On 8 January, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development announced that they were to conduct a review of the Government’s overseas scholarship schemes. The review’s aims were to build on the triennial reviews of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, and examine those schemes together with the Chevening scholarship programme to assess:
Whether there was scope for further efficiencies and synergies across the schemes;
If so, what alterations in structure, administration or delivery might realise those improvements;
The extent to which efficiencies have already been put in place in recent years.
The review is now complete, and copies are available in the Libraries of both Houses. Its main recommendation is that the three schemes should continue, but should sit side by side in a single FCO-sponsored NDPB, as a UK Government Scholarship Commission responsible for advising on and implementing UK Government scholarship strategy.
We endorse the review’s recommendations on the direction of travel: bringing better alignment of overall scholarships strategy, funding, partnership development, and alumni engagement, between the three programmes. We agree in principle to the main recommendations but recognise that there are legitimate questions about how best this alignment should be implemented while respecting the individual character of each scheme.
We therefore propose that further work should be undertaken, bringing all parties together to look more closely at the detail of the governance options that will protect the brands and objectives of each scheme.
The outcome of this second phase of the review will be completed in August and published and placed in the Libraries of both Houses in September 2015.
Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament.uk/writtenstatements