Partnership & Engagement

Community Learning activities

Partnership working is already central to the delivery of Community Learning for the majority of, if not all, providers. However, BIS and the Skills Funding Agency have explicitly highlighted the importance of partnership working in their various policy documents:

"…using effective local partnerships to bring together key providers and relevant local agencies and services" - New Challenges, New Chances, BIS 2011

"Providers will need to operate in strong local partnerships…" - Skills Funding Statement, 2012-15

"You must provide evidence of how you will work in strong local partnerships…" - Funding Rules, 2013-14

The Community Learning budget is the only Skills Funding Agency budget that has this requirement.  The expectation is that local providers in receipt of Community Learning budgets should collaboratively plan provision.  Partnerships are seen as a mechanism for making effective use of Community Learning allocations by avoiding duplication and unnecessary competition. The Agency emphasises partnership and collaboration as a way of ensuring the maximum impact for learners from the £210m Community Learning budget. Aggressive competition that aims to eliminate others from the market is particularly frowned upon and seen as damaging and wasteful of public money.

A key requirement placed on partnerships is that they should ensure that the community learning programme on offer is what local people want and need.

"…devolving planning and accountability to neighbourhood / parish level, with local people involved in decisions about the learning offer" - New Challenges, New Chances, BIS 2011

We want local people to have a real voice in deciding the kind of learning they want. We want each trust to recognise and meet the differing needs, wishes and aspirations of its various communities, working with local people, local organisations, local businesses and local services in a way that strengthens and builds civil society.

"Publicly funded providers will be accountable to their communities…" - Community Learning Trust Pilots: Prospectus, BIS

"…deliver a truly locally determined offer … ensure plans and strategies are underpinned by engagement and consultation with communities, local authorities, LEPs and other key local stakeholders" - Skills Funding Statement, 2012-15

"…make sure your identified objectives are underpinned by working with and consulting communities, local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and other relevant local stakeholders" - Funding Rules, 2013-14

Most community learning providers have extensive and well-developed systems for getting feedback from current and previous learners about the quality of what is on offer. However, many of them have less experience of effectively involving individuals and communities in determining what that offer should comprise.

This resource contains a wide range of case studies of effective partnership working and community engagement undertaken by CLT pilots. It also contains some short summaries of tips for effective partnership working and community engagement. This resource will be added to over time.

Decision-makers meet learners
27 January 2017

Decision-makers meet learners

A guide to holding a ‘decision-makers meet learners’ event as a way of engaging local commissioners and decision-makers and generating an understanding of the contribution community learning can make to their agendas.

Notes – Commissioning
27 January 2017

Notes – Commissioning

A summary of the discussions from round tables looking at commissioning approaches that improve the learning offer for disadvantaged groups.

Curriculum co-design
27 January 2017

Curriculum co-design

A guide to introducing a co-design approach to developing a curriculum for disadvantaged groups.

Notes – Curriculum development
27 January 2017

Notes – Curriculum development

A summary of the discussions from round tables looking at curriculum development to meet the needs of disadvantaged groups.

Capacity building – notes
27 January 2017

Capacity building – notes

A summary of the discussions from round tables looking at capacity-building of voluntary and community organisations.

The adult learning landscape: an overview
27 January 2017

The adult learning landscape: an overview

Presentation by Jon Gamble, Director of Community Learning Reform, Skills Funding Agency at the NIACE/L&Q summit for housing and homelessness organisations, October 2013.

Barriers for disadvantaged groups
27 January 2017

Barriers for disadvantaged groups

A stimulus paper providing background information for those attending the seminar.

The policy context
27 January 2017

The policy context

Presentation by Nicolette Divecha, Assistant Director, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

Community learning and disadvantage
27 January 2017

Community learning and disadvantage

Presentation by Jane Watts, Programme Manager, NIACE.

Progress update: Kent CLT
27 January 2017

Progress update: Kent CLT

Progress update on Kent CLT in March 2013 demonstrating a considerable focus on partnership working.

Progress update: West of England CLT
27 January 2017

Progress update: West of England CLT

Progress update on West of England CLT including descriptions of neighbourhood planning exercises designed to shape future provision of community learning.

