I was at a meeting last week with some senior BIS personnel talking about various post election scenarios for the business support programme. The consensus was that where possible we MUST try to avoid politicians wishing to overload us with initiatives, constantly change programmes after a short period and discarding good programmes for the sake of change.
When looking at what has worked well and what has not there are obviously areas where people will disagree but the general consensus was:
– A scheme which incorporates the best of the Enterprise Allowance Scheme and start up training is effective and can be a no cost option with benefit savings
– The brokerage element of Business Link is variable and not proven to be effective and could be dropped
– The Business Link website is a good resource and should be maintained but it is not for all and a 1-1 advice service is required
– The New Deal for the Self Employed was good and should be brought back – not incorporated into a single New Deal pot. It was shown that it has a 400% pay back in benefits saved.
So any incoming minister has the chance to put his or her stamp on the enterprise agenda but would be wise to look at the past for guidance for the future. He/she would be a hero to the industry if they also pledged that any changes were for the term of a parliament and would be given the chance to succeed!
Wishful thinking perhaps?