Headlines: August 4th, 2006



The Improvement and Development Agency has sold its e-learning service for local authorities to the private sector in a deal it says is designed to improve continual development of Learning Pool for its local authority subscribers. It will now be run by Agility Consulting which has set up an independent company called Learning Pool Limited to run the business.Since its conception in 2001 IDeA Learning Pool has been incubated by the Agency and now has more than 90 subscribers and provides access not just to learning tailored to meet the needs of local government but also opportunities for those subscribers to collaborate and gain from economies of scale.

Caroline Mikardo, IDeA’s Director of Resources, said, “We were keen to find a company to take Learning Pool forward who understood the unique challenges facing local government. I am delighted that Learning Pool Limited will be developing Learning Pool, not just as a commercial success, but as an integrated tool to help local authorities improve their services.”

She added that in recent years the commercial e-Iearning market had matured and there were new opportunities to exploit the technology as part of the government’s improvement agenda. Local government sector currently spends about 300 million pounds a year on training and it is predicted that by 2008 more than half the learning in the UK will be done electronically or via the Internet.

Learning Pool Limited was selected from a shortlist of six companies. Agility Consulting, which will be the major shareholder and driving force behind the venture, has a reputation for providing high quality technology and business advisory services to public sector clients. It has managed the successful delivery of projects for the Local Government Association and for the Department for Communities and Local Government in the areas of shared service and e-government. Agility director Mary McKenna said the move presented an opportunity for the company to help local government in innovative ways.

“We see e-Iearning as an important part of the blend of helping local authorities to improve how they do their business and develop their people. In time, we hope that Learning Pool will be the logical place for local government to start building their whole training and leadership strategies,” she said. The new business has taken on the core team from Learning Pool.