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Work Local

Work Local is our ambitious, practical vision for a devolved and integrated employment and skills system, which gives democratically elected local leaders the power and funding to work with partners to join up provision.

BBL skills and employment banner

As we approach a General Election, local government leaders have recommended that a new Government work with us to develop a place-based employment and skills offer. 

Our Work Local offer to a new Government will set out a vision to improve outcomes for young people and adults, support employers, and develop a culture of lifelong learning.

We face significant labour market and skills challenges including to help more people find work or better work and bringing down vacancy rates across the public and private sectors. At the same time, we need to capitalise on opportunities created by green growth and automation while supporting foundational sectors. However, issues differ from place to place, so a one size, or even five sizes fits all national approach cannot address these local issues effectively. 

What is the challenge?

For too long local government has had limited routes to discuss employment and skills issues with government, with funding short-term, fragmented and held centrally, and powers to affect change too remote, unless you are part of an area with a devolution deal. 

In England, 49 national employment and skills-related schemes or services are managed by multiple Whitehall departments and agencies, delivered over different boundaries by various providers. No single organisation is responsible for coordinating this locally, making it difficult to target and join up provision for learners, unemployed people, career changers and businesses. This is an inefficient use of public resources. 

What is the solution?

The LGA’s Work Local vision made clear recommendations for a coherent framework for employment and skills devolution, with national and local government combining their strengths and resources. It would give democratically elected local leaders the power and funding to work with partners to develop integrated and devolved employment and skills services by joining up careers' advice and guidance, employment, skills, apprenticeships, business support services and outreach in the community linked to local services and meeting local need. The gains to be had are considerable as our independent cost benefit analysis reveals.

Work Local is good for the economy – by integrating services, responding to local economic needs, and delivering better outcomes at lower costs; good for people – with more personalised, joined-up and responsive services; and good for employers – by delivering a locally rooted, demand-led and integrated approach.