The Policy Brief – February 2011
UNITED KINGDOM POLICY
Financial Services Skills Council renamed
The Financial Services Skills Council, which was subject to a fundamental review and management restructure during the SSC relicensing process, has changed its name to the Financial Services Partnership, and starts to operate as a charity. Despite the change of name, it retains its SSC licence, which was granted following the move to charitable status.
National Skills Academies
Two new National Skills Academies have been announced by BIS.
Instead of setting up a new organisation, the Academy for the emerging technologies of Biotechnology and Composites will be operated as an extension to the existing National Skills Academy Process Industries.
A new Academy for Environmental Technologies will also begin operation this year, having been launched by Summit Skills Sector Skills Council.
Local Enterprise Partnerships – New LEPS
Two more Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have been announced, bringing the total to 30.
The two additional ones are:
• York & North Yorkshire
• Enterprise M3
York and North Yorkshire aims to secure investment for next generation broadband, to promote enterprise, and to support the tourism, food and agricultural sectors.
Enterprise M3 – covering parts of Hampshire and Surrey – will concentrate on IT, financial services and research & development. It aims to improve skills, broadband coverage and transport links.
Time to Train restrictions
The planned roll-out of the “Time to Train” initiative – under which employees have the right to request time off for training – to medium and small businesses, will not now happen. The initiative has applied to larger businesses since April 2010, and the extension to smaller enterprises had been due to apply from April 2011, but Ministers have put it on hold due to concerns over burdens on businesses.
Skills Funding Agency policy
In a speech to the CBI, Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency, hinted at how his organisation planned to implement some of the elements of the Skills Strategy. With an eye to the quango reform that has affected the planning and funding system, he said,
“The important change for many employers to recognise is that instead of articulating skills needs through intermediaries as was often the case in the past, direct engagement with colleges and private training providers will be the main method of securing the skills your current and future employees need.”
Regional Development Agencies transitions
The plans for the transfer of assets and liabilities from Regional Development Agencies have been submitted to BIS. The decision has already been taken that the London Development Agency’s assets and liabilities will transfer to the Greater London Authority. Other regions’s plans are subject to decisions based on a mix of deficit reduction, national policy aims, local ambitions and the best economic outcome for the local area.
Higher Education Funding
The Welsh Assembly Government has announced significant changes in the way colleges are funded for post-16 provision. There will be a swift move to three-year funding allocations, to accompany an overall reduction in forthcoming budgets with a greater certainty over funding to 2013/14 academic year.
In effect, this sees the immediate suspension of the National Planning & Funding System, replaced by a flat-rate allocation.
The Policy Brief is a monthly summary of skills and employment policy developments in the UK. Information is provided to help skills and employment professionals to keep abreast of key current developments in summary form only, and no guarantee is made regarding accuracy. No liability for reliance on the information in this document can be accepted.
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