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.
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.
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.