The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) will become an Executive Agency following a review of its status.
Skills minister John Hayes, who announced a review of the Agency and its Chief Executive on November 1, said the change is consistent with the government’s commitment to improve transparency and accountability of public services.
By definition, the move means the Agency can deliver government services, but can not set policy. Legal powers rest with the Secretary of State, but they will be delegated to the Agency for day-to-day purposes.
However, it will mean no changes to the Agency’s staff, responsibility or functions.
A statement from the minister read: “The review has concluded that the existing arrangement of a statutory post holder should be replaced with a more traditional Executive Agency model.”
He went on to say it would provide “clarity and focus to the work of the Agency” and ensure “that skills and apprenticeship programmes are delivered within an overarching strategic framework” which is set by government.
The minister said: “The SFA will continue to play a vital role in funding the education and skills training that our country needs to tackle the very real challenges that lie ahead; and the outcome of this review reflects the government’s ongoing commitment to building on the strength of the further education system, whilst ensuring rigorous accountability structures are in place.”
“We will bring forward legislation for this change as and when Parliamentary time allows.”
In response, the Agency said it welcomed the outcome of the review.
A spokesperson said: “The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) will continue to sit within the SFA, and to lead on the delivery of the apprenticeship programme, with the Agency providing a financial management and contracting service.”
The spokesperson added: “The change in status to an Executive Agency does not imply any change to the functions, responsibilities or staffing structures of the SFA or NAS.
“The SFA and the NAS will work closely with BIS to make the implementation of this policy decision as smooth as possible, and we will continue to work closely together during this period to improve the operational effectiveness of all three organisations.”