Skills: shared outcomes framework

This framework is the means by which Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council will monitor and report on collaborative projects that contribute to overarching skills outcomes.

Annex C: Shared Outcomes Assurance Group Terms of Reference


1. This paper provides a Terms of Reference setting out the purpose and functions of the group, agreed by members following the first meeting of the group on 17 January 2022.


2. The Shared Outcomes Assurance Group builds on the task and finish work of the Skills Alignment Assurance Group to monitor, constructively challenge and champion the work across the joint agency projects that form part of the Shared Outcomes Framework between SDS and SFC.

3. The changes to governance reflect that the skills alignment pathfinder projects have now moved in to a delivery phase. This group is part of collaborative business as usual, including monitoring and reporting of progress against milestones across delivery partners, providing an opportunity to delve into projects in greater depth and to assure ourselves as they progress that they are contributing to the overarching outcomes of the Shared Outcomes Framework.

4. The establishment of this group reflects the importance the Scottish Government places on this agenda and in taking a leadership role to drive forward policy development and delivery, including in taking forward the collaborative skills actions flowing from the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.


5. The remit of this group includes setting and agreeing the outcomes, measures and impacts of the Shared Outcomes Framework as well as assurance and oversight for all of the projects and programmes that fall within its ambit.

6. These currently include;

  • Developing the Education and Skills Economic and Social Impact Framework (ESIF);
  • Apprenticeships – Delivery of Graduate and Foundation Apprenticeships
  • Lifelong upskilling and retraining - Delivery of skills programmes including FWDF
  • North East Regional Skills Alignment Pathfinder
  • South of Scotland Regional Skills Alignment Pathfinder
  • Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan – including gathering the evidence base on net zero skills demand and pilot on decarbonisation of domestic and commercial heating.

7. This group does not duplicate more detailed programme governance or strategy forums that are in place nor does it replace ongoing one to one discussions on budgets and other matters between sponsor teams and agencies. The relationships between existing groups are outlined in Annex A and will flex and respond as the delivery landscape changes over time.

8. The Group will have an operational oversight role for the collaborative skills actions contained within the SFC review and the forthcoming National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

Proposed Terms of Reference

9. The purpose of the Shared Outcomes Assurance Group is to:

  • Provide collective and collaborative leadership and assurance across all projects and programmes covered by the Shared Outcomes Framework - assuring ourselves of progress at official level and taking remedial action where required in advance of the 6 weekly joint agency Chair and Chief Executive meetings with the Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training.

10. To do this effectively, the Shared Outcomes Assurance Group will:

  • Commission updates and invite project and programme leads to take the group through project deep dives at key stages of the projects.
  • Inform and oversee the further development of the Shared Outcomes Framework including measures, outcomes and indicators of success.
  • Ensure effective progress is being made in line with implementation plans, reports and presentations provided in advance of these meetings (as detailed in the reporting section of this document) seeking to understand and overcome any barriers to collaboration.
  • Identify and agree any actions required to unlock progress in advance of the joint agency/ Ministerial meeting.
  • Discuss and agree items that require consideration by the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board and/or engagement with wider stakeholders, in particular as part of the Scottish Government’s joint principles for working with business.
  • Ensure that all partners and project leads provide updates to the Shared Outcomes Framework dashboard in advance of each meeting.


11. Membership of this group should comprise the SROs for the programmes in the Shared Outcomes Framework across agency partners and government.

12. Additional attendees will be invited to speak to specific projects and programmes and should be requested via the secretariat.


13. The group will meet for the first time in January 2022 to agree remit, terms of reference, membership and forward plan.

14. There is no anticipated end date for this group. As well as supporting collaborative skills activity already identified as part of the Shared Outcomes Framework this will also be a working level forum for the skills actions as part of NSET.

15. The delivery mechanisms for the NSET, including overarching governance and accountability are still being developed and the remit and composition of this group may have to be revisited once final arrangements are in place.


16. The meeting will usually be 1 hour 30 minutes to allow for detailed discussion.

17. The first half of the meeting will be devoted to seeking assurance on progress across all projects and programmes within the framework. This will be reporting by exception on any projects with a RAG status of Red or Amber and discussion and agreement on actions required to resolve these issues bringing performance back on track.

18. The second half of the meeting will be a deep dive in to one or two key projects or programmes within the Shared Outcomes Framework.


19. Each Shared Outcomes Assurance Group meeting will receive a dashboard format report covering progress with all projects and programmes at a glance. This will be further updated following the meeting and provided to the Minister, Chairs and Chief Executives in advance of their joint meeting.

20. Any more detailed updates or matters arising from the Shared Outcomes Assurance Group will be provided as briefing or papers in advance of the Ministerial meeting.

21. The group will also report to any other delivery structure established to oversee the implementation of the NSET.


22. It is anticipated that the group will meet around every 6 weeks, 2 weeks in advance of the joint agency Ministerial meeting to assure ourselves of progress against key milestones for the projects and programmes in the Shared Outcomes Framework.

23. The group will meet more regularly or progress issues by correspondence if required.

24. A written record of key discussions and actions will be kept of each meeting. The secretariat will be provided by the Scottish Government and the agenda, along with any related papers, will be circulated at least 3 working days prior to the Group meeting.

25. Minutes and actions from each meeting will be circulated within a week of the meeting taking place; in line with the commitment made to the Public Audit Committee, the finalised minute will be placed on the Scottish Government website.

26. Meetings between members to progress work may take place out with the assurance group. No formal record will be held of these.

27. In order for the meeting to proceed there must be, at minimum, a chair and representation from SG, SFC and SDS.

28. Project and programme leads will regularly be invited to attend to lead the group on a deep dive on individual projects.

Collective Responsibility

29. Group members are encouraged to engage in full and frank discussions at meetings and in a genuine spirit of collaboration focused on delivering the right outcomes for the people of Scotland.

30. In the event that a member has a reservation regarding a particular decision, they may ask for their dissent to be formally recorded in the minute. Once a decision has been reached, all members should support it.

31. Actions agreed at the group and allocated to group members should be actioned within agreed timescales and in the event that this is not possible an update should be provided to the secretariat at the earliest opportunity.

Conflict of Interest

32. Members and attendees have the duty to advise of any conflict of interest with respect to all matters presented before the group.



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