Independent review calls for scrapping of compulsory fees for college lecturers
UCU today welcomed the news that staff in further education colleges would no longer be forced to pay a fee to do their job. An independent panel said the Institute for Learning (IfL) could not remain a compulsory body and money should be refunded to staff who had paid to join.
Membership of the IfL is currently compulsory for teachers in adult and further education, but up until this year the fee was picked up by the government. In September, members of UCU voted overwhelmingly to boycott the IfL after membership became compulsory.
That action, coupled with the threat of legal action, prompted further education minister John Hayes to announce an independent review into professionalism in the sector in England. As well as welcoming the news that IfL membership is no longer compulsory, the union said it was looking forward to playing a full role in the wider review of professionalism.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We are pleased that the panel has recognised compulsory membership of the IfL is a bad move. We are also delighted that the relatively small number of people who did pay the fee will now be reimbursed.
'Boycotting the IfL was not a decision UCU members took lightly, but to be effective as a professional body it must enjoy the confidence of the majority of practitioners. Today's recommendations are a vindication of the members' boycott and we look forward to playing a full part in the review of professionalism in further education.'
The full report can be found the department for business, innovation and skills website
The report says: 'The panel recommends that, as already planned, public funding to the IfL should come to an end in the financial year 2012-2013. When combined with our recommendation to revoke the 2007 Regulations, this advice will restore the IfL to its original status as a private membership body, dependent on voluntary subscriptions in return for services.'