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 will be responsible for commissioning and funding AEB provision for learners resident in the Liverpool City Region from 1 August 2019 through a range of Colleges, Independent Training Providers and Local Authority providers of adult and community learning. Devolution of this budget will allow local innovation and flexibilities to better meet the skills needs of the City Region and its residents.

The Combined Authority has been preparing for some time for the devolution of the AEB and has put in place the building blocks. Our new Skills Strategy (2018-2023) based upon detailed analysis and extensive stakeholder engagement is in place. This 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 and these will inform the City Region’s investment and decision making for AEB.


The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has reminded providers that all AEB providers’ funding will be affected by devolution, even those in non-devolved areas. Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) will be responsible for funding their residents and ESFA will be responsible for funding residents of non-devolved areas. In future, 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.

Core Brief

This document is the standard information sheet that has been agreed nationally across all MCA/GLA, ESFA and DfE for the devolved Adult Education Budget. To download a copy


The Department for Education provided the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority an allocation of c£51m for the period, 1 August 2019 to 31 July 2020. This allocation has been committed to Grant Funded Providers and to Independent Training Providers via commissioning. The procured activity has been accomplished following 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, this is due to the adoption of the national funding calculation for learning aims (detailed on the national Learning Aims Reference Service in the 2019/20 academic year)

Allocation breakdown:

  • c£15m allocated through the procurement process to contracted providers
  • c£31m  has been committed to grant funded providers (Colleges and Local Authorities)
  • Resources for ‘transitional protection’ have been set aside to ensure a smooth transition into AEB devolved delivery

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is keen to develop effective, high trust relationships with its providers, delivering positive long-term impact for Liverpool City Region learners and enabling providers to plan and build capacity with greater surety. We expect providers to deliver a place-based curriculum offer and wrap-around support with a clear focus on learner progression.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has published information confirming the details of all Providers delivering the devolved AEB budget in the Liverpool City Region for the period 1st August 2019 – 31st July 2020. This includes the allocations per Provider and the Test and Learn pilots that have been agreed across the region.

The Smallprint

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

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