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Paper 7 - 2 June 2000

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

2 June 2000

LEARNING AND SKILLS COUNCIL FOR HAMPSHIRE AND THE ISLE OF WIGHT

Report by the Chief Executive of Rushmoor Borough Council and

the HIOW Policy Manager

RECOMMENDATIONS

(1) That the importance of local authority collaboration with the new Learning and Skills Councils (LSCs) be recognised; and

(2) That Members consider the question of local authority participation on the local LSC.

SUMMARY

A new Learning and Skills Council is being established for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. This will take over responsibility currently held by the Education Funding Council, the Training and Enterprise Councils and some current local authority functions. The LSC will have significant local powers in relation to further education and training. Close collaboration with local authorities will be essential if the Government's aims in this reorganisation are to be achieved.

BACKGROUND

1. HIOW considered the White Paper on post 16 Education at its meeting in Portsmouth Guildhall last July. At that time Members decided to press, through the Local Government Association, for the following points to be taken into account:

(1) the importance of local skills and learning arrangements to be accountable to local democratic processes;

(2) the need for skills, learning and business support arrangements to be integrated into sound local governance;

(3) the need for adequate local funding to be provided following the demise of the Training and Enterprise Councils.

Members also expressed their misgivings over the proposals for such a large sub-region as Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to have only a single local LSC.

2. The Government's proposals are now to be implemented in the Learning and Skills Bill. Subject to Parliament, this will come into effect from April 2001. In this area, there will be a new local LSC for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to be based in Fareham although the exact address has yet to be announced.

3. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight LSC will be one of only two LSCs within the country with a satellite base, the other being Devon and Cornwall. The local satellite will be based at Newport on the Isle of Wight.

THE NATIONAL LSC

4. From April 2001 the national LSC will take on the training functions of the current Training and Enterprise Council (TEC) network and the funding responsibilities of the Further Education Funding Council. The LSC will have an annual budget of over 6 billion and responsibility for funding around six million learners each year in England. The LSC will be responsible for the funding, planning and quality assurance of:

Further Education sector colleges;
school sixth forms;
work-based training for young people;
workforce development;
adult and community education
information, advice and guidance for adults
education - business links

THE LOCAL LSCs

5. The local LSCs will be responsible for ensuring that the needs of local communities, businesses and individuals are reflected and met through LSC-funded provision, and for delivering the national priorities and policies at local level. They will have real decision making authority and flexibility. They will determine the allocations of LSC funding locally and deploy significant local discretionary budgets, including funds to drive up the quality of local provision and to support local initiatives which would not otherwise attract mainstream funding. A typical local LSC will be responsible for annual budgets of 100 million and for funding 100,000 learners in its locality.

6. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight LSC will be one of the largest in the country and 50% larger than the average LSC. It is expected to have an annual budget of over 150m.

7. It is also interesting to note that there are currently 450 Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges in the country. 5% of the total, amounting to 22 colleges, will be within the local Hampshire and Isle of Wight LSC area.

8. Local LSCs will also develop local workforce development plans building on the work undertaken by TECs. These plans will direct local action to encourage employers, particularly small firms, to invest in developing their workforce and promote the business benefits of this, including recognition through the Investors in People Standard. It is intended that the LSC will work closely with South East England Development Agency, local authorities, local learning partnerships, the youth and careers services, the Small Business Service and others.

MEMBERSHIP OF THE LSC

9. "To ensure that business needs are at the heart of the LSC arrangements, and that they are consumer driven", at least 40 per cent of the members of the LSC, both nationally and

locally, and the national Chair and the majority of the local Chairs, will be people with substantial recent business or commercial experience. "The National Council and local LSCs will each include a senior figure to reinforce the important links between LSCs and regional development agencies." This will be particularly important with the integration of skills strategies and planning.

10. It is expected that the national and local LSCs will have members who understand the needs of:

local communities through local authority and voluntary sector experience;
employees, through trade union representation;
young people;
people with special needs and learning difficulties or those with disabilities;
adult and community learning; and
people who face discrimination.

Despite this "expectation", there is no specific power for the local authorities to nominate a Member to the local LSC. "It will also be important that learning providers are represented, including people with experience of working in a senior capacity in the schools, further and higher education, and private and voluntary training provider sectors."

NEXT STEPS

11. Under the current timetable the Chairmen designates are expected to be announced between the middle and end of June. The Chairmen designates together with Government Offices and an "independent body" will then seek, by the end of July, to appoint Executive Directors for each of the local LSCs. It is currently expected that advertisements will be placed for Board Members by early autumn and these will need to include individuals with local authority and voluntary sector expertise.

CONCLUSION

12. The creation of an LSC will have a significant impact on further education and sixth form colleges within the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area. Colleges have hitherto been autonomous as corporations but will in future be more directly controlled and influenced by the LSCs. Given the size of its budget and the importance of the Learning agenda the LSC will have a significant impact on the local economy and it will be essential to ensure appropriate local authority involvement with the Boards.

ANDREW LLOYD
Chief Executive, Rushmoor Borough Council

NICK GOULDER
Policy Manager

Date: 23 May 2000
Annex: 0
Contact: Andrew Lloyd - 01252 398397
Nick Goulder - 023 8068 8431, E-mail hiowlang@hants.gov.uk

Last update: 06/10/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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