Bristol City Council Select Committee on Informal Adult and Community Learning 8 th JUNE 2010

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1 AGENDA ITEM NO: 8 Bristol City Council Select Committee on Informal Adult and Community Learning 8 th JUNE 2010 Joint Report of: Strategic Director, City Development Strategic Director, Children, Young People and Skills Title: Informal adult and community learning funding and workforce development Ward: All Officers presenting the report: Kate Davenport, Service Director, Economic & Cultural Development Jane Taylor, Service Manager, Communities and Adult Skills Contact Telephone Number: (0117) / RECOMMENDATION That the select committee consider information about the funding of informal adult and community learning, and also adult and community learning service contributions to workforce development, and the possible implications for Bristol City Council s managed services. 1. Introduction At the sixth meeting of the select committee members heard information about Portsmouth City Council s Adult and Family Learning Service. A range of useful information was shared, covering areas such as: funding; target learners; curriculum; structural arrangements; contributions to Portsmouth Local Area Agreement; Portsmouth s Ofsted inspection result and key elements in their achievement of an outstanding grade Funding Context The primary source of national funding for informal adult and community learning is the informal adult learning funding stream of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). Over the last 3 years, the previous government 1

2 had safeguarded an annual budget of 210 million pounds for adult and community learning provision. The SFA Informal Adult Learning Budget consists of a number of funding strands to cover different types of learning including: Personal and Community Development Learning (PCDL) Family Literacy, Language and Numeracy (FLLN) Wider Family Learning (WFL) Family Learning Impact Funding (FLIF) Neighbourhood Learning in Deprived Communities (NLDC) First Step Learning To date, most of these funding strands have been allocated to local authorities - apart from PCDL that has also been allocated to FE colleges. In all cases, the guidance for these funding streams outlines a requirement to target public funding on learners who have benefited least from education, particularly those with few or no formal qualifications. Those individuals who do not fit this criteria are expected to make a financial contribution towards the cost of the provision. It is important to note that the SFA Informal Adult Learning allocation to Bristol, and to our neighbouring authorities, is historic and does not relate to the level of need or size of adult population. For example, in 2005/6, the total Informal Adult Learning budget for West of England was 2.3m compared to 5m in Gloucestershire and 3.6 million in Somerset. This means that the West of England area has been receiving approximately 3.67 per adult population (2001 census figures) whilst our nearest neighbours Somerset have received and Gloucestershire This puts West of England funding at the same level as, for example, Lincolnshire and Rutland. Proportions have not changed since. In addition to SFA core funding, many local authorities have used a range of additional funding sources to deliver and commission informal adult learning for priority communities. Some examples of these include: Responsive Adult Learning Funding another SFA funding stream which has been used to fund developmental learning Public health resources e.g. for healthy living courses Section 106 funding e.g. for pre-employment courses European Social Funding particularly for courses targeting unemployed adults Migration Impact Funding for ESOL related activities 2

3 Extended Schools and Children s Centres to subsidise courses for parents NIACE for national programmes: Community Learning Champions Development Grants; Transformation Funding Union Learn funding for learning programmes organised for trade union members through the workplace Local authorities have recently been asked to express an interest in taking on a new role as a Lead Accountable Body (LAB) for informal adult learning from 2011/12. In taking on this role, Bristol City Council would receive and manage all the local Informal Adult Learning Funding to: Support the local authority in its place shaping / influencing role Advance existing progress made in collaborative activity and improved working practice across city council service teams Enable continuity of approach in bring together a range of agencies to support informal learning and its wider contribution to the lives of Bristol residents Better ensure that the public funding which supports Informal Adult Learning aligns with key local and national priorities including work supporting the school improvement agenda Support and align with the local authority commissioning As an urgent priority, Bristol City Council is required to formally approve its agreement to the LAB role, and to prepare a formal proposal outlining our approach, including our local learning partnership model. 3. Current Funding Situation Bristol City Council currently manages two adult and community learning services that are located in different Directorates and resourced through separate funding arrangements. 3

