Evidence was drawn from the USA, Canada, Australia, Belgium (Flanders), and Sweden. All have skill systems and models of local governance that reflect their unique historical development. But this does not preclude learning lessons from their experiences that can inform the process local areas in England are embarking upon.
Enabling effective local working is dependent upon:
• sustained and sufficient national government funding;
• sufficient local capacity and expertise being available at the local / regional level;
• the establishment of strong local partnerships involving the public sector, education and training providers and employers – with good local leadership/co-ordinators – to identify and respond to those needs;
• ensuring that local actors are accountable through the development of performance management metrics.
There is a need to overcome various hurdles, including:
• local partners lacking adequate local labour market information to plan and monitor skills delivery and achievement;
• short-term funding arrangements undermining the development of a long-term strategy;
• local partnership arrangements becoming dominated by specific stakeholders;
• governance structures being under-developed such that actors are not sufficiently
held to account;
• local partnerships developing their own metrics which prevent national stakeholders having a unified overview of activity; and
• tensions between the goals of local and national policy resulting in the sub-optimal delivery of skills.
The main lesson is that structures can be readily put in place, but they take time to develop if they are to effectively meet their remit.