S5W-06106: Liz Smith, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 12/01/2017

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason the Scottish Funding Council reported a £50 million underspend for 2015-16.

Answered by Shirley-Anne Somerville (26/01/2017):

The £50m reported by the SFC in its reserves for 2015-16 came about because the allocation of funding to the body by the Scottish Government is made on a financial year basis, whereas the body’s spending is on an academic year basis. For this reason the SFC needs the flexibility to manage its cash flow between financial years to ensure all of its academic year funding obligations are met.

Following the award of additional funding to the SFC in the 2011 Spending Review, it rolled forward larger than normal financial year reserves. Being assured that every financial commitment to every institution had been met in full it was decided by the Scottish Government that the £50 million should come back to the government’s consolidated budget and be available to be deployed against agreed priorities.

This process was concluded as part of the Scottish Government’s Consolidated Accounts for 2015-16 as lodged with the Parliament in September.

Please supply this information in electronic format. I shall look forward to your timely response and hopefully we can resolve this without the Information commissioners intervention this time.

Yours sincerely,

Ashton King

Marcelyn Akun, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr King,

 

Please see attached, acknowledgement letter to your FOI request.

 

Regards,

 

Marcelyn Akun

Email Confidentiality Notice - This email (including any attachments to
it) is confidential and protected by copyright. If you receive this email
in error, notify us immediately by reply email, delete it, and do not make
use of, disclose or copy it. No liability is accepted for viruses and it
is your responsibility to scan any attachments. The opinions expressed
within this email are the opinions of the sender and do not necessarily
constitute those of the Scottish Funding Council.

We welcome correspondence in Gaelic and endeavour to respond in Gaelic,
acknowledging receipt within 20 working days.
---
Tha am post-dealain seo (a' gabhail a-staigh faidhle sam bith na lùib)
dìomhair agus air a dhìon le còraichean foillseachaidh. Mur robh
còiragaibh am post-dealain seo fhaighinn, cuiribh fios thugainn gun dàil
lefreagairt post-dealain, dubhaibh às e, agus na dèanaibh feum,
foillseachadh no lethbhreac dheth. Chan eil sinne cunntachail
airsonbhìorasan agus tha e an urra ribhse faidhleachan a sgrùdadh. 'S e
nabeachdan taobh a-staigh a' phost-dealain seo beachdan an neach a chuir
eagus dh'fhaodadh nach buin iad do bheachdan Comhairle Maoineachaidh na
h-Alba.

Tha sinn a’ cur fàilte air co-sgrìobhadh Gàidhlig agus nì sinn ar dìcheall
freagairt innte, le bhith a’ toirt fios- freagairt an ceann 20 latha
cosnaidh.

Dear Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council's handling of my FOI request 'Accumulated Surplus of SFC £50Million Underspend'.

Having re read the disclosure given I note that you have not provided a SFHEFC overall budget allocation for 2014/15. Please now supply of copy of the ministerial letter of guidance and relevant information that you provided for 2013/14 and 2015/16.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

Ashton King

Dear Marcelyn Akun,

To clarify my request I quote the following to ascertain that fact that a letter of guidance for this year was issued to the SFC.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning issues the SFC with a ‘letter of guidance’, which sets out the Scottish Government’s strategic objectives for the year. The letter of guidance specifies what the Scottish Government expects colleges to achieve in that year and what support the SFC will provide. In the 2014-15 letter of guidance, for example, the Cabinet Secretary highlighted the SFC's expected role in responding to the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce.

Please supply of copy of this letter of guidance for 2014-15?

Yours sincerely,

Ashton King

Marcelyn Akun, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

Thank you for your email. I am not in the office and my emails will not be
checked. I will return on 19 September 2017.

 

I will respond to you as soon as possible upon my return. If your query is
urgent, please contact the office on [SFC or the Scottish Funding Council request email]

 

Marcelyn

 

 

Tapadh leibh airson a’ phuist-d agaibh. Chan eil mi anns an oifis agus cha
tèid na puist-dhealain agam a leughadh an-dràsta. Tillidh mi air
19/09/2017.