4 Learning Communities Team (LCT) Financial Situation The LCT was set up in 2005 in response to the West of England Learning and Skills Council Community Learning Strategy. This strategy required Bristol and other neighbouring authorities to use LSC funding for first step learning, targeting adults without a full Level 2 qualification. The contract for this work has included a number of detailed performance criteria with associated costs including: delivery of community engagement through a team of Development Workers and Learning Champions provision of free short courses in priority super output areas with good learner support (e.g. crèches; learning support etc) commissioning of provision through third sector providers provision of skills checks and information and advice sessions for learners proactive support for learner progression to second step provision development of an effective quality improvement framework, including; good use of data; tutor training; observation scheme; an effective system to record and recognise learner achievements For 2009/10, the core SFA budget for the Learning Communities Team has covered the following core income and costs: SFA Informal Adult Learning Expenditure 2009/10 Management Costs Management salaries 184,000 Admin & finance salaries 94,000 Management information system 8,350 Staff training (including tutor training) 7,000 Learner panel/consultation costs 1,000 Staff travel 2,300 VLE/Moodle costs 2,000 Premises costs (including office & training facilitites) 71,000 General office costs (e.g. photocopying; postage etc) 88,577 CYPS/Corporate charge 48,500 Total Management Expenditure 506,727 Activity Costs Development Worker salaries 264,000 Annualised tutor salaries 61,500 4

5 Learning champion fees 4,500 Course delivery costs (e.g. sessional tutors; crèche; 224,500 venue hire; materials etc) Learner progression fund 2,000 Travel 4,000 Total Direct Expenditure 560,500 5 Total Expenditure 1,067,227 SFA Grant 2009/10-1,067,227 To increase learning opportunities and add value to this core funding, the Learning Communities Team has been very successful in generating additional funding. In 2009/10, priority learners have benefited from targeted activities have been funded through a range of sources: Funder Funding Activities Secured CYPS Early Years 60K Family learning and courses for parents/carers of children 0-5 CYPS 34K Community Based ESOL NIACE 40K Community Learning Champions Union Learn 10K Courses for employees One of the main financial pressures in relation to the LCT budget is the shifting value for money indicators that are applied by the SFA. In 2005, when the West of England LSC published their Community Learning Strategy, they introduced a set of unique performance indicators including: number of learners without a full level 2 engaged in first step learning; number of learning champions recruited and utilised. In 2008, the LSC introduced a new national framework of suggested guided learning hour rates for types of provision. In the West of England, where funding has been focused on targeted provision, the suggested guided learning hour rate was Over the last 2 years, the local authority services in the sub-region have had to refocus operations to reduce an average guided learning rate of to the top of the national band of 22. Recent funding guidance from the SFA suggests that a cost per learner indicator is likely to be used in 2010/11. The other potential financial pressure on the LCT is the uncertainty of government funding beyond 2010/11. The only indication of future policy priorities in relation to the new Government can be found in the Conservative Manifesto. This document outlines an intention to expand provision for adult and community learning with a 100 million Community

6 Learning Fund for much-needed courses to help people gain new skills, boost their employability and add social value. If created, this fund will be delivered through local further education colleges to offer a major injection of support for them and their communities. It is as yet unknown what the impact of the new Coalition Government will be on this planned investment and on future SFA funding contracts. Adult Learning Service (ALS) The table below shows the total cost of running the ALS for 2010/11. The management costs and revenue income are fixed, whereas the activity costs and the fee income are variable and are informed projections. Management Costs Management salaries 142,135 Admin & finance salaries 97,086 Management information system 5,000 Staff travel 1,150 Premises costs 25,374 General office expenses (printing; stationery; postage; phones etc) 7,685 Total Management Expenditure 278,430 Activity Costs Tutor salaries 282,090 Course delivery costs e.g. sessional tutors; creche; venue hire; materials) 61,182 Total Direct Expenditure 343,272 Total Expenditure 621,702 Fees income - 461,243 Revenue budget support - 160,459 Total income - 621,702 Direct costs/income ratio The tables below show the different financial models for running courses at St Paul s Learning & Family Centre and Stoke Lodge. While these are examples only, they are based on the normal breakdown of full fee paying learners compared with learners on benefits at each centre, and they give a good indication of the subsidy required at St Paul s per course 6

