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DfES responds to select committee mauling


The DfES have announced, perhaps somewhat improbably given the list of failings, that they welcome the Education and Skills Select Committee Report into the running and closure of the Individual Learning Account scheme. Adult Skills Minister John Healthy has acknowledged that there are lessons to be learned for all concerned.

John Healey said: "I welcomed the Inquiry on 16 January when the Committee announced it, and I welcome the Report today. The Report contains important recommendations and conclusions – which deserve a considered response and will contribute to plans for a successor ILA programme. We have been determined to get to the bottom of what went wrong and the Committee’s inquiry has helped this process. We will ensure the lessons are learned in designing our ILA successor scheme and shared more widely across the Department and other Government Departments. The Committee’s strong support for the “concept of ILAs, particularly for the simplicity of the scheme and its attractiveness to learners” is welcome backing for our determination to relaunch ILAs as a permanent and successful part of the Government’s lifelong learning strategy. We are now moving closer to settling the design of a successor programme which will incorporate the lessons which we have learned following the closure of ILAs last November. We are working closely with the police to get to the bottom of the fraud issues, and we continue to work closely with Capita to wind down the current scheme and to ensure we learn the lessons for the successor scheme. We are also taking into account the findings of a detailed consultation report that was published earlier this week by Segal Quince Wicksteed Limited."

The committee's greatest criticism was aimed at Mr Healey's predecessors, and during the proceedings they also drew attention to the apparent failures of policy hand-over in ministerial reshuffles.


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