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Home > News > May 2004 > 24-May-2004

Bureaucracy Task Force proposes self regulation for Learning and Skills sector

Publishing its final report and recommendations, the Bureaucracy Task Force proposed self-regulation for the post-16 learning sector including:

  • ethical standards set by a professional body, similar to the Law Society or British Medical Association
  • training and support for members
  • detailed working guidance issued by the professional body
  • a ‘policing’ function, where the professional body acts as a self-auditor of its members and acts on the results. Action may stretch to disciplining or expelling members

The Task Force also supported the radical proposals for reducing the burden of health and safety regulation by introducing a single-validation process, which, in principle, could have wider applications.

Speaking at the Association of Learning Providers’ conference in Harrogate, Sir George Sweeney, Chairman of Bureaucracy Task Force, said: "In this our final report, I want to carry the case we made in our first report to its logical conclusion, and extend its principles and values based on trust to all providers.

"However, I now want to go further and call for the removal of even larger tranches of bureaucracy through the development of a system of self-regulation. Self-regulation is not something that can simply be imposed or gifted. We need to show that we can be trusted to order our own affairs. It is a challenge to all of us and our various representative bodies.

"Representative bodies that speak on behalf of the sector - including the Association of Colleges and the Association of Learning Providers – should now take the lead in developing this agenda in close cooperation with other organisations who have leadership responsibilities in the sector. The time is right for this radical development. We can show that trust will work."

Alan Johnson, Minister for Further Education, said: "Cutting red tape is central to the government's public reform agenda. Sir George and his Task Force have created a solid foundation and their hard work and positive action has already helped to reduce bureaucracy. I welcome the Task Force’s proposals and hope the recommendations in this final report will lead to further reductions in burdens on the front line.

"We should aspire to greater trust and self-regulation in further education and training and I look forward to receiving proposals from the sector on how we can make self-regulation a reality."

Mark Haysom, Chief Executive, The Learning and Skills Council, said: "Colleges and providers regulating themselves is at one with our aim of having an open, honest and transparent relationship with our partners. We fully support the recommendations in the Bureaucracy Task Force report and urge the organisations that represent the sector to grasp this opportunity and lead in its development.

"The LSC's new business cycle which we recently announced will support the sector in its drive for self-regulation. Successful education and training providers will find the LSC oversees them with a lighter touch, enabling them to focus on teaching, while we concentrate on supporting providers who need more help. This brings with it other benefits. Having a single, streamlined process will mean less time spent on bureaucracy, less paperwork and importantly, lower costs for our partners and the LSC. Freeing up the system in this way will help us all realise a further aim - ensuring every available penny is spent on those we are trying to help rather then unnecessary administration."

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