Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140
WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2002
140. You said that the first thing you thought
about was that perhaps Capita's records were wrong in some way.
Were there questions back to Capita about that?
(Miss Owens) We reported the findings to the department.
We are not sure what they did. I know that they were very keen
to find out about the 82 individuals and they had asked for their
details. It was not possible to give that to the department because
of the Market Research Society code of conduct that states that
the data given in an interview, unless one specifically says that
it will be passed on, remains confidential.
141. A small number of the people you spoke
to were using ILA money which was designed for basic IT training
for courses like feng shui and plumbing. What sort of percentage
was that and how did that happen?
(Miss Owens) It was a small percentagein the
tensin both cases of the surveys. I do not know how that
happened without going into the detail of the process through
which people have to go. We do know that one provider to whom
we spoke in the early survey said that, because there was confusion
about which courses were eligible for ILA support, he tended to
get people to fill in the form and send it off and wait to see
142. Thank you for explaining that. You are
very experienced researchers and you know the education sector
well. I am getting the impression that on the one hand, you have
found great enthusiasm and satisfaction for the Individual Learning
Accounts from people who were taking them up and on the other
hand you are implying that you were picking up earlier signs of
something going wrong. When you talked to the 100 providers, did
you ring up providers who sounded, in the common vernacular, a
bit dodgy? When you did the telephone survey, did you pick up
things that sounded as though they were selling something totally
different and had stumbled into this because they thought they
were on to a good thing? Did you pick up anything like that?
(Miss Owens) Personally I spoke to 32 providers, not
all in England. I cannot say that that was an issue that I or
my colleagues who made the phone calls ever said to each other.
143. In both of the surveys the alarm bells
did not start buzzing?
(Miss Owens) No, not at all.
Chairman: Thank you very much indeed.