15 Oct

Blog Post #04 – Policy Compass in Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Adult Learning & Skills (ALS) Service is one of 7 partners involved in the Policy Compass project.

In Cambridgeshire, Policy Compass will be trialled as part of the policy process centred on the new Skills Strategy for Cambridgeshire running up to 2020 which is a major policy decision process for the County. The vision for the Skills Strategy is to improve the skills of young people and adults across Cambridgeshire.

At a local level ALS holds the Cambridgeshire Adult Learning Fund (CALF) which is available every year for organisations to bid for to develop skill levels within communities. The fund is used to distribute resources to local training agencies that specialise in adult learning. Via this fund ALS aims to commission, deliver and support learning in ways that contribute directly to the core objectives of the Service and wider strategy which include:

  • bringing together people from all backgrounds, cultures and income groups, including people who can and cannot afford to pay
  • using effective local partnerships to bring together key providers and relevant local agencies and services
  • devolving planning and accountability to neighbourhood/parish level, with local people involved in decisions about the learning offered
  • involving volunteers and Voluntary and Community Sector organisation (VCSO) groups
  • supporting the wide use of online information and learning resources
  • minimising overheads, bureaucracy and administration.

The County of Cambridgeshire is made up of 5 districts council areas and each district area has a Community Learning & Skills Partnership (CLAS) made up of representatives from community or training providers, schools, job centres, local colleges and voluntary and community organisations. Each district has an allocation of CALF funding and an application process is in place where providers can bid for funding to deliver a project to meet the identified priorities. Information on this fund can be found at www.calf.org.uk.

With increasing amounts of data and information being made available online and with funding often focussed on outcomes, it has become even more important for funding recipients being able to evidence this and to be able to demonstrate the impact of the learning.

ALS will use Policy Compass as a policy modelling tool for the CALF budget. Policy modelling will allow the services to plan the provision and budgets of the fund. By using open data trends in learners and learning outcomes can be identified as well as areas where more work could be focussed. ALS will be using this tool to help demonstrate the impact of the Cambridgeshire Adult Learning Fund (CALF) which has been available for some years and through which a number of learning programmes and projects have been run.

The two user groups: the experts and community groups will be made up of those individuals directly involved in Community Learning. The CALF Panel will be the expert group. The Panel are responsible for allocating the CALF budget to training providers and deciding which projects get funded. The Community group will be made up of members of Learner Advisory Panel (LAPs). LAPs are a new development for the Service and are designed to engage service users directly with the Service, giving feedback and helping plan provision at a local level.