Memorandum from Mr Roger Tuckett, Henley
Community Online (ILA 09)
Earlier career in IT and telecoms industry.
Ran own business consultancy company 1997-2000. Focussed on pan-European
public policy and regulatory development, and impact on business
planning and market development, mainly in the telecoms sector.
Previously worked at European Commission in 1994-95 on policy
development for Information Society.
Put mainstream career to one side to establish
non-profit-making community organisation to bring the Information
Society to Henley (population 10,000). Initial focus was supporting
those using computers (or going online) for the first time. Start-up
support for local sponsors, but no Governmental support other
than ILA scheme. Equipped and opened ICT centre in the middle
of the town (18 PCs, high-speed internet access, £30k capital
Launched in June 2001. Appointed UK Online Centre;
Accredited as ECDL testing centre. In four months, 220 learners
signed up for learning (using computer-based training material
with tutor support). 2 per cent of the town's population. Average
age about 60.
Good: Flexibility. Low bureaucracy.
Formal qualifications not a required outcome.
Bad: Capita administration. Delays
in payments. Failure to define the rules. Closure with no alternative
scheme. Absence of co-ordination with UK Online, learndirect,
LSC funding etc.
ILA SUSPENSION IN
Catastrophic. Revenue steam stopped at end October.
Insolvent by end December. Substantial unpaid salary for myself.
No alternative revenue streams. No Government support. Centre
closed at Christmas. Six jobs lost. Many learners lost their learning.
Community lost a valuable asset.
Using my existing contacts, I took up the matter
with my MP, and contacted others in the industry, with whom I
have discussed their concerns. I organised a lobby of Westminster
on 11 December, at which I called for the Select Committee enquiry.
No formal organisation has yet been established, although the
way we see ourselves representing independent IT training providers,
mainly commercial. We estimated that 80 per cent of training centres
(roughly 1,500 open today) are independently run.
Almost every learning provider affected
is laying off staff now.
Between 25 per cent and 60 per cent
of ICT training centres are likely to close within 6 months, with
2,000 to 5,000 job losses.
Confidence and trust between learning
providers, learners and Government has been shattered.
Installed base of training centres
able to deliver the digital society objectives has been savaged.
Traditional colleges are unlikely to have the capacity to deliver
a growing need.
No statement on proportion of ILA
funds applied to basic IT skills training (believed very high).
Minimal linkages between ILA closure
and delivery of Digital Society objectives.
No concern or responsibility by DfES
to independent learning providers (community or commercial) as
No market analysis and impact assessment
yet undertaken. DfES and/or e-Envoy should do this.
Chief Executive, Henley Community Online (now closed)