ADD2224 Adult Education Budget (AEB) Provision in the London area

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2224
Date signed: 
05 July 2018
Decision by: 
Michelle Cuomo-Boorer, Assistant Director - Skills and Employment

Executive summary

In preparation for devolution of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) to the Mayor in 2019/20, the GLA is building an evidence base to support decision-making. To help understand current and past AEB spend in London we are seeking to commission analyses of recent AEB provision.

Approval is sought to spend up to £49,000. Circa £10,000 is for phase 2 analysis (phase 1 already having been completed), to be completed over the following weeks. A further circa £34,000 will fund additional externally conducted analyses undertaken over the rest of the year.

This decision includes £5,250 for previous analysis (phase 1), approved by a Delegated Authority Record (DAR), in March 2017.

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Skills and Employment approves:

Expenditure of up to £49,000 to fund external research into AEB spend and provision. Of this, £43,750 will be new expenditure, with the remainder previously approved through a Delegated Authority Record.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) will be delegated to the Mayor in 2019/20. The GLA are developing a Skills for Londoners Framework which will set out in detail the GLA’s approach to commissioning the Adult Education Budget (AEB). On an ongoing basis, the GLA will need to make decisions with a solid evidence base. To build this evidence base, analysis of Individualised Learner Record (ILR) data will be required and, in common with other devolution areas, the GLA will work with specialists with experience of analysing ILR data.

By commissioning an external organisation to access the data, the GLA will be able to quickly analyse a range of topics such as sub-contracting, out of area provision, as well as produce a London database of learning aims that have been funded. This ADD seeks approval for up to £49,000 for such analysis, which will be committed in three phases.

• A first phase of analysis was conducted in March 2017, and has been approved through a Delegated Authority Record. This analysis was worth £5250 (£6,300 including VAT) and was funded by the Department for Education. It provided high level information about the AEB, including Adult and Community Learning, as well as Advanced Learner Loans.
• A second phase of analysis worth £9,800 will begin in June 2018. This will provide a range of supplementary analysis of AEB from the current supplier and following on from phase one.
• Finally, in July 2018 the GLA will invite organisations to tender for further research and analysis on Individualised Learner Record data. Procurement will be ongoing with detailed specifications informed by the outcomes of any prior analyses.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The project involves analysis of Individualised Learner Record (ILR) and possibly other data. Consultants may need to apply to the Education and Skills Funding Agency for ILR data, and when in receipt conduct analysis that feeds into the development AEB devolution policy, such as the development of Funding Rules and other programme documentation.

The first phase outlined above provided a summary of AEB provision in London in 2015/16. This included high level information about providers, learners and the types of learning aims delivered.

The second phase provides more detailed information about subjects such as

• Sub-contracting;
• In-year retention and achievement rates;
• Community learning; and
• Detailed analysis of learning aims delivered.

The third phase will require a flexible arrangement, inviting prospective researchers to make proposals about the most effective research methodology to address the questions arising from the outputs and outcomes of the first two phases.

The outputs for further research are likely to compromise of an executive summary, and supporting data and evidence that will address the specifications developed by the Funding Policy and Systems team. The research undertaken should have clear conclusions that the GLA will consider in developing future policy proposals.

All future projects commissioned will be evaluated on best value for money and will be assessed on the basis of:

• Overall cost
• The extent to which tenders are clearly written and meet the specified objectives, present a sound methodology, identifying any potential problems and proposing suitable solutions.
• Address outputs and ensure these are in line with requirements and the required of the project.

No action will be taken until specifications are clear and expressions of interest can be adequately assessed.

Equality comments

The analysis is to support the development AEB devolution policy and will explicitly examine how AEB funding can be targeted at groups most in need of support, including those with protected characteristics.

Other considerations

Risks

The primary risk is that the analysis required to underpin AEB devolution is not available in a timely fashion. Given the complexity of the data we have determined that commissioning ILR analysis externally, through an organisation already expert in using this data is a necessary requirement.

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The research links to several of the Mayor’s manifesto commitments including to:

• Develop a city-wide, strategic approach to skills, identifying gaps in provision.
• Seek a devolution deal over further education which recognises the strategic importance of a London-wide approach to FE, aligned with the needs of employers and students.
• Support the development of, and protect schemes which expand opportunities for people with disabilities to work and gain skills.

Impact assessments and consultations

The Skills and Employment Unit is working closely with other relevant teams, including GLA Economics and Regeneration, to determine the analysis that is required.

Financial comments

Phase 1 of this initiative was funded from the AEB Implementation Budget for 2017-18

The remaining estimated costs for this initiative will be funded from the AEB Implementation budget for 2018-19.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Phase 2 project - Entering contract

July 2018

Phase 2 project - Delivery start date

July 2018

Phase 3 project – procurement begins

July 2018

Phase 3 project – Delivery start date

July 2018