Statutory guidance for the Local Needs Duty
The updated guidance is statutory and governing bodies of institutions within the further education sector must comply with their duty under section 52B of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 to review provision in relation to local needs, as introduced in the Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022. Governing bodies of institutions within the further education sector (as defined under section 91(3) of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992) must have regard to this guidance when discharging the duty to review how well the education or training provided by the institution meets local needs.
The legislation requires governing bodies to consider, in light of the review, what actions might be taken (including actions in conjunction with other governing bodies) to better meet local needs. These actions could include, for example, decisions to expand the curriculum offer to respond to emerging needs relating to securing local employment, or to collaborate with other providers to strengthen the quality and resilience of local provision. It is for governing bodies to determine the feasibility of these actions.
Governing bodies should engage at an early stage with the DfE place-based team and the Further Education Commissioner if any of the agreed actions following on from the review could lead to significant structural changes such as mergers. The review conclusions and associated Accountability Agreements alongside LSIPs will be part of the ongoing DfE place-based team and Further Education Commissioner discussions with governing bodies, including as part of annual strategic conversations.
Reporting on this has now changed for being an additional report every 3 years, to being part of the annual accountability agreement – the next annual Accountability Statement should be submitted by 30 June 2024.