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Making the case for merger or a federation

Institutions should give careful and early consideration to the benefits of merger or a federation, particularly how it will deliver for its key stakeholders within the changing environment for post-16 education in Scotland.


They will require a strong evidence base in the proposal itself.  Challenges to the merger or federation are likely to emerge early if the case is not clearly articulated.

The issues that should be considered include:

  • Reduced complexity of the local landscape for learners and other stakeholders
  • Delivery on government guarantees for particular groups of learners
  • Better use (value for money) from existing facilities, expertise and capabilities of institutions
  • Cost savings and efficiencies that can be achieved
  • Benefits of scale
  • Focus on front-line delivery
  • Improved provision and progression opportunities for learners
  • Breadth of core access level provision while maintaining current and agreed specialisms
  • Renewed enthusiasm and commitment of staff
  • Creating a culture supportive of change and innovation
  • Improved student engagement
  • Improved governance

Those college regions choosing to establish a federation will be expected to address all of the above with the same rigour as is expected by proposed mergers.

The LSN report, Understanding FE Mergers, noted that it is important for merger partners to develop a shared strategic vision as early as possible and that it is also important to talk in terms of creating a new college at an early stage.  This emphasizes the importance of cultural issues addressed elsewhere in this guidance.


This guidance was developed in 2012 and will be reviewed.

Your feedback is important so let us know where you have used it or how it can be improved by contacting Linda McLeod, email: