Learning and Skills Network goes into administration

Education charity's income, which came mainly from government contracts, fell sharply in the past two years

Ian Oakley-Smith, joint administrator, director and head of charity advisory at PwC
Ian Oakley-Smith, joint administrator, director and head of charity advisory at PwC

An education charity that employs 117 staff has gone into administration.

The Learning and Skills Network, which had annual income of £45m as recently as 2006/07, relied heavily on government contracts for its income.

The organisation, which was established as a charity in 2006, provides management and leadership training across the public and private sectors.

It also ran workforce development programmes on behalf of various government departments and agencies, including the Department for Education.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has been appointed joint administrators, the network’s income had fallen to about £13m in 2010/11.

It currently operates five businesses and employs 48 staff at its London head office, 26 in Cambridge, 16 in Olney, near Milton Keynes, 14 in Oxford and 13 in Belfast.

It acquired three new businesses at a cost of £8.87m as part of a new financial strategy in 2009.

David Hurst, joint administrator and director at PwC, said the charity had suffered a "dramatic decline in contract income since 2009".

"As a result of the decline in income and significant pension liabilities within the charity, the trustees concluded that they were unable to continue and have placed the charity into administration," he said.

"Our immediate priority is to seek buyers for the successful businesses within the charity, to enable their long-term survival, preserve jobs and continue supporting customers and students. We would encourage any interested parties to contact us as a matter of urgency."

Ian Oakley-Smith, joint administrator, director and head of charity advisory at PwC said it had seen a "marked increase" in approaches from "financially distressed charities" in recent weeks and months due to the impact of cuts in government funding.

According to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, employment and training charities are most vulnerable to cuts in public funding because they derive 70 per cent of their income from this source.

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