CLR workshop: Partnership snapshots
27 January 2017

CLR workshop: Partnership snapshots

Snapshot of the partnership approach adopted by 3 of the CLT pilots.

CLR workshop: Sheffield CLT Squid model
27 January 2017

CLR workshop: Sheffield CLT Squid model

Description of the partnership model adopted by Sheffield CLT.

CLR workshop: Partnership key messages
27 January 2017

CLR workshop: Partnership key messages

Key messages from CLT pilots’ experiences of working in partnership.

West of England CLT Partner Pledge
27 January 2017

West of England CLT Partner Pledge

West of England Community Learning Trust created a ‘Partner Pledge’ to engage local organisations and businesses in Community Learning. Over 150 partners made a pledge, ranging from neighbourhood organisations and housing associations to major companies such...Read more »

Pilot workshop 5: Cambridgeshire Community Learning and Skills Partnerships
27 January 2017

Pilot workshop 5: Cambridgeshire Community Learning and Skills Partnerships

Contains details of how this well-established district partnership model works in practice at local level.

Pilot workshop 4: Birmingham CLT
27 January 2017

Pilot workshop 4: Birmingham CLT

Describes the characteristics, progress and future opportunities for the partners involved in Birmingham CLT.

Pilot workshop 4: Derby CLT
27 January 2017

Pilot workshop 4: Derby CLT

Presentation describes the extensive community engagement activity undertaken by Derby CLT Handout – questions used in community of inquiry Also includes a You Tube Video of Derby Festival of Adult Learning

Pilot workshop 4: Exeter Trust in Learning
27 January 2017

Pilot workshop 4: Exeter Trust in Learning

Describes how Exeter Trust in Learning uses volunteers as a key tool in their community engagement activities.

Pilot workshop 3: Your Say Your Way
27 January 2017

Pilot workshop 3: Your Say Your Way

Includes description of Your Say Your Way neighbourhood governance model.

Pilot features
27 January 2017

Pilot features

Provides an overview of each pilot’s main features as described in their original application including: themes, operating model, plan to be accountable to local communities, and approaches to impact.

Pilot workshop 5: Liberate (Aspire Sussex)
27 January 2017

Pilot workshop 5: Liberate (Aspire Sussex)

Describes a CLT model with 26 partners where learners and LEPs are ‘company members’ which empowers them to make decisions and to engage more with the local community.

Pilot workshop 5: Sunderland City Council
27 January 2017

Pilot workshop 5: Sunderland City Council

Presentation describes a CLT model underpinned by community learning forums as a key tool for community engagement. Handout – progress update March 2013.

Community Learning Partnerships Work in Birmingham – case study by the Birmingham Community Learning Trust (CLT)
27 January 2017

Community Learning Partnerships Work in Birmingham – case study by the Birmingham Community Learning Trust (CLT)

The case study describes a collaborative approach between the Birmingham Adult Education Service, Further Education colleges and voluntary sector partners to planning community learning in Birmingham. It sets out the processes used and describes the achievements...Read more »

CLT pilot evaluation report
27 January 2017

CLT pilot evaluation report

Interim progress report of CLT pilots.  Contains a chapter on Partnership Working, Engagement and Pound Plus which includes several case studies.   Partnership working and community engagement will be explored further in the final report.

Pilot workshop 5: Adult Learning Shared Services Project
27 January 2017

Pilot workshop 5: Adult Learning Shared Services Project

Presentation describes the findings of the SFA’s shared services and efficiencies projects in local authority adult learning services. Handout contains details of 8 Challenge Fund projects and 2 Pathfinder projects, all based on partnerships of local...Read more »

Overall summary report
27 January 2017

Overall summary report

This report presents the findings of a short project undertaken by NIACE between to investigate how Community Learning reform was being implemented locally in the first year of full, national policy roll-out.  It provides a snapshot...Read more »

Partnership – Top Tips
27 January 2017

Partnership – Top Tips

This document has been developed by NIACE drawing on the experience of the CLT pilots and other relevant NIACE work.