MD2463 Skills for Londoners Framework Consultation 2020/21
Following on from the publication of the Skills for Londoners Framework in November 2018, which set out the implementation plans for the Adult Education Budget (AEB) for the academic year 2019-20, the GLA is planning to consult on changes to the AEB for Year 2 (2020-21).
A consultation paper will be published in April 2019. The findings will be used to inform potential changes to the AEB Funding and Performance Management Rules in 2020-21 and beyond, as well as supporting the ongoing development of the Mayor’s long-term vision for skills in the capital and the London Local Industrial Strategy.
That the Mayor approves for publication the Skills for Londoners Framework consultation on proposed changes to the Adult Education Budget in Year 2 (2020-21) and future years.
Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice
From August 2019, the Mayor will be responsible for the commissioning, delivery and management of London’s Adult Education Budget (AEB) allocation. The delegation of functions letter and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department for Education (DfE) were agreed and signed by the Mayor in January 2019 under MD2410.
The AEB covers skills provision for learners aged 19+ including Adult and Community Learning. It is delivered by a range of different provider types including general FE colleges, local authorities, independent training providers, sixth form colleges and universities.
Since 2017, City Hall has consulted extensively with providers and stakeholders on the future of London’s skills system. The Mayor is committed to ongoing engagement with the sector on how to improve London’s skills system, including through an annual consultation.
As part of the preparation for the delegation of the AEB to the Mayor in 2019-20, the GLA published the Skills for Londoners Framework in November 2018, following a five-week consultation in July-August 2018. Approved under MD2389, the Framework outlined how the Mayor would support the delivery of the objectives of the Skills for Londoners (SfL) Strategy, which was published in June 2018. It set out the implementation plans for the AEB, as well as the European Social Fund (ESF) and the SfL Capital Fund.
To build on the proposals set out in the Framework and to plan for any potential changes to the AEB in Year 2 (2020-21) and future years, a consultation paper will be published in April 2019. The paper (attached at Appendix A) will pose a number of questions relating to potential changes to the AEB. The findings from the consultation, which will run for approximately four weeks, will be used to inform potential changes to the AEB funding rules, as well as supporting the ongoing development of the Mayor’s long-term vision for skills in the capital and the London Local Industrial Strategy.
The consultation process will enhance the evidence base available to the Mayor on which to base future decisions on AEB policy. The consultation paper sets out 13 questions and is presented in two parts. The first section outlines potential changes to funding and reporting arrangements for the AEB, subject to impact, feasibility and cost assessments. The second section outlines AEB policy areas for further development.
The consultation will be carried out using an online survey software tool which will be published as a link on the GLA website. The consultation will be promoted through the GLA’s existing communication channels and the responses analysed by officers from the Skills and Employment Unit. A consultation summary report will be published on the GLA website in due course.
Alongside the formal consultation process, the GLA will also host a series of roundtables with key stakeholder groups on the proposed changes. Additionally, officers will continue to meet with representatives from boroughs, colleges and independent training providers to discuss the potential policy changes identified in the paper as part of the usual cycle of provider relationship management.
Any changes proposed to the AEB funding rules as a result of this consultation will be brought forward through the established governance process for the AEB, including consideration at the AEB Mayoral Board, and a further Mayoral Decision.
Section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010 provides that, in the exercise of their functions, public authorities – of whom the Mayor is one – must have due regard to the need to:
• eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act 2010;
• advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and
• foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
Relevant protected characteristics are age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
The Mayor’s Skills for Londoners Strategy sets out current disparities in employment and skills levels among different groups of Londoners. Young people, disabled adults, black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) groups and women are all disproportionately under-represented in the labour market, especially in higher-skilled, better-paid jobs. City Hall is actively considering how the Mayor’s control over the AEB can help reduce some of these gaps – including through the potential changes – and requests for input, as outlined in the attached consultation document.
Any policy changes proposed as a result of this consultation will be assessed for their equality and diversity impact prior to a final decision and implementation.
Links to Mayoral strategies
The consultation is part of the implementation of the commitments made in the the Mayor’s Skills for Londoners Strategy, to:
• Empower all Londoners to access the education and skills to participate in society and progress in education and work;
• Meet the needs of London’s economy and employers, now and in the future; and
• Deliver a strategic city-wide technical skills and adult education offer.
The principal risk associated with the Framework consultation is that there will be insufficient engagement from the provider base and wider stakeholders. This risk will be mitigated by ensuring input is received from providers through the planned programme of regular provider engagement meetings and proactive engagement with stakeholder organisations.
Personal data, for example name and contact details of consultees, will be collected through the online survey team, presenting an information security risk. This has been mitigated through obtained assurance from colleagues in the GLA’s Opinion Research team that the platform to be used complies with the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
There are no direct financial implications arising from the publication of the consultation paper on proposed changes to the administering of the Adult Education Budget from 2020-21 onwards. Any financial implications arising after the consultation, a direct result of agreed changes, including the drawing down of ESF funding will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process.
Section 39A of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 permits the delegation of ministerial functions to the Mayor, subject to certain limitations and conditions. This forms the basis for the delegation of AEB functions from the Secretary of State for Education to the Mayor. A particular limitation of a delegation under s39A is that the usual power of delegation by the Mayor is not available in respect of s39A delegated functions.
In taking the decision requested, the Mayor must have due regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. To this end, the Mayor should have particular regard to section 3 (above) of this report.
Should the Mayor be minded to make the decisions sought, officers must:
- exercise care in incurring or committing to any expenditure in reliance on delegated AEB before the grant of the same has been made, including liaison with the Department for Education to ensure that the funding may be claimed in respect of expenditure proposed; and
- to the degree that reliance is to be placed upon access to and the use of ESF funding, liaise closely with the GLA’s European Programmes Management Unit to ensure that such use is ESF compliant.
15 April – 20 May 2019
Analysis of consultation responses
May – June 2019
Publication of summary report