Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The revised organisational framework for skills in Scotland

This is dry but factual and thanks to Susie Hill and our internal research team for this excellent summary.

A detailed view of who looks after all the occupational competences in Scotland and UK.
SQA make and regulate the qualifications coming out of this policy environment.

The Leitch Review of the UK’s long term skill needs was published in December 2006. Following this, the governments of the UK set out their own plans with Skills for Scotland, a Lifelong Skills Strategy, published in September 2007 being the Scottish Government's response . Since then, there has there has been rationalisation of skills bodies at UK and devolved levels. Among those affected have been the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA), the National Employment Panel (NEP), and the Sector Skills Alliance Scotland. Working arrangements and patterns of relationship between the newly created bodies are emerging.

Skills Groups
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES)
This body was launched 1 April 2008 and is primarily advisory in nature. Its remit is to develop an independent view on how employment and skills services can be improved, to assess progress, and to advise Ministers at UK and devolved levels. It will also fund and manage the performance of the Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), advise on their re-licensing, and report to Parliament. Two of its quarterly reporting meetings at UK Ministerial level will include the devolved governments. The full Commission itself will meet four times a year, and operate with six sub-committees, one strategic. Minutes are published on the internet.
The body is registered as a company, is funded by grant in aid and has: as Chairman, Sir Michael Rake of BT; as Chief Executive, Chris Humphries formerly of City & Guilds; and 20 Commissioners. These include Grahame Smith of the STUC and Willie Roe, Commissioner for Scotland and Chair of Skills Development Scotland (SDS).
In the development of a five year strategic plan, the Commission is carrying out a public consultation over a five month period, closing in September. At the same time, it is assessing the performance of each Sector Skills Council (SSC), including through employer feedback. Each SSC will submit a business case for re-licensing by June 2009.

The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils (TASSC)
The Alliance was also set up in April 2008 to articulate the employer voice in the skills system, giving SSCs increased influence over policy. This includes ensuring that the voice is heard in the design and development of learning at all levels and in all settings.
The Alliance is funded by the subscriptions of its members, and is a company limited by guarantee with offices in London, Edinburgh, Bridgend, and Belfast. It recently appointed John McNamara as first Chief Executive.
The Alliance in Scotland has a sub-structure of a Council, four Strategic Groups - one for each key aim - and a Forum to deliver the aims set out in Skills for Scotland.
The Alliance Council comprises: the Director, Scotland; the Chief Executive; the Chairs of the four Strategic Groups; and four of the Partner Organisations, namely the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland (SDS), SQA, and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). It has no legal duties but may produce reports.
Employer Engagement Strategic Group. This group has nine SSC representatives. External members to date are the Scottish Government and SQA.
Partnerships Strategic Group. This group has eight SSC representatives and to date, one external member, the Scottish Government.
Labour Market Intelligence Strategic Group. This group has six SSC representatives, together with the Scottish Government and SQA. Its focus is sectoral LMI as opposed to the global approach of Futureskills Scotland.
Qualifications and Learning Strategic Group. This group has seven SSC members together with the Scottish Government. It is anticipated that there will also be representation from SQA (x2), ASC, and SCQF.
Alliance Forum. This internal group will have representation from all 25 SSCs to facilitate network communication.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS)
In September 2007 the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning announced the creation of SDS bringing together Careers Scotland, learndirect scotland/SUFI, and key skills elements of Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Highlands (HIE) and Islands Enterprise, including funding of the National Training Programmes.
SDS to work to realise the vision set out in Skills for Scotland focusing on individual development of skills, the improved economic pull of skills, and the creation of cohesive structures for the delivery of skill development. It is a registered company limited by guarantee and an NDPB fully accountable to Scottish Ministers.
Willie Roe, Scotland Commissioner to UKCES, is the Chair with Damien Yates, formerly of learndirect scotland/SUFI, as Chief Executive. There are five non-executive board members. They are:
Evelyn McCann, formerly of SE
William Stevely, formerly in HE
Ann Douglas, National Secretary of Prospect
Janet Lowe, SFC and SDS Boards
Alan McGregor, Glasgow University
Cay Stratton, Special advisor on UKCES.
An Operating Plan 2008/9 has been published. It states that there will be close working in particular with the SFC and its Skills Committee, and that consultation is taking place to support the development of a first corporate plan.

Modern Apprenticeship Group (MAG)
The Modern Apprenticeship Implementation Group was renamed as of 1 January 2007 to become MAG. It has a formal constitution and derives its authority from Scottish Ministers. Its remit is to approve and re-approve Modern Apprenticeship Frameworks for Scotland. A formal procedure for member nominations has been introduced and an independent chair is to be appointed. The members to date are SDS, the Scottish Government, SFEU, SQA Accreditation Unit, the Scottish Training Federation, STUC, and TASSC. At any time a maximum of six representatives from different organisations maybe invited to attend.

SCQF Partnership
The SCQF Partnership Board was set up in November 2006 to manage the Framework. The members are ASC, SQA, the QAA for HE, Universities Scotland, and the Scottish Government. It is chaired by Dr. Andrew Cubie.
The SCQF Forum helps support the Framework. It is made up from senior representatives from education, business and communities in Scotland and will include SDS, TASSC, and UKCES.
The Quality Committee ensures clear, accurate technical information. It is chaired by Prof. Alex MacLennan and has nine members representing FE, HE, local authorities, SQA, QAA, HMIE, and the Institute of Bankers.

Scottish Funding Council Skills Committee
The Skills Committee of SFC collects and processes evidence of skill needs in Scotland, advises how improvement can be made in meeting them, and considers the supply and demand for FE and HE. It makes inputs and receives inputs from other Council committees and groups.
The Skills Committee has three Council members, one of whom, Dr. Janet Lowe, is the Chair. She is also on the Board of SDS. Among the 10 external members are Grahame Smith of the STUC and Chris Humphries of UKCES.

No comments: