Bichard fuels department shake-up rumour

4th May 2001 at 01:00
The Department for Education and Employment could be restructured if Labour wins another term in office, its most senior civil servant has hinted.

DFEE permanent secretary Sir Michael Bichard, who is stepping down this month, told the Commons select committee that it was important to "optimise" links between education and employment.

"The departments of education and employment were somewhat marginalised before, but they are now centre-stage, and if you have a restructuring, you need to give it time for the changes to bed in," said Sir Michael.

"There has been a strong synergy between the two departments, but you wouldn't necessarily lose that if they were de-merged."

He was responding to committee chaiman Barry Sheerman's concern that there were rumours of a major restructuring of the DFEE. Mr Sheerman said he found the rumour unsettling in the light of the possible departure of all the "main actors" in the department. On top of Mr Bichard's imminent departure, Education Secretary David Blunkett has made it clear he does not want to continue if Labour secures another term.

The creation of a new agency combining the employment service and the benefits agency, has led to speculation that employment would move to a new ministry. However, government sources say the creation of the Learning and Skills Council puts training and lifelong learning firmly within an education secretary's remit.

Paul Dinsdale


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now