Independent providers have reacted angrily to confirmation that a new £83 million Learning and Skills Council (LSC) programme to help young unemployed people will be delivered by colleges only.
"It seems extraordinary that we had this decision confirmed only a week after the Secretary of State had written to the LSC chairman saying not once but twice in the same letter that the government wanted to see more contestability for the provision that the LSC funds," an ALP spokesperson told FE News.
"It would be interesting to see how justification for the decision would be presented to the Commons public accounts committee when the current state of public finances requires every penny of taxpayer revenues to deliver value for money."
ALP is writing to the LSC to complain that the principle of selecting the providers best able to deliver to the learner the highest quality service has been replaced by the need to develop those providers not yet capable of delivering the appropriate level of service.
The association wonders why young unemployed are being positioned as "mere guinea pigs" at the depths of a major recession to further an agenda structurally reforming the public sector providers within the FE system.