NAO urges collaboration in government training

13 July 2011

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13 July 2011 | Adam Leach

The NationalAudit Office (NAO) is calling on the UK government to use its buying power more effectively when commissioning employee training.

Identifying and meeting central government'sskills requirements, published today, said progress had been made – with £8 million savings generated between 2008 and 2010 – but called for further efficiency. It concluded that the estimate of £275 million spent on training in 2009/10 was inaccurate because informal learning and profession-specific training were not fully factored into the calculation.

In particular, the NAO called for increased efforts to share data across departments about the commissioning of training providers after it found a lack of information on a range of areas, including supplier expenditure.

Commissioned to provide guidance to Civil Service Learning (CSL), which took over responsibility for government training this year, the study examined the state of training up to and including 2010.

Research by the NAO in 2010 found that the top 11 suppliers had contracts with an average of 10 government departments. The NAO recommended that CSL look at these areas for potential savings, offering a case study where one department achieved savings of more than 40 per cent by collaborating with another.

NAO chief Amyas Morse said:“Tight public funding means departments must find ambitious new ways of working to maintain and drive up levels of performance.”

The report found more than 250 leadership courses run across departments and 25 on diversity, as examples of where consolidation could occur.

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