Local chambers of commerce dominate the field of newly appointed employer representative bodies, despite concerns from MPs that they may not be suitable to write skills plans.
The Department for Education has today confirmed the names of 37 business organisations that will become officially designated ‘employer representative bodies (ERBs)’ on Monday, September 5. They will each be responsible for producing and reporting on a local skills improvement plan (LSIP) for their area which sets out the changes needed to skills provision in their area.
There should be 38 ERBs, however no suitable organisation was found for the Cheshire and Warrington area, which has gone back out for bids today.
When the skills and post-16 education act was going through parliament last year, MPs raised the potential for conflicts of interest in handing responsibilities on skills planning to local employer groups and the potential for LSIPs to undermine the devolved skills plans of mayoral combined authorities. Calls for mayors to take control of LSIPs for their areas were defeated.
In total, 31 of the 37 ERBs chosen are local chambers of commerce. Others include an “auto-motive cluster” representing the north east and the Federation of Small Businesses leading LSIPs in the east midlands and Cornwall.
See below for the list in full.
However every ERB will have to “publish and maintain” a conflict of interest policy.
A brief set of terms and conditions was published today alongside the national list of ERBs which mandates each ERB to come up with processes to exclude any employees and members “from any discussion or decision making” related to a conflict. ERBs must also immediately notify DfE if any conflict of interest is perceived or has occurred.
ERB’s will have their performance monitored through “regular reports” as a condition of their grant funding, though the funding agreements themselves will not been published.
Funding worth £20.9 million over three years was made available to ERBs, £550,000 each, to develop, implement and review LSIPs including a £50,000 start-up payment per ERB.
The employer groups have until May 31, 2023 to submit their local skills improvement plans for approval by the secretary of state.
£96 million for providers to ‘reshape skills provision’
The DfE has also announced today how much each area in England will receive from the second round of the strategic development fund.
The fund is split between capital and revenue with the aim of helping providers upgrade their training facilities and build capacity to meet the needs of their local skills improvement plans.
The total shared across 41 areas of England is £95.9 million, with the south west receiving the largest share worth just over £14 million. The region which will receive the least is the north east, which will see £7.6 million.
In full – All confirmed designated employer representative bodies:
|LSIP Area||Designated Employer Representative Body|
|North East||North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) Limited|
|North of Tyne||North East England Chamber of Commerce|
|Tees Valley||North East England Chamber of Commerce|
|Cheshire and Warrington||No ERB chosen – expression of interest exercise underway|
|Cumbria||Cumbria Chamber of Commerce|
|Greater Manchester||Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce|
|Lancashire||North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce|
|Liverpool City Region||St Helens Chamber|
|Hull and East Yorkshire||Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce|
|South Yorkshire||Doncaster Chamber of Commerce|
|West Yorkshire||West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce|
|York and North Yorkshire||West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce|
|Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire||Federation of Small Businesses|
|Greater Lincolnshire||Federation of Small Businesses|
|Leicester and Leicestershire||East Midlands Chamber of Commerce|
|South-East Midlands||Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce (incorporating Milton Keynes Chamber)|
|Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire||Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry|
|The Marches||Shropshire Chamber of Commerce|
|West Midlands & Warwickshire||Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber|
|Worcestershire||Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce|
|Cambridgeshire and Peterborough||Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce|
|Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock||Essex Chamber of Commerce|
|Hertfordshire||Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce|
|Norfolk & Suffolk||Norfolk Chambers of Commerce|
|Greater London||Business LDN (Formally London First)|
|Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, West Sussex||Sussex Chamber of Commerce|
|Buckinghamshire||Buckinghamshire Business First|
|Enterprise M3 (including all of Surrey)||Surrey Chambers of Commerce|
|Kent and Medway||Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce|
|Oxfordshire||Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group|
|Solent||Hampshire Chamber of Commerce|
|Thames Valley Berkshire||Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group|
|Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly||Federation of Small Businesses|
|Dorset||Dorset Chambers of Commerce|
|Gloucestershire||Business West Chambers of Commerce|
|Heart of the South West||Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce|
|Swindon and Wiltshire||Business West Chamber of Commerce|
|West of England and North Somerset||Business West Chamber of Commerce|