1.25 The new strategy should be underpinned by rich and robust information. If targets are to be set and progress towards them is to be properly monitored, reliable comparative data will be needed. Current provision needs to be fully mapped and audited so that a clearer view of needs can be secured nationally, regionally, locally and in different sectors of the economy. To achieve this, there should be close co-operation between Government, public authorities, statisticians and university-based researchers. Government should take the lead in establishing these discussions, with a view to agreeing the appropriate levels and series of data that will be necessary to support the implementation of its strategy.
1.26 We welcome the forthcoming consultation on the National Education and Training Targets. As part of that review, we recommend that further consideration be given to ways in which other forms and stages of achievement can be captured both in the Targets themselves and in the information collected to monitor progress. Many kinds of involvement in learning, levels and stages of achievement, and types of participation are not currently included in the National Targets and this should be remedied.
1.27 As they stand, the National Targets do not adequately reflect the extent of lifelong learning in this country nor, in this respect, do they act as an incentive and encouragement to further learning, which is one of the National Targets' most valuable functions. In the consultation about the Targets, we suggest that consideration also be given to establishing measures which can properly indicate progress in widening involvement in lifelong learning amongst particular social groups which are currently under-represented. Within the new Targets it should then be possible to establish appropriate regional, local and sectoral targets, making use of the improved, additional data that we recommend be collected and published.
1.28 We also believe that the time is right to review the Investors in People standard to reflect the new strategy, principles and priorities. Thought should be given to ways in which the standard can give particular encouragement to small businesses, to the development of basic and core skills amongst employees and managers and to systematic improvements in people's capacity to make use of new information technology.
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