Devolution proposals present big skills challenge for LEPs

8 April 2014

NIACE has reacted to the speech on the further devolution of resources to Local Enterprise Partnerships and cities by the Opposition.

Tom Stannard, Director for Communications and Public Affairs, said:

“We welcome consideration of further flexibilities on funding for LEPs and local authorities as part of the growth review. The proposals are not yet fully costed and appear to offer a further £2bn to LEPs which is a small but important step. The proposal to ‘give towns and cities…greater control over the funding of skills’ will require LEPs to recognise the already acute pressures on the adult skills budget, and their need to produce all-ages skills strategies that properly reflect the needs of their local labour market.

“Proposals for LEPs to follow a ‘city-and-county-region’ footprint in future could be problematic for a further costly redrawing of the boundaries of actual functioning economic areas. Whilst we recognise the Adonis review is still to report in the autumn, we will continue to work with LEPs and local government to support them in producing robust skills plans. There is a big challenge ahead for LEPs to effectively influence supply and demand in the skills system, and financial devolution is only one important aspect of this debate.”