Another sign that the Learning and Skills Council is gradually coming into force came at the end of last week, when Education and Employment Minister Baroness Blackstone announced the appointment of 45 new Local Learning and Skills Council Executive Directors.
The announcement follows the appointment of Chief Executive John Harwood in July and the appointment of Bryan Sanderson as Chair in June. The Executive Directors, who are appointed for a four-year period on a salary of £51,975 - £85,047 per annum will work closely with local Chairs and with the National LSC Chief Executive when the new structure comes into place in April 2001.
Announcing the appointments, Baroness Blackstone said that "the people who lead the Councils at the local level will be responsible for creating a credible, prestigious and high profile body commanding respect from employers, providers and learners alike."
A key issue highlighted by a TrainingZONE member recently is the degree to which local LSCs will have discretion to make decisions relating to local needs. The Baroness has said that "there is real strength in a single national organisation. But we need local flexibility within that. That,s why we are giving the 47 local Councils real decision-making powers. The local LSCs will ensure that the needs of local communities, including employers and individuals, are met. And they will have significant resources to deliver these responsibilities including allocation of the great majority of the LSCs £6 billion. This will include responsibility for a range of local discretionary budgets which will amount to around 10-15% of the LSC's total budget."
Commenting on the appointments, John Harwood, recently designated Chief Executive said; "The local Executive Directors will play a crucial role in achieving our goals. As representatives of the Learning Skills Council on the ground, they will put in place a firm foundation for local delivery, leading the new post-16 agenda in partnership with colleges, training providers, employers and learners in every part of the country. With just over six months to the new Council coming into operation there is much to be done. One of our main priorities will be to ensure a smooth transfer to the new funding structure. We now have the right people in place to get the work done."
The DfEE's website has a full list of those appointed.