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Who will run the real ILAs?

There has been a rethink at the FErret's Head which opened last week under the NHS model of giving away pints free at the point of use with the Treasury picking up the tab.

The idea was that yours truly would be able to stick the leftover cash in his back pocket, in much the same way as the GPs can keep their surgeries'

"profits".

This, you will remember, is the justification given for the fact that your family doctor is "earning" up to pound;250,000-a-year.

Instead, I'm considering the Individual Learning Account business model.

This means taking people's money and serving short measures. Under the ILAs scheme training providers were able to get at funds set aside for "account holders" - Joe Public - by pretending to provide training.

What ministers would like us to forget, of course, is that many more training providers managed to fleece the system by providing training - or training materials - which were sub-standard.

ILAs were administered by Capita. But which company will get the contract for the replacement - presumably to be known as the Real ILA - once it has come into being?

Skills minister Phil Hope was challenged on this point in the Commons this week.

Gordon Marsden asked the skills minister: "Can we assume that it will not be Capita?"

Phil Hope said: "I think we can say that we haven't made any choices yet, but we are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past."

Surely the Government isn't blaming Capita for thinking up the flawed ILA scheme?

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