From education to employment

Sherlock Takes His Gloves Off In Response

Conservative plans to slash 168 government quanqos and six government units have been met with a furious response by the targeted organisations. In the run-up to the election, Shadow Secretary of State for Regulation, John Redwood, unveiled plans to scrap these government bodies, at a savings of £4.3 billion.

“Tony Blair has forgotten the interests of taxpayers and has broken the pledges he made. Far from improving public services, spending taxpayers” money on quangos has led only to more bureaucrats, more regulation and higher taxes,” commented Redwood. Of interest to the Further Education sector is the Conservative ministers bid to slash the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) and JobCentre Plus. If successful, the ALI function would be transferred to OFSTED at a savings of £24m. The rationale behind cutting the ALI is that they deem it “an unnecessary duplication of activities”. This has provoked a furious response from David Sherlock, the Chief Inspector of the ALI. “Our remit is unique, championing the interests of over 5 million adult learners, spanning the public and the private sector and working across the Government. No organization does what we do, therefore there is no “unnecessary duplication of activities”,” commented Sherlock.

The Conservatives believe that “in order to succeed in the most competitive conditions we have ever faced, Britain must be more efficient than ever”. Redwood furthers by commenting that “accountability will be our watchword, with elected representatives in charge- not unelected quangos.” Since the ALI started inspecting three years ago, failure rates amongst providers have halved. “Driving up the quality of adult education and training is essential to increasing the nation’s skills and productivity- we have proved beyond doubt that we are delivering,” added Sherlock.

If elected, the Conservatives plan to enact these changes within six months. How they plan to cut such large number of vital government bodies and retain a strong level of efficiency remains to be seen.

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