 

Bheir mi freagairt dhuibh cho luath ’s as urrainn dhomh nuair a thilleas
mi. Ma bhios a’ chùis ag iarraidh cabhag, cuiribh fios gun oifis air
[SFC or the Scottish Funding Council request email] fòn:

 

Marcelyn

Email Confidentiality Notice - This email (including any attachments to
it) is confidential and protected by copyright. If you receive this email
in error, notify us immediately by reply email, delete it, and do not make
use of, disclose or copy it. No liability is accepted for viruses and it
is your responsibility to scan any attachments. The opinions expressed
within this email are the opinions of the sender and do not necessarily
constitute those of the Scottish Funding Council.

We welcome correspondence in Gaelic and endeavour to respond in Gaelic,
acknowledging receipt within 20 working days.
---
Tha am post-dealain seo (a' gabhail a-staigh faidhle sam bith na lùib)
dìomhair agus air a dhìon le còraichean foillseachaidh. Mur robh
còiragaibh am post-dealain seo fhaighinn, cuiribh fios thugainn gun dàil
lefreagairt post-dealain, dubhaibh às e, agus na dèanaibh feum,
foillseachadh no lethbhreac dheth. Chan eil sinne cunntachail
airsonbhìorasan agus tha e an urra ribhse faidhleachan a sgrùdadh. 'S e
nabeachdan taobh a-staigh a' phost-dealain seo beachdan an neach a chuir
eagus dh'fhaodadh nach buin iad do bheachdan Comhairle Maoineachaidh na
h-Alba.

Tha sinn a’ cur fàilte air co-sgrìobhadh Gàidhlig agus nì sinn ar dìcheall
freagairt innte, le bhith a’ toirt fios- freagairt an ceann 20 latha
cosnaidh.

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

2 Attachments

Hi Ashton,

In regards to your request for an internal review. I am not clear as to what aspect of our initial response was not handled properly that you are dis-satisfied with according to FOISA.

To clarify, would this rather be a request for additional information? Please attached our Final Response Letter and Document for your reference.

Can you also clarify specifically what you are requesting with this phrase in your request email:

''relevant information that you provided for 2013/14 and 2015/16''

Kind regards,

Marcelyn

Dear Info,

I requested all information regarding re-profiling and accumulated surplus £50m.

You provided a Scottish Governance Letter of guidance for 2015/16 but failed to provide the letter of guidance for 2014/15.

This is not a new request.

Yours sincerely,

Ashton King

Dear Info,

Additionally to clarify, the link that was provided in your covering letter requires a username and password. Therefore I am unable to access this.

Please provide this information in an electronic format.

Regarding the financial information previously mentioned, there is no letter of guidance to SFC or financial details in relation to 2014/15. Only 2013/14 & 2015/16, there is a year of information missing.

Please now supply this in electronic format?

Yours sincerely,

Ashton King

Marcelyn Akun, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr King,

 

Please find attached, acknowledgement letter to your FOISA466 review
request.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Marcelyn Akun

Interim Information Compliance Officer

Oifigear Rianachd Fiosrachaidh & Tèarainteachd

Scottish Funding Council

Apex 2

97 Haymarket Terrace

Edinburgh

EH12 5HD

 

Email Confidentiality Notice - This email (including any attachments to
it) is confidential and protected by copyright. If you receive this email
in error, notify us immediately by reply email, delete it, and do not make
use of, disclose or copy it. No liability is accepted for viruses and it
is your responsibility to scan any attachments. The opinions expressed
within this email are the opinions of the sender and do not necessarily
constitute those of the Scottish Funding Council.

