Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Skills for Logistics the Council for the Freight Sector to Close Down

Another Government Sponsored Initiative Collapses
Shipping News Feature

UK – With a sort of horrible prescience we wrote in December 2013 of the tendency for government sponsored initiatives to be prone to failure after the Skills Funding Agency closed down the National Skills Academy for Logistics when it failed to achieve its objectives to promote the supply chain industry. The article at the time set out the aims for the Skills for Logistics (SfL), the Sector Skills Council for the Freight Logistics industry and, in a detailed Q&A, illustrated the way forward as far as recruiting talent and formalising industry qualifications.

Sadly it seems that, yet again, mistakes have been made and in a statement this afternoon SfL says that its board has taken the decision to close the business and is considering placing the company into administration in order to facilitate this closure. The reason is said to be pressure placed on the business by the trustees of the pension scheme, which SfL joined following its initial set-up in 2003. SfL says that, like many similar organisations, the significant pension deficit and subsequent on-going recovery payments has placed extreme pressure on a smaller SfL business in a rapidly changing economic environment. The statement continues:

“Skills for Logistics has worked hard to exist and be effective over the last 2-3 years in the ‘new world’ of substantially reduced public funding for skills initiatives, and now being required to become 100% funded through employer projects, has struggled to both replace revenue streams and continue to fund pension recovery payments. The organisation and its business plan have remained reasonably strong, however given the reduced activity level in 2015 and obligations to the pension scheme (particularly in the light [of] a new approach by its trustees), the board felt it would be better to seek alternative options for the continuing industry skills projects. The board is therefore appointing an administrator and starting to work with our stakeholders to find a natural home for any on-going projects.”