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MCA Cooper Associates
MCA Cooper Associates MCA Cooper Associates MCA Cooper Associates MCA Cooper Associates
We are an independent organisation specialising in further education colleges and Government funded training providers throughout the UK on a range of financial management and general management issues.
MCA Merger/Reorganisation Support – How Can We Help?

We appreciate how important it is when you bring in external support that you have confidence in the support being offered. That is why it has always been our philosophy in the fifteen years since we were formed to concentrate on maintaining the highest quality of service.

There can never be a more important time for your College than when you are contemplating a major reorganisation or merger. Therefore at this time having confidence in the support being provided is more important than ever. MCA can provide the support and advice that you need and can demonstrate through the experience and qualifications of our team that you can rest easy in the knowledge that the future of your College is in safe hands.



Area Reviews


Our team is led by Malcolm Cooper who was one of the original five FE Advisers appointed in 2013. In this role which he held until July this year he was involved in the development of the Area Review process from its inception. Our Area Review Associates have experience of undertaking College Visits or being involved in the process from a College’s perspective. Some are still currently involved in the process. Our advice is therefore current and relevant.

We can help you to prepare for your area review before it happens, provide advice and support throughout the process itself and undertake feasibility studies to help you to consider the merits and drawbacks of different options that come out of it by using a clear, concise reporting system in which we score the various options. Governing bodies find these reports particularly helpful in making their ultimate decision about the way forward.




Merger Support

Once the Area Review Process is completed and if you have decided that your College’s future includes a merger with one or more other Colleges we can provide the support to assist you with this at the various stages.
  • Provision of Merger Project Management
    One of our Associate Directors has recently managed the successful merger of two medium-sized Colleges in the East Midlands. He is just one of the team of experienced Project Managers we can offer.

  • Detailed Business Planning
    Once you have decided that the proposed merger is feasible, it is necessary to develop plans for the new College to identify the issues to be addressed and the benefits that are likely to be gained. We have many years’ experience of College reorganisations having developed reorganisation strategies for more than thirteen colleges since 2001 and having advised the various FE funding bodies on proposed mergers.
    Plans carried out effectively at this stage can serve to reduce what can often be significant Due Diligence costs further down the line.

  • Curriculum Design and Planning
    Undertaking a review of the Curriculum and Curriculum Management is usually the source of key gains from any merger. The key to achieving these gains is carrying out thorough and early curriculum planning. Our Curriculum Design and Planning team who would advise you on how best to achieve this is led by a very experienced senior FE professional who led a North East College which excelled in all areas for a number of years. Our team also includes other experienced curriculum and MIS professionals who can gather the necessary information to assess the optimum way forward.

  • Harmonisation of Systems
    Other significant benefits can be achieved by appropriate harmonisation of key systems including MIS, Finance, HR, Payroll and Customer Relationship Management. MCA have undertaken various business process reviews in which improvements were identified to streamline systems and make them more effective and cost-effective.

  • Harmonisation of Staff Contracts
    It is highly unlikely that two different Colleges coming together would have exactly the same Terms and Conditions for their staff. As Staff Costs are such an important factor in achieving a financially healthy college it is really important that any gains available here are carefully handled. We have Associates with significant experience of college reorganisations in the fields of HR, Finance and Curriculum who can assist your College to achieve the available benefits.

  • Estates Planning
    We can advise your College on how to yield the benefits which might be available from the rationalisation, or reorganisation of the use of, your estate. Our Property and Estates Associates have many years’ experience in advising FE colleges.

  • Consideration of Shared Services
    Merger is the best time to consider whether a shared services solution would work for your College. We have recently completed a project to establish such a shared services arrangement. We can provide advice support and project management input based upon a track record of having successfully done it before.

  • Due Diligence
    Due Diligence can be very expensive, but it does not need to be. In a situation in which a merger is straight forward it is possible to target the work to those areas that are key in FE rather than undertake a blanket approach which includes elements that whilst essential in the private sector can be unnecessary in a college. We use such a targeted approach, consequently our fees are typically lower.
    Our Associates involved in Due Diligence are specialists in this field. The team also includes in-depth experience of the FE Sector so we deliver a relevant, targeted but through exercise.



Transition Funding

There is funding available up to a maximum for a General FE College of £100k and for a Sixth Form College of £50k. This takes the form of a non-repayable grant and is intended to help your College to pay for the following:
  • Interim Management Support
    You may wish to bring in necessary additional Interim Management Support to help you to effect the merger. This might be a short-term role that will not be necessary following the completion of the merger. It is possible that in anticipation of the merger individuals decide to leave early creating a need for someone to “fill-in” prior to the merger being effected. You may wish to appoint a Merger Project Manager to ensure that the merger process is efficient. Whilst the necessary skills may already be in the Colleges merging, the people who have those skills will have a full-time job. Project managing a college merger is not a part-time activity.
    We can supply Interim Managers in all functions including Merger Project Managers.

  • Consultancy Support
    This could include any or all of the categories listed above under Merger/Reorganisation Support.
We can offer guidance on how to apply for the Transition Funding, for more information click here
Contact us on 01226 767628 or speak to
Malcolm Cooper direct on 07950 931389
MCA Cooper Associates
MCA Cooper Associates MCA Cooper Associates MCA Cooper Associates
MCA Cooper Associates MCA Cooper Associates MCA Cooper Associates
MCA Cooper Associates
MCA Cooper Associates