Connexions Card

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A typical Connexions Card

The Connexions Card was a smart card for 16- to 19-year-olds in England for rewarding students who turned up to lessons, work-based training and other activities with points that could be redeemed for discounts on consumer goods listed on the Connexions website,[1] bus journeys[2] or suitable goods in local retailers.[3]

The seven-year contract to run the Connexions Card was won by Capita,[4] signed in July 2001,[5] and operated as a Public-Private Partnership with a budget of £109million.[6]

The scheme flopped[7] and was terminated in the summer of 2006[8] with a saving of £23million.[9] Over the course of its operation, from its roll-out in early 2002 to its conclusion, one million cards had been issued[10] but only 145,947 had ever been used.[11] (183 million[11] out of 1.6 billion points[12] had been redeemed.)

An official evaluation of the programme completed in September 2004[13] concluded that the programme had fallen far short of its aims (e.g. 1.7 million young people using the card in a steady state) and there was no clear evidence of a direct impact on attitudes to attendance, learning or career choices. Indeed, the only young people to use the cards were those who didn't have a problem in the first place.[13] The inflexible contract with Capita was also singled out as a barrier to targeting the product more effectively. And, as predicted,[14] the system where students had to swipe their cards through a reader connected to Capita's central database at the beginning of every lesson (in addition to the school keeping its own attendance register) was a disaster.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Monbiot, George (8 January 2002). "The Corporate Takeover of Childhood". The Guardian. 
  2. ^ Tony McNulty (28 October 2003). "Transport - Bus Services". Hansard. 
  3. ^ "Northumberland County Council Press Release Archives - Support For Connexions Card". 20 January 2004. 
  4. ^ Ivan Lewis (18 July 2001). "Education and Skills - Connexions Card". Hansard. 
  5. ^ Beverley Hughes MP (22 May 2006). "Education and Skills - Connexions". Hansard. 
  6. ^ Ivan Lewis MP. "Education and Skills - PFI/PPPs". Hansard. 
  7. ^ Henry, Julie; Wignall, Hannah (11 June 2006). "Students' reward card flop earned Capita £66m". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  8. ^ Jim Knight MP (19 December 2006). "Education and Skills - Public Finance Contracts". Hansard. 
  9. ^ Parmjit Dhanda MP. "Education and Skills - Connexions". Hansard. 
  10. ^ Beverley Hughes MP (5 May 2006). "Education and Skills - Connexions". Hansard. 
  11. ^ a b Parmjit Dhanda MP (22 January 2007). "Education and Skills - Connexions Cards". Hansard. 
  12. ^ Parmjit Dhanda MP (22 January 2007). "Education and Skills - Connexions Cards". Hansard. 
  13. ^ a b c John Rodger and Georgina Cowen (27 January 2005). "National Evaluation of Connexions Card". York Consulting Ltd. 
  14. ^ Beckett, Francis (8 October 2002). "Points mean prizes". London: The Guardian.