Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary letter from Mr John Healey MP (ILA 63)

  I thought it would be helpful if I provided a further update on recent payments to providers and, also, the investigations being conducted both by our Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and the police.

  Further payments will be credited to providers on Friday 8 March 2002 to cover confirmed periods of learning booked on the ILA payment system relating to the period 1 September 2001 to 31 January 2002. These learning episodes were booked on the Capita IT system at the time of programme closure on 23 November 2001 but had not been either confirmed or claimed. Learning providers were invited to confirm or cancel these bookings and submit claims for payment using a paper process. Providers for whom payment has previously been withheld were not invited to claim. In response to this invitation, we received claims from 257 providers amounting to a total of £559,290. Of this we have paid 246 providers a total of £451,436 and withheld payments to 11 providers totalling £107, 854 pending further inquiries to verify the validity of these claims. The next set of payments is due to be credited to providers on Friday 15 March and we are currently on target to meet this date.

  As you know, all serious complaints are subject to follow-up and where evidence of potential fraud is found the complaint is passed to the Department's Special Investigations Unit (SIU). The SIU is now dealing with 103 registered learning providers against whom 3,515 complaints have been received. Of these, the police (nine forces: City of London, Metropolitan, Leicestershire, West Midlands, Cheshire, National Crime Squad, Kent, Kendal and Dorset) are now investigating 65 learning providers and have completed investigations into one other, which resulted in a conviction. The SIU is discussing a further 11 cases with the police.

  I hope the Committee finds this update useful.

Mr John Healey MP

7 March 2002

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