Training support programme funds are to be fully disbursed

Training body TOPSS has welcomed a Department of Health pledge
to spend the full Training Support Programme (TSP) grant in line
with the training strategy.

Each year, £1 million is top-sliced from the grant for the
learning materials development programme. The TSP itself is
top-sliced from the total standing spending assessment budget for
social services to support training initiatives.

However, TOPSS had expressed concerns that the £1 million
fund was being used as “a bit of a slush fund” for the DoH.

“It was seen as the [section head’s] project money,” said TOPSS
England manager Andrea Rowe. “We have given the department criteria
that would make it fit the training strategy. But they have been
very slow to actually do that.”

A DoH official insisted that the TSP section maintain overall
control of project funding and ensure it was “spent properly”.

“Projects that are proposed for funding through the Learning
Materials Development Programme of the TSP grant are considered
first by the TSP steering group… and then by the relevant
committees within TOPSS,” she said. “The TSP section then makes the
final decision to fund a project using the advice that they have
been given.”

Rowe said that TOPSS had put in a bid for £100,000 of this
year’s learning materials development fund for supporting materials
for the new National Occupational Standards.

“We have got funding from the curriculum authority to develop
[the national occupational standards],” Rowe said. “But they won’t
fund publication, nor guidance for management. We thought this
would be a good use of the money.”

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