Adult Education Budget
The Adult Education Budget (AEB) aims to engage adults (aged 19 and over) who are resident in Liverpool City Region to provide the skills and learning they need to equip them for work, an apprenticeship or other learning. It enables more flexible tailored programmes of learning to be made available, which may or may not require a qualification, to help eligible learners engage in learning, build confidence, and/or enhance their wellbeing.
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has been responsible for commissioning and funding AEB provision for learners resident in the Liverpool City Region since 1 August 2019 through a range of Colleges, Independent Training Providers and Local Authority providers of adult and community learning. Devolution of this budget allows for local innovation and flexibilities to better meet the skills needs of the City Region and its residents.
The Combined Authority has put in place the building blocks to ensure the continued successful devolution of the AEB programme. Our Skills Strategy (2018-2023) (PDF, 3MB) is based upon detailed analysis and extensive stakeholder engagement, AEB continues to contribute to the key objectives. The Skills Strategy brings clarity to the scale and nature of Liverpool City Region skills issues and identifies where local interventions are likely to have greatest impact. It includes five outcomes that reflect the priority issues for the City Region, these inform the City Region’s investment and decision making for AEB.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have continued to communicate with providers regarding devolution, including those in non-devolved areas. Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) are responsible for funding their residents and ESFA are responsible for funding residents of non-devolved areas. Going forward, depending on providers’ geographic delivery footprint and MCAs’ commissioning decisions, providers may have a single funding relationship with a commissioning authority or multiple funding relationships covering one or more MCAs/GLA and ESFA. It is therefore important that providers understand how much of their delivery (direct and sub-contracted) is to residents of devolved areas, cognisant of all relevant Funding Rules and local flexibilities.
Following devolution of the Adult Education Budget in 2019, an initial 3-year commissioning cycle was completed. The Department for Education provides the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority with an annual AEB allocation of around £53m. Following the most recent procurement process which completed in early 2022, we have awarded contracts on an annual basis with the option to extend each year until 2027. Procured activity follows a Commissioning Plan underpinned by a clear set of principles; the appraisal of submissions for contracted provision incorporated a pre–published criteria to ensure an open and transparent process, assessed on quality not price.
Any future procurement opportunities will be advertised on The Chest: North West Procurement Portal (the-chest.org.uk).
2023/24 allocation breakdown includes
Devolution of the AEB was agreed in the 2015 devolution agreement and the details of the adult education functions in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 that transferred from the Secretary of State for Education to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority was set out in the Adult Education Functions Order 2018.