[holding answer 26 July 2007]: I have been asked to respond to your query as it falls within my area of responsibility.
To strengthen the employer voice at the heart of the employment and skills system the UK Commission implantation project are working with the devolved administrations to establish a new UK Commission for Employment and Skills. The UK Commission will be a UK-wide body with responsibilities across each of the four nations, and for skills at all levels, as set in the Leitch review of skills: 'Prosperity for all in the global economy—world class skills'
The UK Commission will be primarily advisory, shaping strategy to achieve the Government’s world class ambitions and will not have significant executive or operational functions. Sir Michael Rake has been appointed as the chair and we are currently recruiting for a chief executive and commissioners.
The new UK Commission will open on 1 April 2008 and will incorporate those functions that the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) and National Employment Panel (NEP) currently undertake that fall under the remit and responsibility of the new organisation.
At this early stage of developments we are not yet in a position to be able to give defined numbers of staff and therefore an agreed budget.
I am of course happy to provide you with figures and numbers once these have been established and agreed with Departments and senior officials within the new UK Commission.