levels of new investment to support post-16 learning and skills in
local chairs and chief executives, he confirmed that as from April
next year the LSC would receive a major increase in its budget giving
it in excess of£8.0bn in 2003-04, rising to£9.2bn in 2005-06. But
he was clear that this record investment had to bring about radical
and sustained improvements, and significantly drive up the country's
overall skill levels.
Charles Clarke said:
'Our education and training system is fundamental to both economic
success and social inclusion, and in today's competitive and fast
moving world economy, we simply cannot afford to continue with a
system that does not provide people with the skills or qualifications
they need to carry out their jobs and their lives effectively.
'This money is allocated on a something for something basis. A
vibrant economy needs thriving businesses, and they in turn need a
skilled and flexible workforce, supported by a high quality and
responsive further education and training system. I am confident that
the LSC can build on the significant progress it has already made,
and use the additional resources to deliver the education and
training that learners and employers need, and to standards that are
second to none.
'I have already seen what the LSC is capable of through its highly
successfully bite-sized learning campaign, and through the effective
implementation of the Centres of Vocational Excellence programme. I
have also been impressed by the support and enthusiasm with which it
has taken forward the new Employer Training Pilots.'
The new funding flexibilities, which the secretary of state also
unveiled today, are designed to help the LSC and its providers plan
ahead with much more certainty over the next 3 years, and to
transform the range of learning provision on offer. Decisions on
funding will be linked to new 3-year delivery plans developed by
colleges and training providers. The LSC will also, for the first
time, be able to carry over unspent funds from one year to the next.
The secretary of state said:
'As well as giving the LSC unprecedented levels of investment, we are
also giving it the tools to deliver. As from April next year, the
LSC will have maximum discretion about how to use its mainstream
funds to deliver our stretching new participation and attainment
targets. But we recognise that one size does not fit all. To achieve
our vision of a learning society, we must see far greater devolution
to the front line. That means giving local people responsibility for
deciding what provision is needed in each locality. With that comes a
much greater focus on delivery, and I expect the LSC to be totally
focused on driving up performance and standards.
'The LSC will now be able to plan ahead with confidence, and where
necessary to carry over funds from one year to the next. But that
does not mean a carte blanche to under-spend. I expect the LSC to act
corporately, and for local LSCs to work with each other, and with the
national office, to ensure that funds are used where they will have
most impact. These new flexibilities will help the LSC to make even
more rapid progress in ensuring that many more people take part in
learning, and achieve success.'
But he also recognised that the LSC could not deliver this massive
agenda for reform on its own. Welcoming the LSCs response to the
bureaucracy busting recommendations published by the Sweeney Group,
'I want the LSC and its local councils to support and work with
colleges, schools and private training providers, to improve
performance and to deliver success for all. This can only be done in
partnership, and will require a relationship based on trust and open
communication. I expect the council to be able to negotiate
effectively with all providers; to spot and challenge
under-performance; and to intervene and provide support where needed.
I also look to you to continue to engage strategically with employers
and other key partners, both nationally and locally.
'The council has the opportunity to transform the performance of the
learning and skills sector. It is now important to demonstrate
results; to be seen to be delivering; and to be seen as an exemplar
organization, that adds value to its key partners.'
LSC chairman Bryan Sanderson said:
'The increase in funding and new financial flexibilities are
extremely welcome, and will help us to achieve our targets over the
next three years. The council has a challenging task in turning round
a generation of neglect and under-funding in post-16 learning. Our
job is to ensure business gets the skilled workforce it needs to
compete in the global economy; and to change the culture of learning
so that every citizen has the opportunity and the ambition to acquire
world-class skills needed for successful careers and sustained
'Over the coming months we will be working closely with the
covernment and other key stakeholders to develop a national skills
strategy which will drive a demand-led service and really tackle the
skill shortages faced by business. And we will continue to work
vigorously with our partners to bring about a rapid and conspicuous
change for learners, communities and the country.
'We relish the challenge and we intend to accomplish it effectively
This Press Notices applies to England
1. Established in April 2001, the LSC's mission is to raise
participation and attainment through high-quality education and
training, which puts learners first. The LSC's vision is that, by
2010, young people and adults in England will have knowledge and
productive skills matching the best in the world.
2. The LSC has a national office in Coventry and 47 local offices.
Its last Grant Letter was issued on 10 December 2001, and its budget
for 2002-03 was£7.3bn.
3. In order to help deliver 'success for all' (PN 2002/0216) the
Department has further increased the flexibility available to the LSC
in the use of its budgets. This includes reducing the number of
budget lines from nine in 02-03 to five in 03-04 (compared to over 40
4. The full text of the 2003-04 Grant Letter from the secretary of
state can be found here.