Culture and Communities Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Culture and Communities Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Monday 10 September 2018
1:00 p.m.
Conference Room, 1st Floor, Multi Media Exchange, 72-80 Corporation Road, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Councillor R Arundale, Councillor S Biswas, Councillor D J Branson, Councillor D Davison, Councillor S Dean, Councillor J Goodchild, Councillor L Lewis
A Allen, S Blood and C Kemp
Apologies for absence:
Councillor R Brady, Councillor Z Uddin
Declarations of interest:

none declared

Item Number Item/Resolution

The minutes of the meeting held on 23 July 2018 were submitted and approved as a true record.


The panel discussed PREVENT and the new laws surrounding stop and search by the Police.




That the minutes be accepted as true record


The Chair welcomed the Director of Culture, Communizes and Communication and the Community Learning Manager to the meeting.

This was the first evidence session in relation to Community Learning specifically looking at adult education and how it links to employability.

The Director advised that within Middlesbrough there were two main providers for community and adult learning, Middlesbrough College and Middlesbrough Community Learning. The panel learnt that the College was recently being inspected by Ofsted and Middlesbrough Community Learning was due to be inspected in 2019.

The panel also heard that Middlesbrough HUBS and libraries also delivered courses within the community e.g. basic maths and ESOL.



In terms of learning, the Community Learning Manager outlined that in 2011, the Government introduced a Strategy entitled 'New Chances, New Challenges' where there was a move from leisure learning to delivering employability skills.

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) currently stood at £1,563,132 which delivered three projects:


  • Adult education budget (Community Learning and Adult skills )
  • Youth Employment Intitative (YEI)
  • Routes to work

The panel learnt that the AEB was currently in devolution transition between the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and the Tees Valley Joint Authority (TVCA). The Community Learning Manager advised that the budget would be transferred to the TVCA in 2019 however they anticipated that there would be a phased transition and they were excepted to continue as they current do until 2020;.

The purpose of AEB aimed to engage adults and provide the skills and learning they need to equip them for work, an apprenticeship or other learning. It enabled more flexible tailored programmes of learning to be made available, which may or may not require a qualification, to help eligible learners engage in learning, build confidence, and/or enhance their wellbeing (ESFA funding rules 2018/19).

The TVCA had agreed some principles for the management / delivery of the AEB, which are as follows:


  • Maximise funding to learner
  • Prioritise Tees Valley based delivery
  • Support appropriate, value for money sub-contracting
  • Progression - community learning to formal learning route ways
  • Outcome measurement-destination of learners
  • Quality provision
  • Linked to labour market demand

It was discussed that the Common Spectrum Framework changed to delivering skills, and in turn the TVCA was focussed on outcomes, linking to how courses can help individuals seek employment, with the purpose of ensuring individuals can gain a level of English which they can survive within a work setting. The Common Spectrum Framework had only been in place for 6 months and already it is seeing outcomes.

The Community Learning Manager advised that in years of outcomes of Middlesbrough Community Learning, 3 years ago, only 6% of learning went on to gain employment however in 2017 this increased to 33%.

The panel had a discussion regarding and how non accredited courses are monitored. In response, the Community Learning Manager advised that Ofsted have a system called Recognising and recording progress and achievement (RARPA).

In terms of the National Legal entitlement, individuals are entitled too:


  • English and Maths for those who have not previously achieved a GCSE Grade A*-C or grade 4 or higher
  • First full level 2 qualifications (19-23 year olds)
  • First full level 3 qualifications (19-23 year olds)
  • Learners earning less than £15,736.50
  • In addition to the above list a new entitlement for digital ICT training will come in force in the 2020.


Aimed for individuals aged 19 plus


In terms of delivery, the AEB budget had two core aims:


  1. Community Learning- has a budget of £659,688
  2. Adult Skills- has a budget £903,444

The purpose of community learning was to develop the skills, confidence, motivation and resilience of adults of different ages and backgrounds in order to:

  • progress towards formal learning or employment and/or
  • improve their health and well-being, including mental health and/or develop stronger communities

The Adult Education budget (Skills) funds an agreed list of eligible qualifications that move participants to a positive destination, work, further education or apprenticeships.

