Supporting the competition

11th November 2005 at 00:00
It was good to read George Bright's response to my Viewpoint article "Demand-led? Er ... how do you mean?" (FE Focus, October 21) and particularly gratifying to see his assessment that I was "skilfully espousing the cause of Association of Learning Providers' members".

I am sorry, however - as would be ALP's 50 or so college members - that he felt I was patronising colleges. Not only did I mean what I said about supporting a strong college sector, I and ALP would also fully support him on many of the points that he made.

Our position is not to fight for independent providers in opposition to colleges. We argue that the allocation of public funds on behalf of learners and employers should be based on procuring the services of whichever providers are best able to meet their demands effectively.

Colleges should be able to fully compete wherever they have the capacity and expertise to do so. So should independents. ALP's fight is with a funding system that does not yet offer this transparent level of contestability across the Department for Education and SkillsLearning and Skills Council funding agenda.

It is the current system we oppose, not any of the providers who are seeking to operate within it. ALP is prepared to fight for any provider who wishes to join it to ensure they have full and fair access to government workforce development funds.

Graham Hoyle Chief executive ALP

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