About the Author

Ken Cole
SPS Consultancy

Ken Cole has worked in senior positions in both the public and private sectors and was one of the founding Directors of SPS in 2001. He recently completed a three year secondment as Director of the London Centre of Excellence. Ken has thrilled many public and private audiences with his incisive analysis, robust delivery and his belief in 'telling it as it is'. His blog is a regular commentary of the improvement and efficiency agenda.

Make sure you pay a frequent visit to find out Ken's latest thoughts on the workings of government, the latest policy initiatives and much more...

Recent Blog Posts...

Hijacking Procurement
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Smoke and Mirrors in Whitehall!
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Jul 12, 2012
Collaboration at its best
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May 25, 2012
Latest Procurement Card Scare
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Mar 06, 2012
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
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Feb 03, 2012

Closing the National School of Government

Oct 13, 2011

As many readers will know the National School of Government - the former Civil Service College, closes in March next year. Employing 232 people and with a budget of some £31m, Ministers have deemed this "expensive residential, classroom based training" or words to that effect.

For many people that will be £31m well saved, not that it will contribute much to reducing the £4 trillion budget deficit, but then as that well known supermarket says "every little helps".

However, things are not as simple as that. I have been both a student and a visiting lecturer at the old CSC so can vouch first hand for the value of this institution. There are three things that we won't hear too much about

  1. The programmes it runs are basically unique - including providing valuable training on aspects of government procurement

  2. The NSG provides training programmes for private sector organisations and foreign governments too

  3. The NSG makes a trading profit - yes you read it  correctly (i.e. it pays for itself)

So was it all about closing an ineffective, outmoded place for "Sir Humphreys" to learn new skills? Or could it be that the NSG occupies several acres of real estate in one of the most expensive parts of leafy Surrey? No, it has to be in the interests of deficit (not debt) reduction!



National School

Fair comment Sandra about not being unique and I agree you cannot keep an organisation because of its surroundings. However, the key issue here is that the NSG has survived as an arms length trading fund and could easily prosper as a social enterprise. Let the market decide its future not politicians
Ken Cole
24/10/2011 00:00

Panic V Sense

Spot on Richard. A lot of the cost cutting measures are akin to a surgeon operating with a sword rather than a scalpel. Little consideration is being given to the longer term implications of what is being done and the future costs of remedying the situation
Ken Cole
24/10/2011 00:00

National School

Not sure about the programmes being unique, a lot of them are offered elsewhere and to a better standard. Only thing that was unique was the surroundings, but you cannot keep an organisation purely for that reason
23/10/2011 00:00

Panic v Sense

The point is that people are in panic mode trying to save money and not looking at whether an organisation is profitable or not but how it looks in the public eye - short sighted or what!!
23/10/2011 00:00

As the National School of Government is a competitor of ours in offering CIPD accredited programmes I'm not crying too much but they did a good job on you Ken!
Julie Cook
21/10/2011 00:00

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