Headlines: October 17th, 2011

The National School for Government, the Sandhurst of the Civil Service, will close its doors in March 2012 and private companies will be invited to bid for contracts to provide non-technical training.

It is estimated that the reforms will save around £90 million a year as the Civil Service moves away from residential and classroom-based training to focus on work-based and online training.

The National School for Government started its life as the Civil Service College in 1970. In 1999 it became part of the Centre for Management and Policy Studies.

Much of the role of the School will be taken over by Civil Service Learning which was set up by the Home Office in April 2011. CS Learning will buy in training from a range of private sector companies to provide most of the training formerly available from the School. It will also buy in training for other departments and its greater purchasing power is expected to dive down prices. An audit of learning products in 2009 showed that there were over 250 different leadership courses on offer in government departments, using 52 framework contracts with suppliers.

Business specific training will remain the responsibility of the relevant department, which will retain learning and evelopment resources to meet this need. There will be a greater emphasis on e-learning which increased by 76 per cent in 2010-11. Line manager involvement in training will also be stepped up.