Merger support

South Gloucestershire & Stroud College

The successful merger of Stroud and Filton Colleges in 2012 was the first to test the then new Secretary of State John Hayes’ resolve to stop the expansion of FE corporations.

Merger documentation is very time consuming to produce and can impact on operational effectiveness if a senior manager is seconded to lead on the writing. More importantly, internal managers may not feel able, or see, objections that could be made by those outside of the merging organisations.

The writing is detailed and technical, though at all times has to maintain a winning argument. As the political landscape continually changes, the merger writer has to not only create a coherent narrative out of a dense collection of information, but also to understand the potential objections of the all-too-ephemeral funders and decision makers.

The two key documents required are the short Public Consultation, and the detailed Final Merger Proposal (FMP).

The Stroud and Filton Public Consultation Document produced far more responses than are usually expected, with overwhelming support for the proposed merger*.

Of the 50-page FMP, Stroud Principal Beri Hare, wrote: ‘Thank you Tony for your help with our Final Merger Proposal (FMP), it was very well received by  the SfA, and the two college boards. You have a great skill in expressing our ambitions in succinct, eloquent English and supporting this with thorough  research. The interesting and lively design of the FMP make reading inviting and easy, and smoothed the consultation process leading to a very successful  outcome. Many thanks. Beri.’

J Clare Wilson of the Skills Funding Agency, added: ‘I would like to say that both myself and national colleagues felt that the proposal explained, in simple terms, the considerable innovation and extended choice for learners gained through the proposed merger.’

Finally, Kevin Hamblin, now Principal of the new merged college, wrote: ‘I must say, Tony, that I think this is a tremendous document.’

The two colleges merged smoothly in February 2012, after 10 months of preparation.

If you would like help with the writing of you own merger documentation, please feel free to phone or email.