Hammond, Michael John (2012) Why the Sector Skills Agreement (2003-2008) failed to deliver employer led curriculum development. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This study examines the Sector Skills Agreement (SSA) policy initiative, which was instigated by the „New Labour‟ Government in 2003. The policy was intended to create an employer demand-led system of curriculum development for education and training in the Learning and Skills Sector within the United Kingdom. Sector Skills Councils (SSC) were tasked with implementing this policy initiative. This study explores the reasons why the SSA policy initiative failed to achieve the ambitions that the Government had for it. The methodology utilised by this study was grounded in reflexivity, with the author acting as a participant/key informant in the primary data collection. The primary data underpinning this study was obtained predominantly from email correspondence and was complemented by documents emanating from the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) and the governments‟ of the devolved nations‟ of the UK and the then nine English regions, as well as the SSCs. The study argues that existing theorisations of policy fail to grasp the complexity of the processes surrounding the development of SSAs and consequently need to be developed further. Neo-pluralism provides a vehicle to advance theoretical understandings of policy processes in general and the SSA process in particular. The study concludes that a number of issues resulted in the failure of the SSA process, key amongst which was the involvement of the devolved nations and English regions of the UK in this process, whereby these constituencies appropriated the SSA to serve their own agendas, which were not those of the national government.

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