Today my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (John Denham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I am drawing the attention of the House to a factual error of reporting in relation to the number of employers who have voluntarily made the Skills Pledge to support the upskilling of their employees.
On 12 December 2007 the House was informed by David Lammy, Minister for Skills within the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, that the number of employees covered by the voluntary pledge was 3.1 million, based on information from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Incorrect figures were used in a small number of other instances in reply to Members' Questions and in another place. However, I was informed on Friday 14 December by the LSC that the correct figure is 2.3 million and that the mistake was due to a computer programming error which has now been detected and rectified. The LSC has confirmed that the number of employers making the skills pledge (630) was correct. I apologise to the House unreservedly for this inadvertent error. I am also writing to Members who were given the incorrect figure.
The LSC's internal quality assurance processes identified this programming error. However, I have asked the LSC chief executive to ensure through a rigorous review of his organisation's information and reporting systems that there is no recurrence of this problem. This review will report to me in January 2008 as part on my ongoing considerations on the future leadership and management of the Skills Pledge and its contribution to making the skills of the workforce world class.