Education and Skills Committee
The Education and Skills Committee is appointed by
the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration
and policy of the Department for Education and Skills and its
associated public bodies.
Mr Barry Sheerman MP ( Labour, Huddersfield) (Chairman)
Mr John Baron MP (Conservative, Billericay)
Mr David Chaytor MP (Labour, Bury North)
Valerie Davey MP (Labour, Bristol West)
Jeff Ennis MP (Labour, Barnsley East & Mexborough)
Paul Holmes MP (Liberal Democrat, Chesterfield)
Ms Meg Munn MP (Labour, Sheffield Heeley)
Mr Kerry Pollard MP (Labour, St Albans)
Jonathan Shaw MP (Labour, Chatham and Aylesford)
Mr Mark Simmonds MP (Conservative, Boston & Skegness)
Mr Andrew Turner MP (Conservative, Isle of Wight)
The Committee is one of the departmental select committees,
the powers of which are set out in House of Commons Standing Orders,
principally in S.O. No.152. These are available on the Internet
The Reports and evidence of the Committee are published by
The Stationery Office by Order of the House. All publications
of the Committee (including press notices) are on the Internet
All correspondence should be addressed to The Clerk of the
Education and Skills Committee, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA. The
telephone number for general inquiries is: 020 7219 1376/6181.
The Committee's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the footnotes of this Report, references to oral evidence
are indicated by 'Q' followed by the question number. References
to written evidence are indicated by the page number as in 'Ev
12'. The oral and written evidence is published separately in
Volume II (HC 561-II)
In this fasttrack report, we suggest that there
were serious failings by the Department for Education and Skills
in the preparation and running of the Individual Learning Account
[ILA] scheme. We also criticise Capita, the Department's private
sector contractor charged with key elements of ILA delivery, for
their considerable shortcomings.
The scheme was withdrawn in the autumn of 2001 amidst
concerns that its rapid growth had outstripped its expected cost
to public funds. There were suspicions of substantial abuse by
some learning providers. Over its first two years, spending on
the ILA was at least £60 million higher than the expected
We analyse the failure of a Government flagship education
We strongly support the concept of ILAs, particularly
for the simplicity of the scheme and its attractiveness to learners.
We make strong recommendations that we expect to
inform the swift introduction of a new ILA Scheme, with better
quality assurance. The new scheme will need a sharper focus on
the kind of skills learning it wishes to promote. It must not
be vulnerable to fraud and abuse.
The lessons drawn from the ILA experience should
be studied carefully by other Government Departments.
We recommend that our Report should be debated.