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Welfare State: Regional Development Agencies

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what responsibilities the regional development agencies will have under the proposals set out in the Raising Expectations White Paper; and if he will make a statement. (244174)

I have been asked to reply.

The White Paper ‘Raising Expectations: enabling the system to deliver’, set out proposals to ensure that the needs of learners (young people and adults) and employers are met by a more responsive system. Responsibility for the planning, commissioning and funding for education and training for 16 to 19-year-olds will transfer to local authorities, supported by a new Young People’s Learning Agency. For adults we propose to build on the demand led approach, including through the creation of a new Skills Funding Agency and strengthened advice and support services for adults and employers.

As part of the changes identified in the “Raising Expectations” local authorities will work together in sub-regional groups to commission provision for 16 to 19-year-olds, developing a commissioning plan that will identify how learning will be commissioned. In addition to developing sub-regional groups, key players including: Regional Development Agencies; Government Offices; local authorities; and the new Young People’s Learning Agency and Skills Funding Agency will come together in Regional Planning Groups. The role of the Regional Planning Group will be to scrutinise the local plans that have been developed to ensure they are coherent, can be funded within the regional budget and will deliver the 14-19 entitlement. The Regional Development Agencies will help to ensure that the plans for young people deliver what is needed by employers, taking account of the regional economic strategy and regional skill needs. Our assumption is that the Regional Development Agencies will co-chair the Regional Planning Group with local authorities.

In respect of adult skills, the Skills Funding Agency will work with Regional Development Agencies and Jobcentre Plus to determine the regional skills strategy. Regional Development Agencies will also manage the new integrated brokerage service for employers that includes skills.

More detail on the Skills Funding Agency, together with information on the roles and responsibilities of key players in the adult skills landscape, can be found in the recently published ‘Adult Skills Reforms: An Update’, accessible via the following link:

More detail on the pre 19 proposals can be accessed via the following link: