UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (National): John Lewis Partnership Chairman Appointed to lead UK Commission

Press Release   •   Nov 17, 2010 11:10 GMT

Business secretary Vince Cable today announced that Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, has been appointed to lead and reform the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

UKCES is the Non-Departmental Public Body tasked with helping to improve employment and skills provision across the UK.

The appointment follows the Cabinet Office’s recent report on Public Bodies and the ongoing review of the UK Commission led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The review acknowledges that the independence of the UK Commission makes it a valuable source of expert advice to government, and that it should be slimmed down and refocused.

Charlie Mayfield succeeds Sir Mike Rake, Chairman of BT, who has chaired the UK Commission for Employment and Skills since its inception in 2008.

Dr Cable said:

“It is vitally important for any government to have access to high-quality, impartial advice and information. That is why I am happy to confirm the UK Commission for Employment and Skills will continue to advise Government on the country’s skills needs and demands, maintain its work in producing high quality labour market information and oversee both Investors in People and the employer-led Sector Skills Councils.

“Charlie has a wealth of experience at the very top of British business, in a company known for its exemplary motivation of staff, and this places him in a strong position to guide and lead the UK Commission. I would like to thank Sir Mike Rake for his tireless and visionary leadership and the immense contribution he has made to the UK’s employment and skills system over the past two and a half years.”

Charlie Mayfield said:

“I genuinely believe that the UK is a sleeping giant in respect of its skills and employment policies. There is so much potential to improve our skills, our productivity and our economy to create a fairer society. So I am looking forward to playing my part by leading the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in its goal to raise prosperity and opportunity by helping to develop world-class employment and skills systems.”

Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning minister, John Hayes, said:

“This Government has put together one of the most ambitious strategies for skills to date, and the work of the UK Commission will support the Government’s drive for growth in the economy and for rebalancing the relative scale of investment in adult skills being made by individuals, business and the State.

“Sir Mike has done a tremendous job in setting up the Commission and advising government on the delivery of skills and training. I am confident that Charlie Mayfield, with his experience at the top of one of the country’s leading business, will carry on this excellent work and play a leading role in refocusing the UKCES and the reform of Sector Skills Councils.”

Notes to editors

1. Charlie Mayfield’s role as chair of UKCES will start with immediate effect.

2. The Cabinet Office Review of Public Bodies described the UKCES as ‘Under Consideration’. The Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), has agreed to report back to Francis Maude by mid-December on the functions and structure of a refocused and slimmed down UKCES.

3. The process of appointing a new Chair to the UKCES to succeed Sir Mike Rake as Chair of the UKCES was delayed until the Cabinet Office Review of Public Bodies was published and the CSR process complete. The appointment of Charlie Mayfield as the new Chair of the UKCES has been endorsed by Ian Duncan Smith, DWP; UKCES joint sponsors; and Francis Maude of the Cabinet Office. It is also endorsed by the UKCES co-sponsors’ Ministers representing HMT, the Department for Education and the Devolved Administrations.

4. A refocused UKCES remit will change from being a top down advisory body to one that will work with employers, trade unions, the voluntary sector and other public organisations. It will aim to raise employer ambition, develop employer-led initiatives - such as the introduction of occupational and professional standards -, and deliver sector skills needs through SSCs and other sectoral groups.

5. For further information contact Alex Curling, Head of Press, UKCES on 01709 774890 /Alex.curling@ukces.org.uk or Jo Fletcher, BIS press office, on 020 7215 5951.

6. BIS' online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. Seehttp://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom for more information.

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