§ Mr. Pearson
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress there has been with the national development agenda; how much money out of the total budget for 1994–95 has been spent; and if he will make a statement on its evaluation and plans for the future.598W
§ Mr. Paice
The 1994 national development agenda described key objectives towards which the Department's support for the development of the vocational education and training system is being directed. Examples include the standards programme, and action to encourage employers to see training as an investment.
There is no single budget for national development. The work is funded from a range of individual budgets voted for particular purposes. At 31 December 1994 £15.6 million had been spent out of available funds of £.410.2 million for the current financial year.
Progress is being made in all the areas covered by the national development agenda, with a wide range of projects contracted.
It is a requirement that all projects are evaluated, and that where appropriate there should be evaluation of the performance of linked groups of projects.
The results of evaluation form an important part of the Department's dissemination activity for national development work. Project outputs are disseminated widely to relevant audiences through conferences, seminars, publicity and promotional events, reports and other publications.
For the future, a second edition of the national development agenda is planned for publication in February, taking account of the developments announced in the 1994 White Paper "Competitiveness: Helping Business to Win".