Andy Gardner 17th May 2018
“It’s not Rocket Science, and it’s about 20 years since I was Chairman of the careers company in Tyneside, and technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now, but we had outcomes data for 10,000 young people, and we knew where they were and what cohort they were in.” Ian Mearns MP
On the morning of Wednesday 16th May 2018, the Education Parliamentary committee interrogated Claudia Harris and Christine Hodgson from the Careers and Enterprise Company about their work (they probably needed a stiff drink and a lie down afterwards as it was so unforgiving).
The questioning was rigorous and many of the comments were extremely critical. Below are some examples of what they had to deal with.
A constant throughout the questioning and comments, was a lack of detail about outcomes and knowledge about what young people are doing. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but until 2011 we had a machinery for tracking and helping young people on a practical, one-to-one level and that was the Careers Service/Connexions Service. See this report from 2015, which shows a clear link between those local authorities that had kept open local public Careers Offices and them having much better tracking of NEET data and better helping NEET data compared to those local authorities who had closed their public service.
Trudy Harrison MP
“To me it would seem like a fairly simple project to understand where the highest levels of youth unemployment are, and that would be the target area, and the measure of your success would be that the measure of youth employment had improved. Do you have any evidence of that?”
“What is a cold spot? How have the number of NEETs reduced in the areas that you are working? If you don’t know that, then that really concerns me?”
Lucy Allan MP
“You know that the young people that you have helped have ended up in employment, is that right? So at the moment, over the last three years, where you have engaged with young people through third parties, you haven’t followed where that young person has gone? Surely these young people could be tracked quite easily? How do you measure the quality of those employer encounters? Who else is performing a scrutiny role of your activities?”
“Why do you keep turning down money for groups like National Careers Week who are so successful?”
“Huge focus on inputs and not on what happens at the end.”
“These are just Think Tank reports that any organisation could do.”
“You are not clear on transparency issues.”
“I find this incomprehensible, why decisions are made and how they are made.”
“From all parties on this committee there is clear frustration with some of the work you do, though I’m sure there are some good things you do.”
“You are not quite sure what you are for, are you a delivery organisation like the National Careers Service or are you like the Education Endowment Foundation who are there to support best practice. There is a sense that this has become an overbloated Quango that is not doing either of these jobs particularly well”
“You can’t even come to this committee and explain the impact of what you are doing?”
“Should your salaries be benchmarked against the NCS?”
“Do you think OFSTED should be looking at what you are doing?”
“I don’t think you can convey what your actual purpose is and what the impact is!”
You don’t have anyone on your board who can drill down into your data.
“I’m not convinced by anything I’ve heard this morning that we know what the outcomes of the young people you are dealing with are!”
“An encounter means what?”
“Why are you and Gatsby both producing guides on how to implement the benchmarks?”
“How can we properly assess the outcomes for the money that has been invested in this programme are delivering, unless we know that there are tangible benefits for the young people that are engaged in these programmes.”
“It’s not Rocket Science, and it’s about 20 years since I was Chairman of the careers company in Tyneside, and technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now, but we had outcomes data for 10,000 young people, and we knew where they were and what cohort they were in.”