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.
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.
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).
Local areas understand the needs of their local economies, and their role in tackling the current skills gap but this must be reflected in how powers and funding are allocated.
Local areas are ready to ensure that as many people and businesses as possible can benefit from a successful apprenticeship, but they must be given the power and funds to ensure the scheme can thrive.
Local leaders are ready and eager to work in true partnership with central government to reduce worklessness and create good employment opportunities across places, but government must commit to ensuring that national agencies put practical mechanisms in place to allow local areas to lead employment support.
You can find out more about our detailed vision for an employment and skills system.
To help local areas close their skills gap, the Government must:
- ensure the ambitions set out in the 2019 Local Industrial Strategies can be fulfilled with devolved powers and funding, and that Work Local is promoted as a framework for their development
- ensure by 2019, the £1.5 billion Adult Education Budget is successfully devolved to combined authorities and progressively localised to all other areas, and that it is the first of a succession of skills funding streams to be localised
- work with councils and combined authorities to ensure the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is locally rather than centrally designed and managed and in place by 2019
- give councils and combined authorities a key role to design and coordinate the local skills offer for people and places (National Retraining Scheme, Skills Advisory Panels, T -Level introduction)
- give councils and combined authorities a co-commissioning role in developing a locally relevant careers advice offer to young people and adults (DfE Careers strategy, National Careers Service
To ensure that apprenticeship provision matches the needs of employers and the skills of the population, the Government must:
- use the Apprenticeship Levy review to enable local areas to pool Levy contributions, loosen Levy restrictions including its use
- ensure all Levy underspend goes back to local areas where it is raised rather than directed from Whitehall
- fully devolve the apprenticeships system to combined authorities and devolve all nonLevy funding to local areas.
To create good employment opportunities across places which residents can enter, retain and progress in, the Government should commit to a partnership with councils and combined authorities by:
- co-designing with local areas an employment support offer to include local commissioning of the Work and Health Programme successor arrangements, and Jobcentre Plus' Flexible Support Fund
- develop a partnership with local government to understand local skills challenges potentially stemming from our exit from the European Union.
Read a summary of our proposals.