NTO on hold again

Plans to create a pan-professional training body face further delay,tion for accountancy and further troubled by government’s reluctance to back scheme. after meetings designed to forge a compromise deal between the consultative committee of accountancy bodies and representatives of accounting technicians were delayed by a month.

In January, the government rejected proposals from the CCAB and Association of Accounting Technicians for a national training organisation (NTO) that would act as a single authority to over-see education and training in the accounting field.

A meeting of representatives from all the major bodies was due to go ahead early last month, but will not now take place for another fortnight.

Internal wrangles have dogged the scheme since all the parties met last year to hammer out a deal. The proposals were rebuffed after the group failed to present a coherent path for students wishing to use NVQs as a route into the profession.

As a result, the Department for Education & Employment, which oversees the NTOs, said the profession would need to set up and fund a single body before it received government backing.

NTOs have been created in several industries to oversee training. They also accelerate the use of government grants, which would be crucial to increasing the intake of entrants to the profession.

This month’s meeting is a last-ditch effort to reach a compromise. Each institute needs to decide if it is willing to fund the NTO while waiting for the DfEE to recognise it.

Several of the institutes fear they could spend thousands of pounds on setting up an organisation – only to find the DfEE refuses to offer its validation.

Insiders said ACCA and CIMA had been the most resistant to the scheme, although Anthea Rose, ACCA’s chief executive, said it would receive her support if she knew the scheme would eventually receive government backing.

The AAT, in particular, is keen for the CCAB to agree on a formula to fund the project.

AAT chief executive Jane Scott-Paul said the meeting would decide the fate of the NTO. ‘We are restricted in what we do if it doesn’t move forward,’ she said.

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