The Board received a report from the Strategic Director – Enterprise, Community and Resources, updating them on the plans for the devolution of the Adult Education Budget (AEB), which currently funded the majority of the Adult Learning Team Service in Halton Borough Council.
The report explained that the AEB was funding provided for Liverpool City Region (LCR) residents outside of Apprenticeships, Traineeships, Advance Learner Loans and Higher Education. The report outlined the four statutory legal entitlements the funding supported and gave details of the other categories the funding was used to support.
Members were advised that the Liverpool City Region Devolution Deal in 2015 set out how the AEB would be fully devolved to local areas, which would commence from 2019-20. A Memorandum of Understanding had been agreed with the Department for Education to ensure that the devolved budget of approximately £52m per annum would follow. It was noted that once the Combined Authority took on this role, it would be responsible for commissioning AEB funded provision in the LCR, and therefore, would have the freedom to set local priorities and funding rates, whilst still being subject to the statutory duties of the Secretary of State. This would allow it to focus on meeting local area need, deliver local economic objectives and develop a sustainable local provider base.
The Board was advised of the devolution progress made so far and the challenges faced. It was noted by them that the Combined Authority was keen to involve SMEs, third sector and small providers when issuing tenders. Members discussed the latest full year information based on 2016-17 ILR data and requested the data for 2017-18. Officers would contact Riverside College and the LCR who provide the data, so Members would be sent this when it was available.
RESOLVED: That the Board notes the progress to ensure that Halton received a fair and proportionate share of the funding.