Controversial adult funding threshold dropped to 68% – but only for Liverpool

From FE Week:

A mayoral authority has set a 68 per cent clawback threshold for its devolved adult education budget, in a split from central government.

The decision from Liverpool City Region comes after the Education and Skills Funding Agency was widely criticised for setting a 90 per cent threshold for the national AEB.

Liverpool’s move was revealed in a letter from the Association of Colleges to its members today.

Latest AoC projections indicate that the “collective forecast” for average AEB delivery now is 77 per cent, so the total clawback under the national AEB “will be £59 million” with no concessions after the ESFA ruled out business cases.

The ESFA, which itself set a 68 per cent threshold for 2019/20 allocations, has defended the 90 per cent threshold by saying it is a “fair representation of grant funded providers’ average delivery” in 2020/21.

FE Week exclusively revealed last week it was the Treasury which insisted on the 90 per cent figure, as officials argued colleges have had enough time to reorientate themselves for coronavirus.

There are eight mayoral combined authorities in England with devolved AEB which decide their own funding rules.

The Greater London Authority previously announced it would apply a 90 per cent threshold this year, the same as the ESFA. FE Week has asked if this position has changed at all, but the authority could not say at this stage owing to local elections and purdah rules.

Liverpool City Region has been approached for comment.

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