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If it ain’t broken, break it

publication date: Mar 31, 2008
author/source: Ed Tranham

Last month the government announced the forthcoming break-up of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in 2010 – a quango of its own making. Perhaps the break-up was inevitable after the announcement earlier this year of the £7bn transfer of funding for 16-19 education to local authorities. However, according to the government’s own white paper, the LSC has been very successful in its mission to get more people into education.

But the first rule of government is that new initiatives require new structures, even if the old ones aren’t broken. So in true government style the LSC is to be replaced not by one new body, but by two new bodies – the Skills Funding Agency, which will distribute the remaining £4bn for adult training, and the Young People’s Learning Agency, which will step in when local authorities can’t agree amongst themselves how resources should be deployed.

It is quite probable that the cost of the new structure even after excluding any redundancy costs will be greater than the present LSC. The LSC currently employs more than 3,500 people at a cost of over £140m including pension costs. A further £75m is spent on administration.

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