'We need to learn from past successes and mistakes'
City & Guilds responds to the NAO's report on implementing the Simplification Plan
04 December 2014
The National Audit Office (NAO) has released a report reviewing the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills' plan to reduce complexity and administrative burdens in the FE and skills sector. It reveals that despite improving some processes, the Department's Simplification Plan has had limited impact on providers' costs.
It was previously estimated that complying with funding, qualifications and assurance requirements costs the sector between £250 million and £300 million a year, and substantial savings could be achieved through reducing bureaucracy. However, changes implemented by the Department have only produced savings of around £4 million a year.
Commenting on the NAO’s report, Mikki Draggoo, Director of Corporate Relations at the City & Guilds Group said:
'The NAO’s report shows the detrimental impact constant change has on skills policy. The intention was to make the system clearer and reduce costs. But today’s report shows this didn’t happen and further education providers were put to one side – despite it being designed for them in the first place.
'Short-term thinking and poorly thought-through re-organisation creates uncertainty in the sector and achieves little savings or improvements to the system. Policymakers must ensure that they use evidence to make clear and achievable policy – not wholescale reform with little thought to the long-term implications.
'Our recent report, Sense & Instability: three decades of skills and employment policy, found that years of continued disruption in the system means we have been going around in circles for the last thirty years. So what’s the solution?
'BIS should certainly make sure that any further changes are implemented consistently with policy aims, without introducing unnecessary complexities and costs for providers or employers. But it needs to go further than that. The BIS Select Committee should conduct its own inquiry into the skills and employment system. This insight can then inform the next administration’s approach to policymaking in this sector.
'Learning from past successes and mistakes and giving new policies a chance to mature is key to yielding long-lasting results.'