PracticeConsultingNAO to assign blame for ILA collapse

NAO to assign blame for ILA collapse

The National Audit Office is on Thursday expected to indicate how far Capita and the Department of Education and Skills were to blame for the collapse of the government's flagship Individual Learning Accounts initiative after fraud resulted in £26m in losses.

Link: MPs shocked by decision to reappoint Capita

And if it finds the sudden shutdown of the scheme was unjustified, training providers who lost out may find themselves with legitimate claims for compensation.

The NAO is publishing a detailed report on the causes of the learning crisis with recommendations to be taken account of in designing a successor scheme.

The sudden withdrawal of ILAs before their announced closure last November left many training providers facing financial difficulties.

The NAO may also reveal whether the DES was right to act on fears of unauthorised access by rogue providers to unused account details, this may have put more funding at risk in the light of claims that lists were being circulated for sale among training providers.

A subsequent report from Cap Gemini Ernst & Young on ILA security found no evidence of unauthorised access to the accounts, each worth £250, but concluded a successor scheme must have tighter security.

The Commons Education and Skills Committee in a report in May blamed Capita and the department for failing to ensure basic security precautions.

Committee chairman Barry Sheerman (Labour) accused Capita in a subsequent debate of ‘severe shortcomings’.

But Capita has said they have received assurances they will be involved with the ILA replacement.

The NAO have said their report will cover whether the design of the scheme was appropriate, whether the DES responded effectively to unexpected events, the impact of the closure of the scheme and lessons for its replacement.

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