Post 16 Funding on Transfer of Responsibilities to Local Authority
- Meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Children's Services), Tuesday 13th July, 2010 6.30 pm (Item 6.)
To receive a presentation from the Strategic Director - Children, Schools and Families.
The 14-19 Service Manager gave a presentation to the Committee updating Members on the changes that had taken place to transfer responsibility for the funding and commissioning of post-16 education and training to Sefton MBC.
From the 1st April 2010, the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning (ASCL) Act 2009 had transferred responsibility for the commissioning and funding of 16-19 education and training from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to Local Authorities. The LSC had been abolished and the Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) established to support Local Authorities to undertake their new statutory responsibilities. Local authorities now had the central commissioning role for all education and training for young people aged 16-19 and for learners up to 25 who had a learning difficulty or disability.
The new arrangements gave local authorities the opportunity to align the services provided for the entire 11-19 cohort and ensure that all young people received the widest possible choice of learning environments and curriculum pathways they needed to succeed.
The Government had stated that the transfer was an essential element of the long-term strategy to make the UK the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up and prosper.
It was reported that the transfer of responsibilities had progressed smoothly and without major incident, due largely to the detailed planning that had taken place prior to April at a national level between the Local Government Association, the Department of Children Schools & Families and the LSC and at a local level between Sefton and the sub-regional LSC office. Importantly, collaborative working between these organisations had ensured that the hand-over of responsibility had been seamless and that young people and their learning were not affected by the change.
The following Key actions and activities had contributed to the successful transition:
- Six officers from LSC had moved to Sefton on TUPE transfer arrangements and had now integrated into the 14-19 Team. Posts were fully funded by the Department of Education for three years and funding of £319,877 for 2010/11 had been transferred to the Council’s Special Purpose Grant.
- The major challenges of the broader 14-19 team were now to implement changes to commissioning of 16-19 education and training, prepare for the raising of the participation age in education or training to 17 by 2013 and 18 by 2015, develop the full range of curriculum routes for learners and to further develop arrangements for information, advice and guidance for young people. As a result, new job titles and duties had been agreed for all team members and future work plans to secure the key challenges had been established.
- The 14-19 team was based in offices at Thornton Primary School, alongside the parenting team and the Children’s Schools and Families ICT training unit.
- Merseyside boroughs had each taken “lead commissioner” responsibility for a range of 16-19 education and learning providers operating in the sub-region. Sefton now had a key role in ensuring that provision at the four colleges (Hugh Baird, Southport, King George V and South Sefton 6th Form), at Joint Learning Partnership and our School 6th Forms was sufficient to cater for the learning needs of Sefton residents and for young people who chose to be educated in the borough. Excellent working relationships between the authority and providers had been maintained during the transition period.
- Allocations (volumes and funding) had been agreed for all providers for the academic year 2010/11 and the LA would ensure that funding agreements ie contracts were in place by the summer. This contracting arrangement would secure 8,708 16-19 places and a spend of £41,059,340 in Sefton.
- Sefton took over responsibility from the LSC for payments to providers for the four month period April ’10 to July ’10. The CSF finance team had received profiled payments from the YPLA and had successfully discharged its responsibility to pay education and training providers within seven working days.
- New 16-19 governance arrangements had been established for the Merseyside sub region. A Sub Regional Group (SRG), comprising Directors of Children’s Services, would oversee strategic developments for 16-19 funding and commissioning activity, a Stakeholder Group was to be available for consultation and to offer challenge and an operations group would oversee the day-to-day work of the SRG.
- In order that the authority could fulfil it’s responsibilities for the 14-19 agenda, a review of Sefton’s 14-19 Strategic Partnership was planned to ensure that partnership arrangements were fit for purpose. The review would take place in early autumn and would culminate in a partnership conference in October. The new arrangements would commence shortly after.
- The Legal Department was considering whether constitutional arrangements within the authority were sufficient to deal with the new duties and powers given to it for 16-19 funding and commissioning. Consideration was to be given to whether specified delegations to directors/lead members of children’s services were in place and the need to formalise arrangements for scrutiny committees to take an overview of arrangements.
(1) the progress made to roll-out the new arrangements be noted; and
(2) Mr Sloane be thanked for his presentation.