Thursday 26 April 2018

Troubled, yes, but FAS will be hard to replace

A week is a long time in politics, but a couple of decades are nothing to the "permanent government" in the civil service. As with changes to the health service, the announcements yesterday about the abolition of the training agency FAS look worryingly like a return to structures widely held to have failed 30 years ago.

They also continue a practice which one hoped the new Coalition might begin to alter -- government by ministerial decree. There has been no analysis of what went wrong in FAS; no proper discussion of alternatives and reforms; merely a briefing by Minister Ruairi Quinn which raised more questions.

The FAS concept had many advantages. It was a broad based, specialist organisation with a remit which theoretically could allow it identify the training and skill needs of both the economy in general and communities in particular, and build up the expertise to provide or procure them.

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