Government drops student grant outsourcer

The government is set to drop IT outsourcer Liberata after delays in the payment of grants to some of the UK’s poorest students.

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The government is set to drop IT outsourcer Liberata after delays in the payment of grants to some of the UK’s poorest students.

Two months after the start of term some tens of thousands of further education students are still waiting for Education Maintenance Allowance payments.

Liberata won the a £75m, six-year EMA payments contract from the government’s Learning and Skills Council just 16 months ago. It replaced Capita, the incumbent.

Last month the National Union of Students issued an angry warning that students would be forced to abandon courses if the grants weren’t paid. The Learning and Skills Council responded by claiming htat the backlog of cases to be processed was decreasing.

In April Liberata was fined more than £500,000 by the F inancial Services Authority, which deemed its Life and Pensions business “reckless” for failing to provide documents to some of the 1.3 million people whose policies it administered.

It has subsequently sold its Life and Pensions business.

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