Work Local

Work Local is the LGA's positive vision for an integrated and devolved employment and skills service – bringing together information, advice and guidance alongside the delivery of employment, skills, apprenticeships and wider support for individuals and employers.

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Across a local area, Work Local could each year result in 8,500 more people in work and 6,000 increasing their skills. That means that for the average combined authority, £280 million benefits to the public purse alongside a £420 million boost to the economy.

Failure to address the shortcomings in the current employment and skills service puts at risk four per cent of future economic growth, while the average worker will be £1,176 a year worse off.

Different central government departments and their agencies are directly responsible for employment and skills policy, design, funding and oversight. These include Jobcentre Plus, the National Careers Service, and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. None of them have a common plan on how to work together or a duty to discuss with councils how services will operate in their local areas. Local areas have little ability to influence their priorities, funding or delivery.

On top of this, 20 employment and skills funding streams are managed by eight departments or agencies, spending more than £10 billion a year. Despite this investment, they often fail to meet local need, address economic and social challenges, or make a decisive impact on outcomes:

  • nine million people lack literacy and numeracy skills
  • more than half of all unemployed people do not claim benefits or receive employment support from Jobcentre Plus
  • 5.5 million people want a job or more hours.

By 2024 there will be

  • more than four million too few high-skilled people to take up available jobs
  • two million too many with intermediate skills
  • more than six million too many low-skilled.

This is bad for the economy, for employers and for individuals. Change is needed.

Local areas want more influence and control. A new settlement is needed that 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
  • good for employers – by delivering a locally rooted, demand led and integrated approach.

This is why the LGA is putting forward a positive proposal for change: ‘Work Local: our vision for an integrated and devolved employment and skills service’.

Combined authorities and groups of councils, in partnership with local stakeholders, will plan, commission and have oversight of the service. It would bring together advice and guidance, employment, skills, apprenticeship and business support around place, providing a more coherent offer for the unemployed and low skilled of all ages, while supporting local economic growth by forging better links between training providers and employers.

Across a local area, Work Local could each year result in 8,500 more people in work, 6,000 increasing their skills, with additional fiscal benefits of £280 million and a benefit to the economy of £420 million.

Our guiding principles for this vision:

  • a ‘one stop’ service that is rooted in place
  • clear and responsive local leadership
  • driven by local opportunities and needs
  • a common national framework for devolution
  • improved offer for individuals and employers
  • Combined Authorities / groups of councils – negotiated Locally / Labour Market Agreements(LLMAs).

You can find out more about our detailed vision for an employment and skills system.

Local government is ready to lead. With commitment from central government, we can start now. To make it happen, we need:

This year:

  • ‘Work Local’ Pathfinders by 2022; a single set of readiness criteria for future devolution; and for provision to align to Work Local footprints.
  • a stronger local role should be developed in the current system including: apprenticeships, employment support, careers advice, skills

By 2020

  • build the capacity and capability for devolution through a programme of knowledge transfer between local and central government, workforce development and developing the systems and governance to support Work Local.
  • the transfer of funding and powers from central government to local government should begin, including: apprenticeships, adult skills, employment services, shared prosperity fund, growth hubs

By 2022

  • roll out the first Work Local pathfinders – with Local Labour Market Agreements, full ‘one stop’ integration, and joint oversight and governance.

Summary of our proposals

Read the proposals in full: Work Local: Our vision for an integrated and devolved employment and skills service

An interim report details the research behind the proposal