Issue details

24/00045 - KCC CLS Accountability Statement

Proposed decision:


The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills to agree the Accountability Statement.


Reason for the decision:


The decision is required to meet DfE requirement for an Annual Accountability Statement, as part of the contractual annual Accountability Agreement.




Accountability Agreements were introduced by the DfE in the 2023 to 2024 academic year and consist of a 2-part document setting the overall expectations of providers (including local authorities delivering more than £1 million of post -16 provision) in return for funding. The agreement focusses on what colleges, designated institutions and local authorities deliver in the year ahead and how they intend to support local, regional, and national needs. These annual Statements should in all cases be informed by providers’ longer term strategic plans and ambitions and (for those institutions within scope) the actions and outcomes from the Local Needs Duty.


Part 1 of the agreement is the ‘accountability framework’. DfE are using it to set out National Skills Priorities as well as the essential terms and conditions that providers need to meet in return for funds. Part 1 identifies required levers to ensure the effective management and assurance of public funds, the protection of learners as well as requiring sound governance.


Part 2, the ‘annual Accountability Statement’ is a provider document that is owned by KCC/ CLS as the provider and should set out a small number of outcome targets for areas of curriculum that providers are planning to change for the coming year. These targets reflect contributions to priorities outlined in Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs), being led by Employer Representative Bodies (ERBs) working with employers, providers and local stakeholders including MCAs, local authorities, and other agencies and to National Skills Priorities listed below. Local authority learning organisations within scope should make reference to their tailored learning provision, particularly where this meets local skills needs.


Providers must submit their next annual Accountability Statement to the DfE by 30 June 2024.


How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026 :


Implementing the proposals will contribute towards the following priorities:



·   To support the Kent economy to be resilient and successfully adapt to the challenges and opportunities it faces over the coming years.

·   To work with partners to develop a skills system for Kent that delivers skills that are resilient to changing workforce needs and opportunities and supports people to higher level skills.


How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future:

Implementing the proposals will contribute towards Objective 2 and Objective 3 of securing Kent’s future:

- the 2024-25 budget included the assumption ESFA funding would be used to support the continual delivery of CLS, not securing this funding would lead to a significant overspend whether the service is continued or not. Therefore, this is avoiding the significant negative financial impact of not accepting this funding. 

- The transformation of the service, in line with the accountability statement and in response to changes in Government priorities, will aim to return to self-funded model of delivery and financial sustainability in the longer term (recognising there may be a short-term pressure whilst this transformation takes place).


Financial Implications:


The annual accountability statement is required to secure the majority of the revenue funding needed to support the operation of Community Learning & Skills service (CLS, is also supplemented by fee income). This funding is also conditional on meeting additional criteria. CLS aims to be a self-funded service, with direct costs, funded from either the ESFA funding and supplementary fee income. The strategic aims of the ESFA funding is changing and will require the Council to consider changes in services provided which is expected to lead to a short term deficit, where costs will be higher than income received, as the service changes to meet the new requirements.    


The ESFA funding contracts covered by the accountability statement are the Adult Skills Fund, comprising Tailored learning and Adult Skills core, Free courses for jobs and the 16-19 Education contract. The annual value (indicative for 24/25) of these contracts is £ 9,520,878 and are broken down as follows:


·         Tailored Learning £6,705,376

·         Adult Skills Core £1,995,762

·         Free Courses for Jobs £90,296

·         16-19 Education £729,444


The tailored learning funding is a fixed grant which is intended to support the Council in delivering its agreed identified learning aims which are set in line with the ESFA strategic aims of the grant. The amount of funding received for the other funding categories is dependent on either the number of specific qualifications achieved by learners, or the number of learners taking part in specific courses.


In the case that the ESFA does not receive a suitably authorised accountability statement, funding will not be provided to KCC. The accountability statement constitutes a contractual obligation and as such the ESFA makes clear that failure to comply will result in payments being frozen.


Without this funding the service would either need to be funded by the Council’s general fund (i.e. council tax) or the service would need to cease.


Decision type: Key

Decision status: For Determination

Notice of proposed decision first published: 07/05/2024

Decision due: Not before 5th Jun 2024 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Reason: To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead director: Christine McInnes

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: Email:


The proposed decision was considered and endorsed at the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee on 16th May 2024.


Financial implications: Please see detail above

Legal implications: KCC does not deliver the CLS services pursuant to specific statutory powers or duties. KCC is required to deliver the CLS services in exchange for funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (“ESFA”).

Equalities implications: Equalities implications: None identified. Data Protection implications: DPIA was not considered necessary due to the lack of personal / sensitive information.