MD2498 Adult Education Budget Assurance Framework
From August 2019, the Mayor will be responsible for the commissioning, delivery and management of London’s AEB allocation. In order to provide assurance to HM Government, stakeholders and the public that the GLA has in place the necessary processes to manage the AEB programme effectively, an AEB Assurance Framework has been drafted.
That the Mayor:
Approves the Adult Education Budget Assurance Framework (see Appendix A) for publication.
Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice
MD2255 Devolution of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) to the Mayor provides further information on the Mayor’s decision to accept the AEB functions.
In preparation for delegation of the AEB functions, the GLA was required to meet six readiness conditions to demonstrate to the Secretary of State for Education that the GLA was prepared to carry out these functions effectively. As a part of submission to the Department for Education (DfE) setting out how the readiness conditions would be met, the GLA made a voluntary commitment to publish an Assurance Framework that sets out the processes and procedures put in place to manage the AEB effectively, supporting the GLA’s commitment to openness and transparency.
The AEB Assurance Framework builds on the National Local Growth Assurance Framework for Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) with a single pot funding arrangement and Local Enterprise Partnerships. Due to the unique arrangements in place for managing the AEB in London, management of the AEB programme does not fall within the remit of this guidance and therefore the GLA is not required to publish an Assurance Framework. Nevertheless, to provide the same assurances as required by other areas, the GLA has committed to doing so.
The Assurance Framework has also taken into consideration MOPAC internal audit requirements and further Guidance for the Mayor of London and Greater London Authority (the “London Guidance”) which was written by DfE in consultation with the GLA. This guidance ensures that funding and provider management arrangements are agreed by the Mayor with providers in a way that minimises costs and maximises consistency and transparency.
The draft AEB Assurance Framework was endorsed by the AEB Mayoral Board at its meeting on 11 July 2019 and will be published to the GLA website once it has been formally approved by Mayoral Decision (MD).
This decision is being sought via MD as, due to the delegation arrangements in place for AEB, all formal AEB decisions are reserved for the personal exercise of the Mayor only under the Mayoral Decision-Making in the Greater London Authority protocol and cannot be delegated further.
The AEB Assurance Framework has been based on the requirements of the readiness conditions set by DfE and contains the following chapters:
1. Governance and decision making;
2. Financial Assurance and Auditing;
3. Data Management;
4. AEB Policy: Funding Rules and Learner Eligibility;
5. Commissioning and Managing Procured Provision; and
6. Grant Funded Provision.
The AEB Assurance Framework will be reviewed and updated annually, or sooner if required, However, updates that are factual and in line with national policy or decisions already considered by the Mayor will be made by the Board Secretary on an ongoing basis to ensure it remains up to date.
The GLA initially committed to publishing the Framework in spring 2019. However, it was agreed at the Skills for Londoners Programmes Board and noted at the AEB Mayoral Board in April 2019 that publication would be delayed to July 2019 to include details of audit and intervention arrangements that were not available at the time, and to ensure it aligned with MOPAC internal audit requirements and the London Guidance.
MOPAC have confirmed that the AEB Programme will be a part of its internal audit programme for the GLA 2019/20. Officers have met with MOPAC auditors to understand the audit requirements and to ensure the AEB Assurance Framework meets internal audit requirements.
In carrying out any functions in respect of the AEB, the Mayor will comply with the public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.
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 Assurance Framework includes a Diversity and Inclusion section which references the Mayor’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and states how implementation of the AEB promotes equal opportunities.
Delivering the AEB will support the Mayor’s vision to ensure that all Londoners and businesses gain the skills they need to succeed as set out in the Skills for Londoners’ Strategy. It aims to meet the strategy’s three aims:
• 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 Assurance Framework sets out robust governance arrangements for managing the AEB to minimise any programme risks. The GLA’s publishing of an over-arching framework setting out the GLA’s approach to decision making, transparency, audit, value for money and engagement can give stakeholders confidence that any decisions are proper, evidence-based and capable of being independently scrutinised.
There are no direct financial implications to the GLA arising from this report. The Assurance Framework provides the basis for robust governance of the programme and the GLA’s commitment to openness and transparency in policy and decision-making relating to the Adult Education budget.
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.
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.
The Assurance Framework the Mayor’s approval of which is sought includes: Governance and Decision Making; Financial Assurance and Auditing; Data Management; Funding Rules and Learner Eligibility; Commissioning and Managing Procured Provision; and Grant Funded Provision. These are matters which it is proper for such a document to cover.
Publish the Assurance Framework
Assurance Framework annual review
July 2020 (or sooner if required)