ASCL is concerned that the original proposals to reform funding and accountability with multi-year education budgets, simplified funding bands and performance dashboards were consulted on over a year ago, but the outcome of that consultation has only now been released.
The focus of the current consultation on implementation of the proposals for five new funding bands for adult education courses, one single skills fund and a lagged funding model is, on the face of it, a welcome attempt to simplify adult funding. However, we are concerned that the proposals may not bring the level of simplicity required. The combined adult education budget, starting in 2023-24, is intended to be simpler and to free up providers to be more responsive to local needs. However, this could result in changes to skills funding regulations, including rules on clawback, which would destabilise providers. The fact that some funding streams, such as bootcamps and the shared prosperity funds, will remain separate for the time being only serves to highlight the fact that the single skills fund only includes some funding streams, rather than all.
Full response to consultation