LETTERS – Speculation over NTOs is misleading.

Speculative comments have been made in certain parts of the media about Accountancy National Training Organisation’s future, following recent events, namely the withdrawal of ICAS from the development group and the departure of CEO of ANTO (Whitehall threat to training body, page 3, 8 November). Reports of the events contributing to these decisions are incorrect and misleading.

ANTO has addressed all the issues raised by the development group and agreement to continue funding until March 2002 (government termination date for all NTOs) was reached in September. The future for an NTO contribution to the lifelong learning agenda is being reconsidered in the light of the government’s decision in conjunction with the development group and the DfES.

ANTO regards it as being preferable that the original development group had remained intact until such time as the way forward has been made clear.

The withdrawal of ICAS is regrettable.

The Crown recently announced that all NTOs will be wound up with effect from 31 March 2002.

Employment sectors may be represented by Sector Skills Councils (SSCs).

The details of how to become an SCC have not yet been published but they are not expected to be ‘revamped’ NTOs. They are, however, expected to be involved with the increased productivity of UK plc and can therefore be expected to represent clearly defined ‘productive’ sectors such as engineering, textiles and FMCG.

The cross-sectoral NTOs, such as customer care, administration and IT, are seen to be common to all new SSCs and will have to be dealt with in a different way. This is also true of accountancy and finance related disciplines.

There are a number of discussions going on as to what is the appropriate way forward for the sector. Until these discussions have been completed, it is not possible to make any formal announcements as to what will be the outcome or what, if any, organisation will be proposed to take forward the legacy of ANTO. These decisions will be taken with the DfES.

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