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LSC on track

We are writing to challenge your article about the setting up of the Learning and Skills Council (FE Focus, January 5). We are happy to reassure all those who work in the sector, and our staff, that the Learning and Skills Council is on track for a successful launch on April 1.

There have been a series of very helpful meetings between senior staff of the Further Education Funding Council and the LSC to discuss the new organisational structure and the smooth transfer of staff from the FEFC to the new organisation. These meetings will continue. All staff within the FEFC have had an opportunity to comment on the proposals and this initial feedback is being used to help the development of the new structure. Listening and responding to the advice of those who currently run the FEFC is hardly evidence of an irresponsible approach.

We are moreover glad to be able to report that most FEFC staff were told before Christmas where they will be working within the LSC. The staffing alocation process is progressing well and within the timescale for completion by the transfer date.

Let us also make it clear - to avoid any misunderstanding - that robust and effective arrangements to monitor the financial health of colleges and ensure the proper oversight of capital expenditure within the sector will continue.

This will happen at national level (as it does now) and at local level through the new local learning and skills councils. The public purse will be stringently protected.

Given the outstanding commitment of FEFC staff, Department for Education and Employment and Training and Enterprise Council colleagues, together with high calibre new recruits, we are both confident that there will be sufficient expertise and experience within the LSC to ensure it fulfils its remit and provides real benefits to learners.

John Harwood Chief executive Learning and Skills Council David Melville Chief executive Further Education Funding Council

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