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Skills Funding Agency statement regarding MPs' report on reducing bureaucracy in FE
The Skills Funding Agency, along with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and our sister Agency the Young People's Learning Agency, is committed to reducing wasteful bureaucracy in the FE sector and we have made significant progress. However, the Agency regards the reduction of bureaucracy as a consequence, and not a driver, of policy change. As a result, we do not accept that a target for bureaucracy reduction in and of itself is helpful or good value for money. Our focus is instead on sector freedom and flexibility to deliver local and sectoral skills priorities. This policy inevitably has led to significant removal of now unnecessary process and we will continue to work with the sector to further these aims.
We would emphasise that the Committee accepted that the proportion of funding spent on administrative costs exclusively to meet the demands of the funding agencies, that would not in any case be required for management of a business, is small. We would also emphasise that the calculations used by the National Audit Office to determine the total funding spent on unneeded administration were speculative at best and not grounded in robust evidence.
Finally, we appreciate the Committee’s recognition that there is a tension between the imperative to maintain appropriate control and oversight of public spending, and the ambition to reduce bureaucracy. The Agency is committed to greater transparency, clearer and simpler funding rules, rigorous enforcement and intelligent oversight, to manage this risk.
Friday, 23 March, 2012.
To read the Commons Public Accounts Committee report visit the Parliament website.