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Skills Development Scotland ESF Update

08 November 2010

Local Training Opportunities in LUPs Update

As you are aware, SDS has submitted an application for ESF funding in the Lowlands and Uplands and in the Highlands and Islands areas to support Local Training Opportunities (Get Ready for Work and Training for Work).

Building on the Service Delivery Agreement process, SDS is introducing a joint approach to contracting with Community Planning Partners for this provision. This involves the latter in planning provision and co-decision-making with SDS on contract awards for the local area. This recognises CPPs' crucial role in skills development for local areas and the desire for these opportunities to become an integral part of local strategic skills pipelines which deliver improved outcomes.

CPP Advisory Group Remit

An Advisory Group has been set up which currently consists of Lowlands and Uplands CPP representatives (see below) and arrangements are currently being developed for the Highlands and Islands area (see below for nominated representatives). The remit of the LUPS Advisory Group is to:

  • Consider and define the allocation process for funding of new starts for GRFW and TFW
  • Consider and agree how best to provide flexibility in the allocations process
  • Agree the process for joint decision-making on procurement decisions including a protocol for ensuring no conflict of interest.
  • Moderate the contracting statements to balance the National Budget

LUPS Advisory Group Membership

LUPS Advisory Group members are as follows: Bill Anderson (Renfrewshire),Simon Carey (South Lanarkshire), David Coyne (Glasgow), Michelle Gautier (Dundee), Katie Hutton (SDS), Andy Lee (North Ayrshire), Paul McGuiness (SDS), Brian Martin (City of Edinburgh), Greig Robson (North Lanarkshire), Pamela Smith (Falkirk), and Fiona Stewart (SDS)

There are 2 nominated representatives for the HIPP area: Angus Campbell (Western Isles) and Hazel Sutherland (Shetland Islands)

LUPS Advisory Group Recommendations

The Group has now had 2 meetings and recommends the following for the LUPS area:

Defining the Allocation Process - Moderating demand

The approach to moderating demand for starts volumes within total available budget will be based on a review of contracting statements per area - which identifies initial demand for starts and weeks through dialogue between SDS and CPP partners - and will take account of the following:

  • Starts and Weeks requested in the contracting statements
  • Starts and Weeks delivered in 09/10 and to date for 2010/11
  • Rationales provided in contracting statements

SDS staff will contact CPP representatives to provide the opportunity to refine the contracting statements and supporting rationales previously supplied to inform the ESF bids. This process should be completed by 23 November 2010. SDS will summarise the responses to be considered at the next Advisory Group meeting.

Providing Flexibility of Provision

The Group considered the option to retain unallocated resource at the start of the financial year to fund responses to emerging additional needs. It was recommended that this was inadvisable due to (1) the difficulties of reallocating quickly to meet demand and (2) the potential to destabilise provision in some areas. An alternative proposal was recommended which is to place a generic requirement within contracts that SDS reserves the right to direct provision in line with changing demand.

Avoiding conflict of interest

The Group recommended the following protocol be adopted to avoid conflict of interest regarding contract awards:

The CPP is to nominate representatives to take part in the contract award decision-making process with SDS staff. In the first instance, it is recommended that CPP representatives involved in contract decision-making should not represent an organisation who is also bidding for contracts. In the event that the remaining CPP representatives do not have sufficient knowledge and experience, assurance around members who are also bidders in decision-making would be provided from the following:

  • signature by individual and organisation of ethical walls documentation (currently being drawn up by SDS Legal Advisors); and
  • the involvement of others in the decision-making process and the national moderation process. To increase the objectivity of decision-making as well as operational efficiency, it is recommended that where practicable, decision-making takes place at regional level.

Informing local demand

To inform their local market knowledge, bidders for Local Training Opportunities' contracts will be directed to the information provided on the Employability Learning Network section of Employability in Scotland including Labour Market Demand statements.

Each CPP to provide a contact name and contact details for bidders to obtain additional information on local areas. This will be posted on the website. To avoid conflict of interest, the CPP representative should not be involved in the bidding process. Contact details to be posted on the Employability Learning Network section of the Employability in Scotland website.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will cover moderation of contracting statements, in year management and MIS.

If you have any questions please get in touch with one of the LUPS Advisory Group members.