DD2345 Skills Advisory Panel implementation funding

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2345
Date signed: 
01 April 2019
Decision by: 
Debbie Jackson, Interim Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

Skills Advisory Panels (SAPs) are a Government initiative aiming to bring together local employers and skills providers to pool knowledge on skills and labour market needs, working together to understand and address key local skills challenges.

On behalf of the Greater London Authority (GLA), the Mayor’s existing Skills for Londoners Board will lead on the SAPs work and its terms of reference will be updated to reflect the additional responsibility. Comprising public and private sector employers, local authorities, colleges and universities, the SfL Board already advises the Mayor on skills and employment priorities in London, so is already configured to support any new SAP funding and responsibilities.

Each SAP area will receive £75,000 from the Department for Education for 2019/20 to help analyse local skills needs and priorities. It is proposed that this funding pays for a specialist analyst to support the work of the SfL Board to develop an evidence base for the people strand of London’s Local Industrial Strategy submission and the Mayor’s Skills and Employment Vision for London. The post will also provide ongoing analytical support to determine London’s skills and employment needs and inform the development of skills and employment policy and programmes in London.

Decision

That the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment approves:

1. The receipt of £75,000 from the Department for Education to help analyse local skills needs and priorities as a part of the Skills Advisory Panel programme; and

2. Expenditure of the same on a dedicated skills and employment analyst to support the development of the skills and employment sections of London’s local industrial strategy and to develop the Mayor’s vision for London’s future skills system, including the respective evidence base for each of these.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Skills Advisory Panels (SAPs) are a 2017 manifesto commitment and a key initiative under Government’s Industrial Strategy to address mismatches between skills supply and employer demand more effectively. The aim of SAPs is to support new local partnerships comprising local employers, skills providers and local government to pool knowledge on skills and labour market needs, and to work together to understand and address key local challenges.

The development of SAPs also aims to strengthen the capability of local areas to understand current and future skills needs and labour market challenges in their areas, allowing them to draw up action plans to address skills issues. The Panels are also expected to provide analysis to inform the ‘People’ element of the Local Industrial Strategies (LIS) and local post-16 skills provision, so that skills provision better meets labour market needs, now and in the future.

In order to achieve this aim, the Department for Education (DfE) has agreed to provide £75,000 implementation funding to each local area for the purpose of building capacity, growing local capability sustainably and for producing high quality analysis to underpin the work of the SAP.

On behalf of GLA, the Skills for Londoners Board will take on the SAP responsibilities for London , closely supported by the Skills for Londoners Business Partnership and LEAP - the Local Enterprise Partnership for London.

The GLA’s approach to developing LIS was approved by the LEAP Board on 19 December 2018. The GLA Skills and Employment Unit and London Councils are working jointly to develop the ‘People’ section of the LIS, alongside the development of the skills and employment vision, which will set out more detailed actions to develop an integrated employment and skills offer in the capital. Expenditure of £60,000 was approved under DD2337 for consultancy services to undertake research and analysis required to develop an evidence base for the ‘People’ strands of the LIS submission and the Mayor’s Skills and Employment Vision for London. In addition, approval for funding elements of the LIS led by the Regeneration and Economic Development Unit, totalling £170,000, has been requested under cover of MD2429.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The £75,000 funding is provided for the 2019/20 financial year and will be used to:

• Fund a dedicated skills and employment analyst to support the development of the skills and employment sections of London’s LIS; and
• Develop the Mayor’s vision for London’s future skills system as well as the respective evidence base for each of these.

These two pieces of work will provide a blueprint for how the Mayor’s skills and employment programmes can deliver on the Mayor’s vision for skills and employment in the capital, together with further collaboration with central government, London’s businesses, and other partners. The implementation of this work will ensure the analysis produced by the post has a lasting impact.

As indicated above, the work will be overseen by the Skills for Londoners Board, which is taking on the role of London’s SAP, working closely with the Skills for Londoners Business Partnership and LEAP. This will ensure that the analysis produced by the post is able to influence strategic skills and employment decisions in London.

The post will sit in the GLA Economics team, working closely with the Skills and Employment Unit to support the development of employment and skills policy and programmes in London. The post will provide analysis to support the development and implementation of the Skills for Londoners Framework, which sets out the Mayor’s plans for the Adult Education Budget (AEB) and other skills and employment funding. As the SAP funding is a one-off grant, the permanent post will continue to be funded by the GLA following the expiry of these grant funds.

In order to receive the funding, the GLA was required to submit a Memorandum of Understanding to the DfE on 25 January 2019 detailing current capacity and capabilities and setting out the arrangements to use the funding to grow local analytical capability and deliver the SAP role sustainably. A draft grant determination letter from the DfE has since been received, setting out the conditions under which the grant will be awarded.

The DfE has published further guidance on the role and governance of SAPs. The guidance sets out how the Government will support SAPs and its expectations as to their role, structure and governance.

Equality comments

In carrying out any functions in respect of his skills and employment programmes, including the work of the SAP, the Mayor will comply with the public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to:

• Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
• Advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not; and
• Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

The evidence base for the Skills for Londoners Strategy found that key groups with protected characteristics, including women, BAME Londoners and disabled Londoners are under represented in London’s labour market. Through its support for London’s LIS and skills and employment vision, the funded post will support work to develop actions to address this, including the creation of inclusive and good quality education and transition opportunities for all, with targeted actions to improve access for protected and under-represented groups. The post will also support the development of proposals to deliver economic fairness and a more inclusive London, with proposed actions to promote diversity, inclusion and community cohesion.

Other considerations

a) Risks arising/mitigations

There is currently no commitment from DfE for continued funding beyond the initial £75,000. While the post will be created as a permanent role and will be funded by the GLA after funding from DfE comes to an end, as stated in the submission to DfE, any additional funding beyond the initial £75,000 would help to maintain this additional capacity within GLA Economics, including analytical resource to support the implementation of the skills and employment elements of London’s LIS and Mayor’s vision for skills.

b) Links with Mayoral Strategies

The funded post will support the development of London’s LIS alongside the development of the Mayor’s vision for skills and employment. The Mayor is required to work with government to establish a LIS by 2020.

The development of a skills and employment vision was included as an action in the Mayor’s Skills for Londoners strategy.

The Skills for Londoners Strategy set out the need to improve London’s skills system across a number of areas, particularly the AEB which is being delegated to the Mayor. The funded post will support the development of this work.

Financial comments

The estimated cost of £75,000 for this proposal will be funded by the receipt of grant income from the DfE, scheduled to be spent in the 2019-20 financial-year.

As detailed within the main body of this report, there is currently no commitment from DfE for funding beyond the 2019-20 financial-year. However, beyond the current funding period, the GLA will look to create staffing resource on a permanent basis in order to continue the support for the SAP, which will go through the Authority’s usual HR procedures for the creation of new posts (including the identification of funding source for the resource).

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Receipt of funding

March 2019

Recruitment of specialist analyst

March-April 2019

DfE review of SAP implementation to track progress

Summer 2019

SAP standards fully embedded

October 2019

Continuation of post to be funded by GLA

After April 2020

Appendices and supporting papers

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