Caseloading in further education : a system of devolved budgets to empower teams, or to obtain more for less?
This report considers the use of Caseloading within Further Education. It includes a detailed description of Caseloading and the differing models available. A review of the limited literature available on Caseloading is included, and discussion of the environmental features that affected the development of Caseloading is undertaken. The changing political, economic, employment and curriculum delivery aspects of Further Education and their specific effects are outlined. A case study of one Further Education college is reported, and evidence presented from interviews with staff involved in the Caseloading project using a devolved budget model. The objective of the study was to follow a pilot group of Caseloading teams through an academic year and assess the staff reaction and the success factors against the outcomes of teams operating under the standard budget management model. During the case study this objective changed, due to circumstances within the college. The match of the interview evidence with the other case study evidence is discussed and related to the environmental pressures affecting Further Education currently. This is supplemented by an external survey of the implementation of Caseloading, its advantages and disadvantages. Discussion of the research methodology and method is undertaken and the organisational context of the research and the findings is explored. Empowerment through devolution creates a theme throughout the study and its potential as a motivational tool is explored. Conclusions regarding The benefits and implementation of devolved budget methods are considered in depth, in an organisational framework, with analysis of the stakeholder perspective on the change. The management of cultural change to establish new working practices and management models including de-centralisation of controls is outlined, in the context of the Caseloading model. Empowerment through devolution creates a theme throughout the study and its potential as a motivational tool is explored. Conclusions regarding the use of Caseloading are drawn and alternatives for achieving similar objectives are identified. Future avenues for continuing the research are briefly outlined which would continue the exploration in a direction which matches the dynamic environment impacting upon Further Education in England.