Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 316-319)

MR STUART INGLESON, MR GEOFF HALL, and MR MICHAEL STARK

WEDNESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2002

  316. Can I ask you, Mr Ingleson, to refresh our memories about the other scheme.
  (Mr Ingleson) Yes, Chairman, the point I made related to an uncapped budget arrangement in both the DLE and the franchising arrangements.
  (Mr Hall) That is what I am talking about. If you have uncapped arrangements, which is what the demand-led element was, and if they are incredibly successful, because colleges were very responsive just as providers have been very responsive to ILAs, you reach a point in time as to whether you can afford the success that you have created. The demand-led element (DLE) was somewhat pre-emptorily ended in January 1997, and it actually led to the withdrawal of about £100 million from the FE sector, which caused great difficulties. I think that is what the Principal was referring to.

Mr Chaytor

  317. Can I pursue this point? I take the point that the withdrawal of DLE is not exactly analogous to the ILA issue, but given the experience of the DLE and given the experience of the abuses of the previous franchising arrangement, is it not unusual that neither the FEFC nor the TEC National Council, nor the LSC in the last nine months, nor any of the local LSCs, seems to have put in writing to the Government that the mechanisms established for the ILA scheme were similarly open to either abuse by dubious providers or had weaknesses in terms of the security system in terms of access to computers, or were likely to result in a massive overspend because it was on capped budget? Is it not an institutional failure that no written advice to Government was given?
  (Mr Hall) Obviously, on the TEC National Council point, you would have to ask them directly. I am saying that at the appropriate meetings at the highest level the FEFC's accounting officer and myself drew attention to our worries and concerns that some of the lessons we had learned from franchising might be applicable to the ILA scheme.

  318. Would it be possible to have a memo to the Committee of the dates of those meetings?
  (Mr Hall) Yes, of course.[3]

Chairman

  319. You said "the appropriate meetings at the highest level": are you talking about always with the Department for Education and Skills, not Treasury?
  (Mr Hall) No.



 
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