§ Mr. Hoyle
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if she will make a statement on the performance of TECs in England and Wales to date in respect of achieving the 100 per cent. plan target in relation to financial systems management information, the collection of evidence, audit and supplies. 545W
§ Mr. Paice
TECs have made significance progress in addressing the former shortcomings in financial control relating to training and enterprise programmes identified by the Comptroller and Auditor General in reports on the Department's appropriation accounts up to 1991–92. It was these which gave rise to the commitment to the Public Accounts Committee in January 1992 that the Department would institute a plan to achieve 100 per cent. effectiveness in financial control in TECs and, through them, their providers of training and other activities. All TECs in England are currently assessed as low risk for financial control purposes. The Comptroller and Auditor General's latest report' acknowledges that the priority given by the Department to financial control has resulted in a substantial reduction in incorrect and uncertain payments to TECs and their providers. The Government continue to set rigorous financial control standards for TECs to safeguard the large amounts of public funding provided to them and to refine these standards to build upon the progress made through the original 100 per cent. plan. The responsibility for the TECs in Wales falls to the Secretary of State for Wales. The Welsh Office has confirmed that, on the most recently completed risk assessment audits, all the TECs in Wales had also achieved low-risk status.
1 Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General: "Department for Education and Employment: Financial Control of Payments made under the Training for Work and Youth Training Programmes in England" (HC 402 Session 1995–96, published 12 June 1995).