HC Deb 25 June 2002 vol 387 c826W
Chris Grayling

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the role and responsibilities of Learning and Skills councils in regard to funding private training providers which provide courses accredited by official examination boards. [62678]

Margaret Hodge

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is able to fund training providers who were not previously eligible for Further Education Funding Council funding and who offer courses accredited by examination boards. It has produced a manual 'Initial Assessment of New Provision' which gives guidance on how it will assess and approve any new providers.

Once a provider has been judged to be a suitable supplier of post-16 learning provision, it is eligible for LSC funds. However private training providers do not have an automatic right to direct funding by the LSC. Local LSCs, as part of their planning work, will carry out a strategic assessment of the adequacy and quality of local provision to determine areas that need to be strengthened or where there are gaps in provision. It is a matter for the local councils to arrange for the delivery of such provision from appropriate existing or new providers.

Local councils also monitor the results of inspections of private training providers. It is crucial that the highest standards are achieved and maintained and, where this is not so, the councils will take tough action to improve or replace the provision.