Enterprise and Skills Review report on Phase 2: Skills Alignment

Report illustrating the outcomes and progress achieved by the Skills Alignment project as part of the Enterprise and Skills Review.

3. Delivering Better Outcomes

As a result of the project, SDS, SFC and Scottish Government will take forward an implementation programme to align the relevant elements of planning, commissioning and evaluation. This will be supported by enhanced strategic oversight, guidance and reporting arrangements which align the responsibilities of the Strategic Board, the repurposed Skills Committee [1] of the SFC and the boards of the two agencies.

The role of the Strategic Board will be critical in setting direction on how the work of the two agencies', alongside that of the Enterprise Agencies, contributes meaningfully to wider efforts to deliver a step change in productivity.

The existing Skills Committee of the SFC will be repurposed as the Skills Committee of the Strategic Board to take on a new role which will provide an intermediate level of oversight at a greater level of detail between the SFC and SDS, their respective Boards and the Strategic Board. The remit and membership of the Skills Committee will be reviewed to allow it to take on this new role and accordingly draw on the right levels of expertise. The newly repurposed Skills Committee will take full authority from the Strategic Board.

Integrated Skills Planning

We will establish a new core joint executive team, led by a single director reporting directly to the CEO's of both agencies and working with a virtual team in both organisations. The functions of this team will be to align skills planning across both agencies.

Focussing support on the user - developing the user-centric model

The project has focussed on ensuring the needs of learners, employers and the economy as a whole are central to aligned skills planning and commissioning across the agencies.

Enhanced use of learner, agencies and employer insight, more direct employer engagement in the work of both agencies, an improved understanding of the capacity and potential of all providers and a shared focus on contributing to a more productive economy will be key features across the joint planning, decision making and commissioning processes being developed.

Joining the partners up to deliver

Both agencies will align activity to deliver a joint 5 step skills planning and provision model. The steps in the process will be:

Step 1: Agreed Skills Demand Assessment - to ensure data and industry-led and employee-led insights are robustly considered as an integral and balanced element of Scotland's skills planning and provision process for FE, HE and work-based learning.

Step 2: Joint Provision Planning - ensure data and information on provision is robustly considered as an integral and balanced element of Scotland's skills planning and provision process for FE, HE and work-based learning. This will include confirming a single process to analyse and report on capacity across all providers; joint planning to align 'open market' and 'institutional' approaches, eradicating overlap and duplication; responding to findings from the Learner Journey workstream to build capacity and capability in the supply chain; skills provision plan informed by Return on Investment ( ROI) measures; capacity of CIAG to inform learner choice and connect that choice to employer demand.

Step 3: Integrated Processes For Progressing Institutional Outcome Agreements & Commissioning With Training Providers - The proposed process for investment in skills will take account of the outputs from Step 1 & 2, alongside other SG/Strategic Board priorities. Step 3 will incorporate an assurance role for the new integrated team so that duplication, overlap and gaps are formally considered across the planned skills investment by SFC and SDS. The day to day agreement of Outcome Agreements ( SFC) and the commissioning of training providers ( SDS) will continue to be managed internally within each agency, supported by the co-ordinated intelligence of the central team.

Step 4: Co-Ordinated Outcome Agreement Execution & Training Provider Contract Management - To ensure robust monitoring, performance management, contract management and effective implementation of agreed FE, HE and work-based learning commissions. This will include:

  • Day to day performance management of OAs and training commissions to be undertaken by each agency.
  • Co-ordinate performance monitoring of providers & learner experiences.
  • Develop common data platforms for compliance and performance reporting & digital access points & platforms.

This is necessarily separate and distinct from Step 3, as it will focus on both monitoring and active performance management. The new integrated team will provide the unified approach to monitoring. However the day to day active performance management will be managed internally within each agency.

Step 5: Joint Review & Evaluation - The joint executive team will have responsibility for co-ordinating and undertaking a joint programme of evaluation in line with the requirements of the new strategic board. This will ensure that the joint skills provision plan adequately balances the needs & priorities of 'inclusive growth', the economy, industry sectors, employers, regional economies; as well as learners, institutions and private providers; and to hard align performance & evaluation systems with common performance measures that support the Strategic Plan's KPIs & 'inclusive growth' framework and realisation of return on investment throughout the system. This will be consistent with and fit within the ambit of the SG's new National Performance Framework and the associated analytical unit.


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