Background to the consultation
Last October, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills published its Simplification of Skills in England report which set out initial recommendations to Government for improving the post-compulsory skills system for employers. The Commission has already published an interim report into the progress made to date and will be publishing a full report this Autumn.
This was the first phase (hiding the wiring) of the UK Commission’s effort to reduce the complexity of England’s employment and skills system and make it more responsive to employer needs. The consultation forms part of the second phase of Simplification – rewiring the system to ensure it continues to meet employers’ needs and integrates the employment and skills services in the most effective and sustainable way.
The Consultation focused on three questions:
- What are the most appropriate targets, measures and incentives to ensure that publicly funded employment and skills services deliver sustainable outcomes in jobs, skills and productivity?
- Given significant pressure on future public expenditure, how can we simplify public funding streams to lever substantially greater investment in workforce development from employers and individuals and to reduce administrative costs within the system?
- What three measures are most likely to simplify the complexity of organizations, processes and initiatives in order to maximize the value of public development in frontline delivery?
As well as soliciting written responses from stakeholders and other interested parties, the UK Commission held an online seminar to examine these issues in detail on July 23rd. The debate continued on Twitter, where respondents could post their views and read about the latest developments.
We received over 125 written responses reflecting views from all areas of the system. In order to better understand the concerns of different groups, we broke the responses down into six categories: employers, SSCs/SSBs, awarding bodies, providers, public bodies and learners.
Despite the different perspectives of each group, several widely-held ideas emerged:
- Reduce the number of organizations in the system and encourage better working between those organizations that remain.
- Reduce the number of skills initiatives and stop creating
- Have a single funding agency and a single pot of funding.
- Enable flexibilities based around regional or local needs. There is a possible role for Regional Development Agencies or Employment and Skills Boards here.
- The focus of the system should be on gaining skills not qualifications, though the role of qualifications in acknowledging skills is recognized.
- Bitesized qualifications are popular with employers and learners.
- Targets should look at outcomes such as increased
- Learner destinations should be recorded and published.
- Have a ‘light touch’ approach to quality control that is more employer driven.
- Employers will be prepared to contribute to funding that is necessary for their businesses. Develop models which encourage them to do so.
You can read the summaries of the feedback received here.