Central planning agency need not rule out diversity

October 26, 1995

Your leader (THES, October 20) rejects the call for a central higher education planning agency. You are surely right to doubt the efficacy of the proposal; but you seemed to have missed the main point.

There already exists an agency responsible for "an overarching strategy dovetailing policies for education training and employment with policies for industrial development". It is called the Department for Education and Employment!

It may yet be too early to judge whether the newly merged department will do better than its separate predecessors or if liaison with the Department of Trade and Industry will be more effective.

Whatever the structures, the bottom line responsibility for spending public money effectively in the national interest rests with the Government. If there are political or managerial failures at this level throwing yet another quango at the problem is unlikely to make a difference.

Alan Parker

Education officer Association of Metropolitan Authorities

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