7 compared with the surplus at Stoke Lodge for an identical course with the same overall number of learners. The St Paul s figures show a room hire cost, whereas the Stoke Lodge ones don t. The premises costs associated with running Stoke Lodge form part of the general overheads for the service, as the management and administration functions are all based there. St Paul s Learning & Family Centre is run as a separate business unit, and the ALS courses are only one part of the mix of activity there. It is therefore convenient for accounting purposes to continue to make a notional charge for ASL courses, and of course this adds to the subsidy required to make those courses viable. If the room hire were not to be charged, then the ALS budget would look healthier, but the subsidy would simply have to be transferred to St Paul s Learning Centre. St Paul s Expenditure per 2 hour session Tutor Premises Total cost per session Income Full cost: Benefits: Total Total subsidy (expenditure-income) Total cost per 13 week course Total income per 13 week course Total subsidy per 13 week course Stoke Lodge Expenditure per 2 hour session Tutor Premises 0 Total cost per session Income Full cost: Benefits: Total Total surplus (income-expenditure) Total cost per 13 week course Total income per 13 week course

8 Total surplus per 13 week course Learning & Skills Council/Skills Funding Agency subsidy Between 2005, when the current management arrangements started, and 2010, there has been a shift year on year in the level of LSC funding which has been available to be drawn down by the ALS. In 2005 ALS had access to about 350k (although in practice this sum was never achieved). For 2010/11, there is no access to Skills Funding Agency subsidy at all. When it has been available, the subsidy has been used to support courses in disadvantaged communities where the majority of learners are on benefits, and therefore the income that can be recouped for each course is insufficient to cover the costs. This shift in availability of LSC funding has been managed in a number of ways: Fewer courses have been run in disadvantaged communities BCC revenue has been allocated through the medium term financial plan Charges have been introduced for learners on benefits, albeit at concessionary rates In practice, for 2010/11, 20k from the BCC revenue budget has been allocated to subsidise courses in St Paul s, where we are particularly keen to keep courses running. More detail is given below on issues relating to St Paul s Learning & Family Centre. Courses run at Stoke Lodge and in libraries generally raise sufficient fee income to pay for the direct course costs and to make a contribution towards overall management costs. The remainder of the management costs are covered by BCC revenue. Other external funding The ALS manager has been looking for other sources of external funding to support mainstream courses since 2005, but has been unsuccessful. European funding has supported action research and exploration of good practice over this time, and small amounts of special project funding have been drawn down, but there are no obvious sources of funding for regular courses. St Paul s Learning & Family Centre St Paul s Learning Centre is a great community asset and has had a real impact on attitudes and access to learning in St Paul s. When it opened in 2004, it was used heavily for engagement, vocational courses and leisure learning courses, as well as for community meetings and activities. The availability of a café and crèche on site made it a very attractive venue, 8

9 with a viable business plan. The facilities include fitted out rooms for art, pottery and ICT, as well as a fully operational traditional dark room. Unfortunately the general reduction of funding over the intervening years, and a change in approach by City of Bristol College, have led to a substantial reduction in the number of courses on offer at the centre. As an indicator of this, City of Bristol College were paying about 125k a year in room hire fees in 2006, whereas this year they are expected to spend less than 25k. At the same time, the ALS has been struggling to continue to run a wide-ranging programme of leisure learning courses. This has a double impact: the centre is now running at a substantial loss, and the level of activity is in a downward spiral, making the centre much less vibrant and attractive to users. The gap in the budget is being met by the Library Service, partly with revenue allocated for ALS, but mainly from mainstream library budgets. It is therefore very important that the use of the centre is addressed and the learning programme increased. St Paul's Learning Centre budget 2010/11 Management Costs Cafe staffing costs 35,190 Crèche staffing costs 61,170 Dark room staffing costs 8,490 Centre admin and finance costs 93,999 Security costs 50,000 Premises costs 77,510 General office expenditure 32,170 Total management expenditure 358,529 Projected income from fees, café sales and crèche places - 178,050 Revenue budget support - 180,479 Total income - 358, Future Funding Opportunities In considering the current funding context and financial situation, there are also a number of emerging opportunities for the local authority to not only increase the size of the funding cake for informal adult learning, but also to sustain and secure it s own valued services in the future. Some of the potential opportunities are: As a result of the Select Committee process, there is an improved understanding of the focus and activities of the two adult and 9

