HC Deb 10 April 2002 vol 383 c194W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will name the organisations recognised by her Department as standard setting bodies and under section 36 of the Education Act 1997 specified as appropriate bodies to receive financial assistance from levy income collected from persons who award vocational qualifications; and whether national training organisations will lose such status in consequence of withdrawal of their overall recognition by the Department. [47660]

John Healey

Until 31 March 2002 all national training organisations and a few other bodies were recognised as standards setting bodies. From 1 April all NTOs ceased to have the formal recognition of the Department. The withdrawal of recognition applies also to their status as standards setting bodies.

No bodies were specified under Section 36 of the Education Act 1997. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) acting jointly with the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) administers a fund for the development of national occupations standards based on a certification fee charged on NVQs and SVQs. A remit letter from the Department instructs QCA as to which bodies may receive financial assistance.

Future arrangements are being considered in the light of the recent report by the Independent Review of National Occupational Standards, chaired by John Hillier, the establishment of the Sector Skills Development Agency from 1 April 2002, and the new stronger sector councils we are putting in place. In the short term we will ensure there are suitable arrangements in place so that essential national occupational standards work can continue.