Institute for Learning
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IfL clarifies the consequences of not paying membership fees

The Institute for Learning (IfL) has published a statement confirming that members who do not pay their subscription by the due date will cause their membership to lapse, but that this will not amount to a breach of the Code of Professional Practice. The full statement reads as follows:


IfL wishes to assure our members that non-payment of any membership subscription is not a disciplinary matter dealt with by the Code of Professional Practice. Lapsing and subsequently reinstating membership is covered by the conditions of membership.


Like other professional membership organisations, IfL requires its members to pay a subscription. This was previously paid directly by the government, but that is no longer the position. If the subscription is not paid by the member, or an employer on behalf of the member, the conditions of membership provide that the membership of that individual will lapse. This is not an action taken by IfL, it is a consequence of non‑payment of the membership subscription. This is standard practice for professional and membership bodies when a subscription falls due.


When a member renews their IfL membership, they satisfy the regulations for working as a teacher or a trainer in a further education college and the requirements of the Skills Funding Agency for other areas of provision. Allowing membership to lapse will mean that the teacher or trainer is no longer permitted to teach in the further education sector, where there is the need to comply with the 2007 regulations. This is standard practice in other regulated professions, such as medicine or law.


Following the discussions and joint agreement with trade unions and employers in the further education sector, IfL extended the membership subscription due date from 1 April to 22 July 2011, and communicated this to members on 7 June 2011. During the joint discussions, it was agreed that the normal process of lapsing memberships as a result of non-payment would be temporarily put on hold.


The University and College Union (UCU), which was a party to the discussions and joint agreement, subsequently balloted its members, seeking a mandate for industrial action, including a boycott of IfL. It has also issued information to its members questioning the legitimacy of IfL’s position on lapsed members.


IfL would like to assure our members by clarifying this position. If a member does not pay their subscription by the due date then that membership will lapse. This is not a matter to be dealt with under IfL’s Code of Professional Practice, as the conditions of membership describe the procedure for lapsing membership in the event of non-payment of any subscription. The Disciplinary Procedure Rules (2011) recognise this position and they provide no jurisdiction for non-payment of any subscription.


UCU has written to IfL regarding Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, suggesting that non-payment of subscriptions should be dealt with as a disciplinary matter under IfL’s Code of Professional Practice. IfL confirms that lapsing of membership due to non-payment of any subscription is covered by the conditions of membership, with the direct consequence of loss of membership. IfL does not agree with UCU’s assertion that the matter of non-payment of any subscription should be referred to a Professional Practice Committee, as it has no jurisdiction in this matter. IfL had previously confirmed in writing to UCU on 30 March 2011 that non-payment of any membership subscription is not a disciplinary matter dealt with by IfL’s Code of Professional Practice.



About IfL

The Institute for Learning (IfL) was formed in 2002 by further education teachers, trade unions, employers and others, and is the professional body for teachers, tutors, trainers and student teachers in the further education and skills sector, including adult and community learning, emergency and public services, FE colleges, the armed services, sixth-form colleges, the voluntary sector and work-based learning. IfL supports excellence in professional teachers’ and trainers’ practice for learners.


All teachers and trainers working in Skills Funding Agency funded further education and skills provision are required to register as members of IfL, undertake continuing professional development (CPD) each year and abide by the IfL Code of Professional Practice.


As a key partner in ensuring an expert further education workforce, IfL is responsible for registering teachers and trainers, for keeping an overview of teachers’ CPD, and for conferring the professional licensed practitioner status of Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) or Associate Teacher Learning and Skills (ATLS).


An independent professional body, IfL is governed by an elected advisory council and non-executive board with the large majority from its membership, and works closely with several sector organisations, unions and employer bodies.

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