We welcome correspondence in Gaelic and endeavour to respond in Gaelic,
acknowledging receipt within 20 working days.
---
Tha am post-dealain seo (a' gabhail a-staigh faidhle sam bith na lùib)
dìomhair agus air a dhìon le còraichean foillseachaidh. Mur robh
còiragaibh am post-dealain seo fhaighinn, cuiribh fios thugainn gun dàil
lefreagairt post-dealain, dubhaibh às e, agus na dèanaibh feum,
foillseachadh no lethbhreac dheth. Chan eil sinne cunntachail
airsonbhìorasan agus tha e an urra ribhse faidhleachan a sgrùdadh. 'S e
nabeachdan taobh a-staigh a' phost-dealain seo beachdan an neach a chuir
eagus dh'fhaodadh nach buin iad do bheachdan Comhairle Maoineachaidh na
h-Alba.

Tha sinn a’ cur fàilte air co-sgrìobhadh Gàidhlig agus nì sinn ar dìcheall
freagairt innte, le bhith a’ toirt fios- freagairt an ceann 20 latha
cosnaidh.

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

Dear Mr King,

Thank you for your clarification email received on 19 September 2017 with additional request. Please note, that your additional request has been noted and our Statutory Response Date will be within 20 working days from the date any additional request was received.

Your sincerely,

Marcelyn Akun

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

2 Attachments

Please find attached a response to your request for information.

 

 

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

2 Attachments

Please find attached, a response to your request for a review.

 

 

Dear Info,

Under FOISA, please supply evidence to show that the full £50 accumulated surplus was drawn down from SFC to Scottish Government in March 2016.

If not please advise the amount that was actually drawn down from SFC to Scottish Government in March 2016?

Please supply evidence of this transaction?

Please also supply any and all correspondence between SFC and Scottish Government concerning this £50m which was to be vired/re-profiled from HE funds at SFC to Scottish Government from 1st January 2016 until the date the full £50m was re-profiled to Scottish Government?

Please supply in electronic format.
Yours sincerely,

Ashton King

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

1 Attachment

Pleases find attached an acknowledgement of your request for information.

 

Dear Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council's handling of my FOI request 'Accumulated Surplus of SFC £50Million Underspend'.

I refer to my request original request regarding the accumulated surplus of SFC underspend: Having studied this information I have found the following:

Overall Grant in Aid for HE is as follows
FY 12-13 £1,667,573,726,
FY 13-14 £1,667,443,981,
FY 14-15 £1,659,052,530
FY 15-16 £1,618,887,470

SFC get money from SG on Financial year.

Scottish Government have claimed more money being spent year on year on education.

Those figures show reduction year on year. And nowhere has there been a surplus of funds built up over the years.

Per the Spending Review - The running costs budget was cut in 2011 from £8.4m to £7.9m -

Please now provide recorded information evidencing the accumulated surplus £50Million Under spend,

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

Ashton King

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached, a letter in response to your request for a review.

 

 

mroDear Info,

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify, and I am merely giving you my thought process here, I don't understand where the accumulated surplus of £50m has come from. SFC have received less funding year on year since the 2011 spending review, and I would be grateful if you could give me an explanation in lay mans terms, and would be quite happy then.

Yours sincerely,

Ashton King

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

6 Attachments

Dear Mr King,

 

Thank you for your response. I will assume from your email that you are
now submitting an enquiry to us about the £50 million issue, and not a
request for a review of your FOISA request of 6 September 2017. If that is
not the case, please let me know. In the meantime, I will ask one of my
colleagues to produce a note for you which explains how SFC accumulated a
surplus of £50 million.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Richard Hancock

 

 

Richard Hancock

Assistant Director, Strategy | Leas-stiùiriche, Ro-innleachd

Corporate Services | Seirbheisean Corporra

 

Telephone: 0131 313 6645

Email: [email address]

 

 

Scottish Funding Council | Comhairle Maoineachaidh na h-Alba

[1]SFC logo

[2]Register on our website to personalise your homepage and choose the
information you want to receive from us.

Follow Us:   [3]Twitter  [4]RSS  [5]LinkedIn  [6]YouTube  [7]Google+  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Info, Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council

3 Attachments

Please find attached a response to your request for information and two
accompanying annexes.

 

 

show quoted sections