CIPD chief Jackie Orme forced to apologise after quango report blunder

CIPD chief executive Jackie Orme has been forced to apologise to the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) after a report mistakenly labelled the organisation a quango and called for it to be scrapped.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s Quangos in the education and skills system report said the Government could save more than £500 million by ditching quangos such as NIACE, LSN and Lifelong Learning UK.

Quangos are funded by the Government; they sit outside Whitehall departments; and they have some devolved powers. The report stated: “With so much money at stake and with imminent spending reductions across many government departments, the role, purpose and operations of each individual quango must therefore be revisited as a matter of urgency.”

However, NIACE is a voluntary membership organisation and the vast majority of its income from Government is won via competitive tender. It reacted angrily to the report, saying it was “astonished” that the CIPD had “so fundamentally misunderstood the nature” of its work.

In a statement, NIACE said: “Unlike quangos, which have their boards chosen or ratified by a secretary of state, the board of NIACE is accountable to more than 600 corporate and individual members subscribing to its aims.

“Rather than calling for NIACE to be cut, the CIPD might wish to reflect on the extent to which support for voluntary and community sector organisations, such as NIACE, might represent a highly effective and efficient use of public funds, worthy of expansion in the future.”

The report which was published on Wednesday 21 July has now been removed from the CIPD website and Orme has written to NIACE bosses to apologise for the blunder.

In a further error, the CIPD also labelled LSN (formerly the Learning and Skills Network) as a quango, despite it clearly stating on its website that it operates as an independent charity which receives no grant funding from the Government.

A spokesman for LSN told that the organisation was writing to Orme seeking an apology and a retraction statement.

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