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The Adult Education Budget Team have been working hard to ensure residents of Liverpool City Region are able to access and progress through their AEB funded learning during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Support has been provided to the network of AEB providers through effective, frequent and timely communications and financial supplier relief arrangements.  Purposeful relationships with local authorities, colleges and independent training providers have continued to be critical in supporting residents to achieve the skills and learning required during this challenging period. AEB providers across the region have proactively responded to the changing situation by implementing approaches to engage, enable and support residents to participate in learning programmes via new and different methods of delivery.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will continue to support residents through local flexibilities, increasing the threshold for the Low Wage Pilot, aligned to the Real Living Wage to £18,135 per annum. In addition extra funding will allow more 19 year olds to study valuable qualifications and demand for sector based work academies, linked to guaranteed job interviews, will benefit residents by providing relevant training attached to current employment opportunities.

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.


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. The allocation for 2020/21 academic year is c£53M for all AEB activity that primarily has been committed to Grant Funded Providers and to Independent Training Providers via commissioning. The procured activity completed in 2019 covered a 3 year period and followed 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)

2020/21 allocation breakdown:

  • c£15m allocated through the procurement process to contracted providers
  • c£33m  has been committed to grant funded providers (Colleges and Local Authorities)
  • Facilitation resources have been set aside to enact responsive measures required in-year – particularly as a result of the impacts of Covid-19

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority continues to develop effective, high trust relationships with its providers, delivering a positive long-term impact for Liverpool City Region learners, 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 2019/20 and 2020/21. This information includes provider allocations, inclusive of the Test and Learn pilot delivery, 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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Guidance documents relating to the 2022/23 Adult Education Budget Team can be access here:


Guidance documents relating to the 2021/22 Adult Education Budget Team can be access here:


Guidance documents relating to the 2020/21 Adult Education Budget Team can be access here:


Archived guidance documents relating to the 2019/20 Adult Education Budget Team can be access here:

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