Government slammed over troubled ILAs

The
Government has been slammed over its handling of the scrapped Individual
Learning Accounts learning and development scheme.

The
ILA, which entitled people to grants of up to £200 towards educational courses,
was introduced in September 2000 to encourage people to continue learning. But
it was scrapped less than a year later because training providers were making
bogus claims.

An
Audit Commission report criticises the Department for Skills and Education for
implementing the scheme too quickly. "So many things went wrong, it is
hard to single one out for special mention," the report notes.

It
highlights no financial planning or a business model and criticises the DfSE
for not establishing a risk sharing relationship with its private sector
partner Capita.

The
report also states the Government should have introduced quality assurances to
courses instead of “relying on market forces to weed out poor educational
providers”.

The
report concludes that the Government let down unqualified and unskilled
learners – the people the scheme was introduced for – by not making sure
courses were worthwhile.

By Paul Nelson

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