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Tories slam Audit Commission for role-play activities



The Conservative Party has slammed the Audit Commission for spending £167,000 on role-playing activities for staff and new recruits over the last three years despite the practice being an accepted and widely-used form of training.
The Commission uses Roleplay UK, which employs professional actors, to help it out when hiring new staff or training personnel up for management positions.
A spokeswoman told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “The training and assessment provided has proved valuable at all levels of recruitment, including graduates, and is designed to be as realistic as possible. The company’s services are used by a number of organisations, including major charities, professional bodies and private companies.”
But the Tories’ chairman Eric Pickles was scathing and questioned whether it was an appropriate way to spend taxpayers’ money: “It sounds like an episode of the Office. You couldn’t make it up. The body tasked with regulating public finances is wasting thousands of pounds of taxpayers cash on role playing when the country’s finances are in a dire state,” he said.
The current government, however, has taken a different stance on the value of training. As of 6 April this year, staff that have been working at organisations with 250 plus employees for more than 26 continuous weeks will have the right to request time for such activity.
As of April 2011, the scheme’s remit will be extended to smaller companies to give them time to plan for implementation and work out the impact on their business.
For requests to be valid, however, such training must either help personnel develop the necessary skills to boost business performance or lead to a qualification. Employers are not obliged to pay for the requested training, but if business benefits are realised, they could agree to pick up the tab.



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