In terms of  the Community Learning budget , it was broken down as follows:


  • Family Learning (19%)
  • Digital Literacy (23%)
  • Middlesbrugh Priorities (38%)
  • Volunteering (4%)
  • Health Literacy (7%)
  • Steps towards (5%)- project whereby individuals gain 2 weeks experience in a skilled job e.g. housekeeping within a hotel. At the end of their expereince, they are guaranteed  an interview and success rate is high 
  • Discretionary (4%)

In terms of the Middlesbrough Skills budget , it was broken down as follows:


  • English and Maths (29%)
  • ESOL (58%)
  • Work Readiness assessment (5%)
  • Night school (3%)
  • Supporting schools (2%)- in delievering courses identified by the school e.g basic maths

The Community Learning Officer finally advised that the AEB performance was monitored by the following:


  • Ofsted report
  • Annual self assessment report
  • Published benchmarking data on achievement
  • Published benchmarking data on Learner feedback
  • Management walkthrough
  • MCL performance report
  • External reports
  • Observation of teaching and learning reports
  • Advisory board


Aimed for individuals aged 15- 29 Years


The Panel were informed that the Tees Valley Pathways & Routeways Programmes are part of Youth Employment Initiative which was part-funded by European Social Fund. It aimed to engage 6,500 young people across Tees Valley and support young people aged 15 to 29 years old who were unemployed and / or not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The Community Learning Manager outlined that the Programmes have a combined contract value of £19.29m with Hartlepool Borough Council as the Lead Accountable Body and there were 27 Delivery Partners with the Tees Valley Pathways & Routeways Programmes being delivered across the whole of the Tees Valley until 31st July 2018. The project had secured 4 years funding.

The aim of Tess Valley Pathways was to:

  • Provision to engage, support and progress young people including those furthest away from the labour market.
  • Bespoke activities to address personal barriers to progression such as offending and ESOL.
  • Alternative enrichment activities for young people using sports, music, digital, creative arts and outdoor activities.
  • Specialised programmes to develop entrepreneurial skills to support young people into self-employment.
  • Access to a Flexible Fund to move a young person closer to the labour market such as tools, equipment or PPE.


The project had a budget of £1,38 million and in July 2018 the project had 466 participants. The performance indicators were discussed and outlined within the presentation.

The panel heard that each individual has an advisor who mentors them through the YEI, offering advice and guidance.

Referrals are made through Middlesbrough Council's Stronger Families service and self referrals, who have gained knowledge of YEI through social media/ word of mouth. The Community Learning Manager outlined that there is a lack of referrals from the job centre, however this was an issue they were looking to address.


Budget total = £1,580,272
Aimed at individuals aged 30 years and over and those either in :

  • over 2 years unemployed, or
  • who have significant/multiple barriers who are unlikely to find work in the next 12 months, e.g. ex-offenders; disability; BME/ESOL needed; SEND; drug/alcohol dependencies, or
  • who have had a claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) rejected, or
  • are on the ESA Support Group (have a significant health issue but may be able to work with assistance), or
  • are not in work but are disengaged from the benefit system.

The pilot scheme was introduced in October 2017, it was a £6m DWP matched by £1.5 million from the combined Authority. The three year pilot scheme was to support the ‘hardest to help’ to move back into, or towards work, by providing joined up services, centred around the individual.


The panel learnt that the key elements of the project were:


Test out four innovative elements:

  • Creation of multi-agency teams;
  • Use of ‘Key Workers’ who can provide holistic support around the individual on the Pilot and into work;
  • Targeted use of advocacy/ brokerage with employers;
  • Ongoing in-work support (for the individual/employer) for up to 12 months.


The Pilot should also:

  • be fully integrated with other existing services offered by a range of partners;
  • cross refer to other programmes and aim to fill any gaps in existing provision, using flexible funding.

So far the project has engaged 93 partcipants in the project and they aim to engaged 650 by the four years.


The panel were extremely complementary of the projects, however were keen to know more about them, meet the staff responsbile for delivering them as well and learning about their outcomes.  UIt was therefore agreed to invite responsible officers to the next meeting.


The Chair thanked the Director and Community Learning Manager for their informative presentation.




That the presentation be noted





The Invetsigation outline was submitted to the panel for information.  The panel were advised that the outline was a working document and would be amended as the review continued.


It was agreed that the draft terms of reference would be drawn up by the Chair and circulated via email round the panel and be approved at the next meeting.




That the investigation outline be noted

That the draft terms of reference by circulated to the panel for approval at the next meeting.


The Chair presented an update on the matters that were considered at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 4 September 2018 . The Chair provided the Scrutiny Panel with information in respect of the following items:


  • Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) - Southlands Centre;
  • School Reserves - Service Update, and
  • Scrutiny Panel Progress Reports


AGREED as follows:


  • That the update be noted
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