Select Committee on Education and Skills Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 8

Memorandum from Martin Bayliss (ILA 35)

MD OF TABS LIMITED, COMPANY WHICH OPERATED BEST TRAINING CENTRES IN SALISBURY, SOUTHAMPTON AND PORTSMOUTH (ALL NOW CLOSED)

  A few comments of dealing with Capita re ILA:

  1.  Speed of Processing — The turnaround times from Capita were unacceptable. Firstly the student needed to complete an application form, which took weeks to be returned. In later stages, the ILA centre then sent a form to be signed, which also took weeks to arrive. Finally they had to wait for their ILA card, which also took weeks to come through. The average waiting time for a student was probably a month. Usually a student had responded to marketing activity, and wanted to start there training straight away.

  2.  Freedom of Choice—The ILA centre wanted to ensure students had freedom of choice with regards to there training provider. This would have been fine if they had been spending the marketing money and generating the leads for us. I probably encountered less than five students who already had an ILA card. For the rest, we had to spend the marketing money to generate the lead. Who would then expect a learning provider to offer the student freedom of choice? I believe on average it cost around £80 in sales and marketing costs to generate an ILA sale.

  If the Government wished to offer real freedom of choice, then perhaps they should have sent a £200 voucher to every eligible person in the UK. Cost of around 20 million people at £200, £4 billion per year. This way, the above marketing spend could all have been focused on training. I suspect some of the real winners out of the ILA saga were the newspapers who sold huge amounts of additional advertising space. Has anyone calculated the value of this?

  3.  Bias towards learndirect—In the later stages of ILA, to support the above policy, the ILA centre sent students letters telling them that they had freedom of choice and recommending learndirect. This is unacceptable to legitimate providers who worked hard to attract new customers and promoted the ILA scheme on behalf of the government

  4.  Capita call centre—Capita only allowed the individual student to call the centre with any complaints. So if their card didn't show up or took ages, Capita expected the student to call. Many couldn't be bothered, as the cost of chasing was more than the value of the grant to them. Learning Providers could not call on behalf of students, even though it was the Learning Provider who lost out really as they lost a prospective customer.

Martin Bayliss

7 February 2002



 
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