Government reviews UK Commission for Employment and Skills

A review of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills has been launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The commission’s performance is under the spotlight in the consultation, opened this week to close on Friday, March 14.

It looks at how people view the role of the commission, its impact and success, among other things.

A spokesperson for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers confirmed it would be taking part in the survey having spoken to members first.

He told FE Week: “We wish to see the commission using partnership approaches to advance its proposals, working across the sector with employers and providers.

“Its proposals for skills and employment programmes should also integrate with mainstream delivery.”

The review takes place every three years as part of a regular government examination of publicly-funded bodies, “with the aim of increasing accountability for actions carried out on behalf of the state”.

charlie-mayfield

Charlie Mayfield

In the consultation document, published by BIS, the commission’s role is defined as providing labour market intelligence, helping to “generate greater employer investment in skills” and “to maximise the impact of changed employment and skills policies and employer behaviour to help drive jobs, growth and an internationally competitive skills base”.

It is chaired by Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, who leads 29 commissioners drawn from employers and skills organisations, including Skills Funding Agency interim chief executive Barbara Spicer and Eastleigh College chief executive Tony Lau Walker. It employs around 100 staff in South Yorkshire and London.

The commission’s budget from BIS was £66.1m in 2011-12 and £70.1m the following year. Its current BIS budget was set at £66.4m.

The survey asks respondents how well it is achieving its mission and to define what they believe the commission’s role to be, and whether its functions overlap with any other organisations.

It also asks in which areas people think the commission has the most impact, in which areas it has the least, whether there is anything it should do more or less of, and if there is anything it should stop doing altogether.

The consultation document further asks if the commission will be affected by the possible decline of Sector Skills Councils, which will not be funded after next month, and if there were any other bodies which could do the work the commission does, such as local government or charities.

The results of the consultation will feed into the overall review.

The commission and the Association of Colleges declined to comment.

Visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/UKCESreview to complete the survey.