Section 61: Provision of financial resources
186.Subsection (1) places a duty on the YPLA to secure the provision of financial resources to persons who provide education and training to young persons within the remit of the new LEA duties imposed by sections 15ZA and 18A of the Education Act 1996 (see sections 41 and 48), and also to LEAs themselves.
187.Under subsection (2), the YPLA must also secure the provision of financial resources as directed by the Secretary of State. This would, for example, allow the Secretary of State to require the YPLA to secure in future the provision of financial resources to a specific group of learners not covered in its duties or powers. However, this would not allow the Secretary of State to require the YPLA to secure the provision of financial resources to a particular person (for example, to provide a certain amount of money to a specific LEA) because of the prohibition in subsection (9).
188.In addition, subsection (3) empowers the YPLA to secure financial resources in respect of provision to learners of and under compulsory school age, and learners aged 19 and over (who have not had a learning difficulty assessment) who started their courses before they were 19. These powers will enable provision to be secured, for example, for:
young people under the age of 16 who are attending courses in a 16 to 19 institution, whether this is because they are starting a course early, or because the course is specifically designed for those under 16, for example, young apprenticeships; and
young people who start a course before they reach 19 which ends after their 19th birthday.
189.Under subsection (4) the YPLA will have power to pay grants and allowances to learners of all ages. These powers enable the YPLA to secure, for example Care to Learn grants (which are provided to young people who begin their course or learning programme before their 20th birthday), Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) (provided to 16 to 18 year olds) and the Adult Learning Grant (a means tested grant provided to adults of all ages). Subsection (7) gives the YPLA the power to take account of fees, charges, and other matters such as the cost of travel or childcare when securing these grants.
190.Subsection (4) also gives the YPLA the power to secure the provision of financial resources for other purposes. This covers:
Persons providing goods or services in connection with the provision of education or training to persons up to the age of 19, over 19 where a course has been started before the young person reaches 19, or learners under 25 for whom a learning difficulty assessment has been made. This would allow the YPLA to fund, for example, accommodation on a field trip;
Persons undertaking research in relation to education or training;
Persons providing work experience for persons receiving education;
Persons carrying out means tests, for example, in relation to learner support grants.
Persons providing information, advice or guidance about education or training, or connected matters.
191.Subsection (6) provides that the YPLA may secure financial resources not only by providing them directly, but also by:
making arrangements for another person to provide the resources, for example delivering learner support funds through contracts; and
making arrangements for two or more persons (whether or not this includes the YPLA) to jointly provide the resources, for example, to deliver shared services with the Chief Executive of Skills Funding.
Section 62: Financial resources: conditions
192.This section enables the YPLA to set certain conditions on the financial resources it provides. The conditions may include information, operational and repayment conditions.
193.Under subsection (3) information conditions may require:
the YPLA, or a person designated by the YPLA (such as an accountant or the National Audit Office) to have access to the accounts and records, including computer records of the person to whom financial resources are provided; and
that the person must give the YPLA such information as it requests for the purpose of exercising any of its duties and powers.
194.Subsections (4) and (5) provide that operational conditions may require providers of education and training to make arrangements:
to charge fees, make awards and recover costs from other persons in accordance with criteria established by the YPLA; and
to make the provision specified in a report of a learning difficulty assessment (conducted under section 139A or 140 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000).
195.Under subsection (6) the YPLA may require repayment (which may be with interest) where the conditions subject to which the sums were paid were not complied with.
Section 63: Performance assessments
196.This section enables the YPLA to:
adopt existing schemes, such as the Framework for Excellence, when assessing evaluating the performance of providers for whom it is proposed it provides funding in local education authority commissioning plans; and
develop performance assessment schemes, for example tools for scrutiny of local education authority commissioning plans or self-assessment tools for local education authorities to use when ensuring quality of provision in their commissioning plans.
Section 64: Means tests
197.This section enables the YPLA to carry out, or to arrange for others to carry out on its behalf, tests against eligibility criteria (financial or otherwise) which may be taken into account when the YPLA is securing financial resources for those receiving, or proposing to receive, education and training under its powers in section 61. This will enable the YPLA to administer grants or allowances to learners or prospective learners according to clearly defined criteria. For example, it will enable the YPLA to administer the Education Maintenance Allowance scheme to 16 to19 year olds.
Section 65: Prohibition on charging
198.This section requires the YPLA to ensure, so far as is practicable, that no charge is made for education or training funded by the YPLA that is provided for young people over compulsory school age.
199.The Secretary of State may specify through regulations the circumstances under which charges are to be treated as made for the purposes of this section. These regulations could ensure that tuition fees would be prohibited for these learners, but may allow providers of education to apply fees where appropriate, such as in relation to the conditions of attendance to free examination entry, charges for equipment, and charges for learners from overseas. The YPLA would then be able to enforce this through the conditions it imposed on its funding.
200.This section does not cover education provided at a school maintained by a local education authority, for example in a school sixth form, because these institutions are already required by law to provide free education.