The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and a significant component of its support for local areas of the UK. It will provide £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment by March 2025. All areas of the UK will receive an allocation from the Fund via a funding formula rather than a competition.
In order to access UKSPF funding, lead local authorities are being asked to complete an investment plan. In this, the authorities must set out how they intend to use and deliver the funding. UKSPF aims to empower local leaders and communities to deliver locally-identified priorities. The investment plan process has been designed with this in mind.
Lead local authorities have also been asked to develop their investment plan in conjunction with local stakeholders. Places should establish or designate a local partnership group to consult when developing their investment plan. Both the lead local authority and UK government must then agree the plans to unlock the allocations.
The fund will be split into three investment priorities (communities and place; supporting local business; and people and skills).
ERSA’s response to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund:
The People and Skills priority is most relevant to ERSA members, with the prospectus stating that; “Places can use their funding to help reduce the barriers some people face to employment and support them to move towards employment and education.”
However, UKSPF will focus on communities, place and local business interventions in 2022-23 and 2023-24. People and skills funding will follow, from 2024-25.
One major concern for ERSA and its members is for the organisations that deliver over a larger geographical area than the local authority areas that have been selected by the government. The prospectus set out that lead local authorities working together to agree and commission people and skills activity is “strongly encouraged”. However, this leaves many organisations relying on the enterprise of lead local authorities. This leaves the future of many organisations and the people they support in limbo.
Similarly, if local authorities do not collaborate, which cannot always be easy due to the lack of avenues to facilitate this, will organisations have to make the same plea to several different lead local authorities in order to carry out vital provision? If this is the case, this seems incredibly counterintuitive to the government’s promise of “reducing levels of bureaucracy”.
In order to deliver effective programmes, in our view, a Case Management System should be a fundamental part of your operation, allowing users to record their end-to-end delivery, track progress and report to funding authorities and providing the ability to evidence the effectiveness of your projects.
With over 35 years’ experience in delivering multiple government funded contracts. CogniSoft’s YETI is the ideal system to support your delivery.
Please call 0161 777 2900 or email email@example.com to find out how CogniSoft can help you deliver your Employability and Skills programmes.