Moray College financial difficulties outlined in Audit Report

MORAY COLLEGE UHI is being reported as operating under “weak financial planning and management” according to a new report by the Auditor General for Scotland (AGS).

The AGS, Caroline Gardner, has reported to the Scottish Parliament on the financial stability of three colleges in Scotland – Moray, Lews Castle and Edinburgh.

After undertaking the 2015/16 annual audit for Moray College, Ms Gardner reported that there was “weak financial planning and management arrangements at the college, which is forecasting a funding gap of £472,000 in 2016/17 and shortfalls until 2019”.

She added: “The need for the college [is] to urgently agree a recovery plan with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). It is also important that the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI), which manages the region, ensures that the college can deliver on its priorities within the resources available.”

The report reveals that Moray College received 72% of its income in 2015/16 from the Scottish Funding Council, while Lews Castle received 66% and Edinburgh 75%.

Ms Gardner said: “These colleges play an important role in their communities, delivering education for thousands of students every year and providing hundreds of jobs.

“They are also heavily reliant on public funding which can have major implications for how they manage their finances.

“Each college faces different issues but all need to take steps now to get on a firmer financial footing and strengthen their governance arrangements.”

In the report itself, which can be downloaded here, the AGS concludes: “Moray College will continue to face financial difficulties without fundamental changes to its costs and financial management arrangements.

“The college is taking steps to address its financial difficulties but as yet has to agree its recovery plan with the SFC. The organisations need to agree actions as a matter of urgency. It is important that UHI as the regional body ensures that the college is able to deliver on its priorities within the resources available.

“The College Board will also have an important role to play in monitoring the college’s progress with its agreed recovery plan. I have asked the auditor to keep the position under review.”