10 community learning services. As part of the proposed joint work programme, there are opportunities to explore how resources can be shared between services in order to rationalise and strengthen future provision. As LAB, the City Council would receive and manage all the local Informal Adult Learning Funding (including the 500K PCDL funding currently with the City of Bristol College). It is to be expected that the LAB will also have greater authority to lever in additional funding from other sources from partnership working than at present. Co-financing organisations (the SFA, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and National Offender Management Services (NOMS) are preparing a tendering and procurement process for the next round of ESF funding between July and Autumn this year. Under the new Machinery of Government changes, local authorities have an increased opportunity to influence the delivery of ESF activity to ensure it is better targeted to meet LAA/MAA targets and other local priorities, including informal and adult learning. The Coalition programme for government indicates a number of policy areas where there may be additional public funding that could enable adult and community learning services to contribute to priorities: the development of a single welfare to work programme, including pre-employment and work placements for unemployed people; provision of preventative healthcare for those in disadvantaged areas. 5. ACL Contribution to Workforce Development Following some research into joint working arrangements between Corporate HR and Adult and Community Learning Services in other Local Authorities, some examples of good practice have been identified: Somerset Skills and Learning Team has led a cross authority group to focus on the Skills Pledge. The team have conducted skills checks on employees and delivered Skills for Life and other training where the check has resulted in a referral Liverpool Adult Learning Service have seconded a full time member of staff (tutor) into the corporate workforce team and are now shaping the Council s skills pledge work. The service will be the provider delivering skills for life for council staff. This has been integrated into the workforce 10

11 development strategy. The Adult Social Care Team also want the ALS to deliver skills for life. The Adult Learning Service is also an approved provider to deliver ICT training through the corporate training team. Derby s Adult Learning Service leads on some of the council s workforce development. Thy have the contract to deliver the corporate ICT training across the council and deliver other provision such as Skills for Life, NVQ Health and Social Care and NVQ Youth Work. In Bristol City Council, the Learning Communities Team has been piloting some targeted learning for work courses, planned jointly with Trade Unions, targeted at those staff most at risk of redundancy and/or with low qualifications and skills. Following scoping discussions between senior officers, a number of more strategic joint projects have been identified. One of the immediate areas for action is in relation to Bristol s Skills Pledge. Bristol City Council signed the Skills Pledge two years ago and then developed in partnership with the Trade Unions a Learning Partnership Agreement (see Appendix 1). The signing of this agreement led to the formation of the Learning Partnership Group, facilitated by Corporate HR. One of the key aims of this group has been to work towards being able to offer all employees assessments in basic skills and support the establishment of arrangements to support this entitlement. For Skills for Life courses, Bristol City Council has agreed that staff will be released for 50% of their time and the individual meeting the other 50%. Recently the Trade Unions have asked who the lead officer is for the Skills Pledge and how the objectives in the Pledge will be met and monitored. As a result of the current Transforming Learning and Development Programme and in light of our commitment to work as One Council it has been proposed that the CYPS Learning Communities Team now take a lead for a refocused Skills Pledge Project. A draft project brief has now been drawn up and a number of potential products have been identified, including: Establishment of a new Skills Pledge Project Board including LCT, HR, TU and Directorate representatives Programme of courses developed and commissioned Initial assessment toolkit and referral documentation produced Learning champions recruited and trained Web based information about learning related services developed 11

12 Improved data on learner engagement and participation Increased collaborative service planning and working between Corporate HR, Trade Unions and Bristol s adult and community learning services will not only help the Council to address workforce development needs, it is one way that the City Council can help to sustain the Learning Communities Team and the Adult Learning Service in the future. Background Papers Appendix 1 Bristol City Council Learning Partnership Agreement 12

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