NHS Individual Learning Accounts and Contracted Staffs Access

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2003 Health Care Service Group Conference
1 December 2002

In recent years the government as part of its life long learning initiative introduced NHS individual learning accounts. These accounts are available to any NHS employee who does not hold a relevant professional work related qualification. The account is worth £150.00 and can be used to provide work-related learning. The learning opportunity can be provided either by an in-house team or an external provider but must be aimed at helping the individual to achieve work or personal objectives.

The NHS ILA’s are only open to NHS employees, however due to the contracting out of many ancillary sector staff a great number of the target group are excluded from accessing the scheme. This initiative discriminates against the very group of staff who could arguably benefit the most. The current system does not provide equal access to learning and development across the whole workforce and once again highlights the two-tier system of employment that operates within the NHS. These staff and unison members did not ask to be contracted out, they in many cases have a sense of pride and loyalty to the NHS and stay employed by the contractors for this reason alone.

We urge Unisons Health Executive:

·To negotiate with the Department of Health to allow NHS ILA’s to be accessed by any contracted member of staff who fits the criteria in line with directly employed staff;

·Continue to work in partnership with WEA to provide a variety of suitable learning opportunities.


This would be a starting point in building an inclusive workforce and a move away from a two-tier system.