Policy Council - Thursday, 3rd December, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies


Prayers by the Mayor’s Chaplain


Minutes of the Council Forum Meeting held on 1st October 2020 pdf icon PDF 282 KB


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 8 KB


To consider Motions submitted under Procedure Rule 12:

One Motion has been submitted as follows:


Council Motion Save Union Learning


On Tuesday 6 October 2020, the TUC received a letter from the Department for Education saying that ministers have decided to end the Union Learning Fund from March 2021. 


The Union Learning Fund (ULF) was set up in 1998 to support trade unions to widen access to learning and training in workplaces for both union members and non-members. The fund supports workplace projects across England, and is coordinated by the TUC. 


Each year around 200,000 workers are supported into learning or training with union support through the ULF and the TUC. These learners undertake all sorts of job-relevant learning and training, including basic literacy and numeracy, ICT skills, apprenticeships and traineeships, vocational training, continuing professional development and many other informal and formal courses. 


In 2019–20, the ULF was worth £12m. If upheld this decision will effectively end union-brokered skills training, and will undermine key government skills and retraining priorities at a crucial moment for our economy.  


This Council understands that: 


1.    Union learning reaches people that other DfE programmes do not reach.  


2.    There is an independent evaluation of the Union Learning Fund every two years. It was most recently evaluated by the University of Exeter in 2018. They spoke to 2,459 learners, and found a number of key benefits and outcomes from the Learning Fund, in terms of skills, qualifications and also benefits to both the employer and employee.


3.    The 2018 independent evaluation found that union learning provided excellent value for money in terms of return in investment for both the employer and employee, contribution to the economy, return to the exchequer and leverage of additional funding.


4.     The Government has said it will put reskilling workers at the heart of its economic recovery plans after the pandemic. In September 2020, the Government announced a new fully funded entitlement to achieve a first level 3 qualification, delivered through the National Skills Fund. Union learning is ideally placed to support this aspiration.


5.    Successive governments of all parties have valued this role – and have supported the Union Learning Fund. As government funding, it is paid as a contract and is subject to stringent monitoring requirements. Union Learning Fund money can only be spent on the direct costs of getting working people into learning and skills training, and the associated costs of delivering this programme. 


6.    ULF projects adapted quickly to delivering online learning and training for workers during the pandemic and have actually surpassed the number of outcomes expected by Government since the beginning of April. 


This Council resolves to: 

1.    Express its public support for the continuation of the Union Learning Fund; and 

2.    Raise this issue with Kate Hollern MP and Jake Berry MP and encourage them to call on the Government to reverse its decision. 


Moved by: Councillor Brian Taylor

Seconded by: Councillor Julie Gunn


2020 Local and National Reflection: 2021 - Future Priorities pdf icon PDF 527 KB

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Community Governance Review - Parish of Livesey pdf icon PDF 236 KB

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Audit and Governance Committee Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

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The Council's Organisational and Departmental Structure pdf icon PDF 436 KB


Year Planner 2020-21 and 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 261 KB

To approve an amendment to the existing Year-Planner for 2020/21 - change of date for Finance Council in 2021 (22nd February to 1st March 2020).


To receive the draft Year- Planner for 2021/22 and approve changes to the date of Annual Council (13th May to 20th May 2021) and Civic Sunday (23rd May to 6th June 2021).

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