BusinessPeople In BusinessDoubts surface over ILA replacement

Doubts surface over ILA replacement

Early indications are that the replacement for the fraud-hit Individual Learning Accounts training scheme is likely to look very much like its predecessor, raising doubts about why it is taking so long to get off the ground.

The initial ILA scheme collapsed in October 2001, following allegations of widespread fraud and mismanagement.

As a result the Department for Education and Skills hired consultants Cap Gemini Ernst & Young to review the security, while the Education and Skills Committee report was released last week, as was a consultation paper documenting the views of trainers and trainees by management consultants Segal Quince Wicksteed.

But the unnecessary delay in establishing a replacement for ILAs is forcing IT training firms out of business said Ian Watkinson, chairman of the Association of Computer Trainers. ‘Not that much was wrong with the system that it couldn’t have been fixed quickly,’ he said.

The Department for Education and Skills was unable to say when the new scheme would be launched. Before a replacement could be delivered, it was essential to learn all the lessons from the previous experience, said a department spokesman.

It is likely that the replacement scheme will be run by Capita, which administered the original ILAs. This despite the IT consultants coming in for criticism for failing to use its expertise to warn the department about the dangers of fraud.

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