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Adult Community Learning

  • By Dianna Neal

London Councils has worked with boroughs, sub-regional partnerships, the GLA and providers to consider the future of Adult Community Learning (ACL) in London, in the context of skills devolution and the Mayor’s vision for skills.

The aim of the work was to tightly define the role and focus of ACL and be clear how ACL is distinct from wider activity funded through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) and to make recommendations to the GLA about how it could be commissioned in the future, once the AEB is devolved to the Mayor in 2019-20.

We have worked with FEA consultants to produce a report that makes some short term and long term recommendations about ACL provision in the capital. The report builds on the work of the London Adult Community Learning Review that took place during 2016-17.

The report:

  • defines seven priority groups for ACL funding.
  • makes the case for continuation of a block grant to ACL providers to support a locally responsive service, that maximises the links to other public services boroughs can make and co-ordinate. Ideally this should be over three years.
  • argues in the short term for a robust business planning approach towards ACL, moving towards an outcome based approach in the future. It recommends that boroughs work across London and with the GLA to develop ways to measure social outcomes that could sit alongside employment and other progression outcomes.
  • highlights that funding allocations are historic, but warns against taking a solely needs based approach in the short term because of the significant shifts in funding this could cause. It notes that should the GLA want to move towards needs based allocations in the longer term, this should be introduced over time, with mitigation measures in place. The GLA should also explore with boroughs how to identify data that will accurately identify needs, linked to agreed priority groups.

Download the full report

There are a number of accompanying documents to the report including: