“I visited many Business Link centres, which I understand are funded in some way by government although I am not at all clear how. To be frank, apart from meeting a nice bunch of people, there was no real business advice dished out other than simple stuff you could pick up and learn for yourself on the Internet.”
Lord Sugar. House of Lords Debate, Hansard (24th March 2011)
In 1999, the Government demanded Business Link Operators address “people quality” issues, stating clearly that failure to do so would result in cancellation of contracts.
Doubts and criticism about the people at the heart of the service would continue without respite for the next 12 years.
Chapter 6 completes a nuts and bolts appraisal on the experience and skills of the advisers tasked by Government to help small and medium sized businesses. Commonly held myths are challenged with fact. Vocal critics are named and their claims investigated.
The Chapter closes with a critique of the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative, the Government’s multi-million pound investment and ill fated attempt to introduce national quality standards for advisers.