Work Local is our ambitious, practical vision for devolved and integrated employment and skills provision.
Our economy is changing fast. We face significant labour market and skills challenges and a need to capitalise on opportunities created by green growth, automation and new global markets. However, issues differ from place to place, so a one size, or even five sizes fits all national approach cannot address these local issues effectively.
What is the challenge?
For too long local government has had limited routes to discuss employment and skills issues with government, with funding short-term, fragmented and held centrally, and powers to affect change too remote, unless you are part of an area with a devolution deal.
In England, 49 national employment and skills-related schemes or services are managed by multiple Whitehall departments and agencies, delivered over different boundaries by various providers. No single organisation is responsible for coordinating this locally, making it difficult to target and join up provision for learners, unemployed people, career changers and businesses.
What is the solution?
The ‘Levelling up the UK’ White Paper could transform the employment and skills system, opening the possibility for new and strengthened devolution and for all places to have devolved powers by 2030.
But the LGA’s own Work Local model for an integrated and devolved employment and skills service is a ready-made blueprint for making this happen sooner.
It would give democratically elected local leaders the power and funding to work with partners to join up careers advice and guidance, employment, skills, apprenticeships, business support services and outreach in the community.
The underpinning principles of Work Local are:
- a ‘one stop’ service rooted in place
- with clear and responsive local leadership
- that is driven by local opportunities and needs
- within a common national framework for devolution of strategy, financing and delivery of employment and skills
- underpinned by devolved employment and skills agreements
- delivering better outcomes at lower cost.
Work Local is good for the economy – by integrating services, responding to local economic needs, and delivering better outcomes at lower costs; good for people – with more personalised, joined-up and responsive services; and good for employers – by delivering a locally rooted, demand-led and integrated approach.
What are we calling for?
To improve the system for all areas, local and national government need a new partnership – a Work Local Board – in place by the end of 2022 that would work to:
- get the basics right everywhere so all places can join up the offer more effectively
- empower local leaders by agreeing a framework for employment and skills devolution
- implement Work Local and roll out more place partnerships sooner than 2030.