UNISON welcomes return of further education to public sector

ONS decision means that senior leaders will have to justify big pay awards

Further education college windows with banners

UNISON has welcomed the announcement from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that further education institutions are to be reclassified as public sector rather than private.

Among other ramifications, this means that colleges and their subsidiaries in England will need to adhere to Treasury guidance on senior pay.

Colleges that want to appoint to posts paying £150,000 or more and/or performance related pay of over £17,500 will have to obtain clearance before such roles can be advertised advertised.

Leigh Powell, UNISON national officer for education and children’s services, welcomed this news.

“Those who spend public money should be accountable for how they spend that money and this decision will strengthen this,” she said.

“The further education sector has been subjected to market conditions for too long. This has led to a deterioration in the quality of education that learners of all ages receive.

“Many colleges will not be happy with the decision – particularly highly-paid principals who will now have to justify their large pay packets”.

Ms Powell added: “The next step is to re-establish proper national pay bargaining in the sector to address the years of low pay that has seen pay in further education colleges fall by approximately 35% since 2010, leading to the current recruitment crisis”.