Headlines: November 24th, 2009

Councils are due to take over responsibility for learning and training of 17-19 year olds from the Learning and Skills Council in April 2010. Plans just published show how councils will take the lead and how they will be supported.

The new arrangements will ensure that young people have the choice of learning they want and need to help them remain engaged in learning up to age 18 and beyond. A National Commissioning Framework will set out the core requirements for planning, commissioning, procuring, funding, and accountability of the education and training. In addition councils will also be responsible for young people up to age 25 where a learning difficulty assessment is in place, and for young offenders in youth custody.

Councils will be at the heart of the new network because they are best placed to secure services as they are close to the community, have experience of strategic local leadership and are democratically accountable to local people. They will also need to collaborate in groupings at sub-regional and regional level, to ensure that strategic planning and effective commissioning decision making across local areas is aligned and comprehensive.

The changes will also include the creation of the Young People’s Learning Agency as a Non-Departmental Public Body to support councils in their new role. The Agency will also ensure funding and budgetary control within the system. It will be an enabler as guardian of the nationally consistent frameworks. It will operate the current national funding formula, provide data and analysis and give support and information that ensures commissioning decisions are informed by young people’s needs but with a much clearer link to the economic regeneration of an area.

The effect of the changes will be to place all 0 – 19 commissioning under the leadership of councils. It will also fully integrate the commissioning of services and provision for young people, putting in place learning routes and integrated services to facilitate access to the 14-19 entitlement and support learners. Delivering services and provision for the most vulnerable young people will be a priority and will be at the heart of the commissioning process.

To enable local councils to take on their new duties for 16 – 19 learning, staff with the appropriate expertise will be transferred from the LSC in April 2010, but they will start working in shadow mode with councils immediately.

The plans are available at:

Comments on the plans can be made to the DCFS up to 5 February 2010.