DACE Makes A £1.5m Profit – And SMG Want To Shut It Down

A recent Freedom of Information request has revealed that DACE:

  • turns over £5.2 million
  • contributes to central University overheads £1,482,000, up a quarter of a million or 20% on the previous year (AND that’s achieved during a recession)

This is a contribution margin across the total of 29%.  In other words, for every £100 of income DACE returns £29 to the University to cover central costs of all kinds.

Management say that they could save money if they cut ANY area of activity.  So to decide what areas to cut they are judging departments on their alignment with the University’s strategic plan: a plan which was developed over an 18 month consultation period, but the cuts are only given a consultation period of “3 months.”

DACE is a classic marginal cost activity.  There are very few central overhead costs that exist only because DACE exists, they would mostly have to exist anyway.  So DACE benefits the University much more by existing than it could save them by being shut.  Shut DACE and the central overhead is just as large, but with less income coming in to cover it.

Given that DACE has already increased its contribution by £250,000 in a single year, it is surely reasonable to believe that over a 5 year business plan it could contribute more, up to the levels likely to be achieved by closure but with far less damage to amenity and public good.

EDITORIAL NOTE 26/3/11:  At the consultation meeting with students on the evening of 24th March, Prof. Coton dismissed the above figures as ‘incorrect.’  We have rechecked and sought financial advice from experts within the DACE student body who stand by the figures we have published.  You can see for yourself – this information is now freely available.

If the University gives us the true figures we will publish them here.  But if they are not true, why did the University provide them in response to an FOI request in the first place?

In the interest of openness and transparency we have written to Prof. Coton to invite him to comment directly on our site.

EDITORIAL NOTE 29/3/11: Following comments from Prof Coton, chair of the Open Programmes’ consultation panel, that the financial figures quoted here are incorrect we contacted the panel for more accurate data.  Pointing out that this was the University’s own data supplied under Freedom of Information.  Here is their response:

“The figures released through the Freedom of Information request describe the income and direct expenditure attributed to the former Department of Adult and Continuing Education (then part of the Faculty of Education) as a whole.  This includes research activity, teaching carried out by members of the then department and other activities.  The consultation exercise is concerned solely with the Open Programme which is a subset of the activities of the previous DACE.  Unfortunately we do not have the financial data solely relating to the Open Programme.”

In the light of this reply from the Consultation Panel we stand by our figures on this site.  And ask, On what basis is the closure of the Open Programmes being proposed, if Management don’t know what they cost, what income they attract, or what saving any closure might yield?

If this were a case in a court of law the judge would have dismissed the case by now.  We trust Prof Coton will take the above into consideration when coming to a decision and  abandon this ludicrous and specious threat to a valuable Glasgow institution.

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About savedace

Current and former students of the Department of Adult and Continuing Education, University of Glasgow, fighting to keep access to varied, high quality education available to Glasgow
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One Response to DACE Makes A £1.5m Profit – And SMG Want To Shut It Down

  1. Rosemary Wilkinson says:

    Long experience has taught me that accountants can make figures give almost any desired answer and that university management look at only the bottom line – unless of course it is a pet project.
    It saddens but does not surprise me that they have taken this route. One area where we are vulnerable is the lack of ethnic minorities at the (well-attended) consultation meetings.
    A possible route might be to make DACE an independent cost centre, paying its own staff from its own budget, ‘buying’ teaching from its own budget, renting room space and paying a fixed sum for ‘services’ such as payroll. There might be some difficulties over contracts and items such as redundancy and pension liability and the use of the University name, accreditation of appropriate courses etc would need an appropriately knowledgable negotiator since I feel that we could not necessarily assume ‘good faith’ on the University side. Some of the collaborations with academic departments may have to be re-negotiated but I think this route would be worth exploring if only as ‘Plan B’ or ‘Plan C’

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