The National Skills Academy Logistics has been put into liquidation by its National Employer Board, following what it describes as protracted negotiations with the Skills Funding Agency.
The NSAL, which is governed by a NEB, was established to help employers meet legislative requirements and to develop training courses. But the NEB alleges that the SFA strung it along, delaying the decision to pull out.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock
The NSAL says the Skills Funding Agency was unhappy with the way that its executive team ran the Academy, but it invited the NEB to resubmit an employer backed business plan in March, so as to continue the NSAL.
The NEB carried out a lot of work, supported by Skills for Logistics, to reshape the Academy, while working to continue with existing operations.
Through this process, the NEB says that the SFA continually missed deadlines in terms of decisions and responses, which dragged out the process, wasting time and money, despite continued expressions of support and substantial new business prospects.
“The SFA then changed their minds, twice, before finally confirming this week (beginning 25 November 2013), that there were no further funds available. There is no other alternative but to put the Academy into liquidation,” said the NEB today.
“The NEB, as a group of unpaid volunteers, have been let down by the SFA and we are unhappy with the way we have been treated. We strongly believe that the NSAL experience should be taken as a lesson to other employers who give their time to government based initiatives on a free and voluntary basis.”
The NSAL was established in 2011 and funded by the SFA, a partner of the government’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills, until August 2013, along with business matched contributions from employers.
Following the liquidation, suppliers such as Futura Rec2Rec say they have been left out of pocket, as the Government’s backing via the SFA didn’t carry financial security.
“The Academy’s website claimed that it was a partnership with Government. I feel we were completely misled,” said Bernie Wilcox, chairman of Futura Rec2Rec and supplier to NSAL. “Being Government funded is no guarantee of anything.”
In a letter to Wilcox, Matthew Hancock MP, minister for skills and enterprise at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, said: “The NSAL traded by selling products and services to employers and training providers in the logistics sector. As a limited company, NSAL has always been wholly responsible for its financial matters…
“We have considered the position very carefully, and have concluded that neither the Agency nor the Department has a legal obligation to make any further payments in relation to the NSAL.”