Written evidence submitted by Lifelong
Learning UK (LLUK) (arts 161)
1. Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) welcomes
the opportunity to respond to this inquiry into The Funding of
the Arts and Heritage. We are responding as the Sector Skills
Council for the Lifelong Learning sector, which includes libraries,
archives and information services across the UK.
2. Our submission focuses on the workforce
development and skills issues that pertain to the libraries, archives
and information services sector in respect of the issues raised
by the Committee.
3. The main issues we wish to raise with
the Committee are:
Excellent library, archive, information
and record management services are dependent on having excellent
people working in them. Services can only be developed if they
can be supported and delivered by an appropriately skilled workforce.
Service development should therefore happen in tandem with staff
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
(MLA) has supported workforce development across the library,
archive and information services and it is critical that this
investment is not lost at a time when the impact will be felt
the most. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) must
ensure that its ongoing support for museums, libraries and archives
will continue to include a focus on workforce development.
LLUK welcomes the DCMS Future Libraries
Programme but we stress that service development must include
staff development. New governance models will require new skill
sets and a greater understanding of the core skill sets required
to deliver public library services. LLUK's Sector Skills Assessment
and the National Occupational Standards for the sector will underpin
In the current economic climate of planned
public spending cuts, libraries, archives and information services
will have a greater role in supporting individuals to return to
work through information, advice and guidance and through offering
lifelong learning opportunities and improving skills.
In addition, the library, archive and
information services workforce has a key role in supporting the
"Big Society". Libraries and archives are a recognised
and valuable community space and the people who work within them
are a vital resource in delivering on this agenda.
4. Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) is the independent
employer led Sector Skills Council for libraries, archives and
information services; careers guidance; community learning and
development; further education; higher education and work based
learning. We represent the interests of the 1 million+ individuals
working in lifelong learning in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland
and Wales and are the voice of employers in this sector on skills
5. LLUK's vision is for: A world class lifelong
learning workforce that enables a more prosperous economy and
an inclusive society.
6. LLUKs mission is: We work with employers,
partners and policy makers to improve the skills, performance
and professional development of the UK's lifelong learning workforce.
7. LLUK's strategic Goals and Objectives
1. We will increase demand for and investment
in skills through dynamic employer engagement.
2. We will drive forward the strategic ambitions
of our sector by amplifying the voice of employers in UK.
3. We will provide credible and respected Labour
Market Intelligence to employers, partners and policy makers workforce
4. We will develop and promote relevant and fit
for purpose learning and skills solutions to meet lifelong learning
8. MLA has had an ambitious and challenging
agenda for the libraries, archives and information services workforce.
Its priorities are leadership development, widening entry routes,
increasing the demographic diversity of the workforce and e-skills
development. These priorities are confirmed by our employers through
our annual Sector Skills Assessment which allows LLUK to understand
current and future national skills needs and the drivers of skills
demand in the lifelong learning sector.
9. LLUK and MLA have a shared commitment
to the development of the workforce. This commitment has given
rise to an ongoing partnership to increase recruitment in the
sector and widen entry routes. This collaboration between LLUK
and MLA has produced a number of targeted outputs designed to
tackle some of the issues faced by young people and employers
today. These outputs include a toolkit for employers who are thinking
of providing work experience for year 10 and 11 students, research
on barriers preventing young people taking up apprenticeships,
a career guidance website for the sector (infoprofessional.co.uk),
and an on-line user guide for the National Occupational Standards
for Libraries, Archives and Information Services.
10. Our work with MLA for the current year
focuses on the development of a new Apprenticeship Framework for
the libraries, archives and information services sector which
will be fit for purpose and meet the skills development needs
of employers and the current and future workforce. Apprenticeships
offer alternative entry routes into the workforce and can support
skills development and the diversification of the workforce. The
National Apprenticeship Service states that:
80% of those employers who employ apprentices
agree they make their workplace more productive.
88% of employers who employ apprentices
believe that Apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied
83% of employers who employ apprentices
rely on their Apprenticeships programme to provide the skilled
workers that they need for the future.
One in five employers are hiring more
apprentices to help them through the tough economic climate.
11. We are also a partner in the implementation
group for Archives for the 21st Century in England which MLA and
The National Archives lead. Archives for the 21st Century was
produced in parallel versions for Wales and England, and laid
respectively before the National Assembly for Wales and UK Parliament
on 24 November 2009. Designed to support archive servicesparticularly
publicly funded servicesthis government policy outlines
the challenges currently facing the archives sector and highlights
the important contributions that archives can make to local communities.
All of the recommendations outlined in the policy have an underpinning
reliance on skills development and the workforce.
12. MLA has supported workforce development
across the library, archive and information services and it is
critical that this investment is not lost at a time when the impact
will be felt the most. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport
(DCMS) must ensure that its ongoing support for museums, libraries
and archives will continue to include a focus on workforce development.
13. LLUK already has an established panel
of senior practitioners, employers and stakeholders which inform
our priorities and validate our work. As a Sector Skills Council
LLUK would be well placed to support DCMS with the development
of a workforce strategy for the libraries, archives and information
services sector, to enable the sector's workforce to respond to
14. It is imperative that policy decisions
and subsequent changes to any workforce strategy for the libraries,
archives and information services sector be underpinned by high
quality labour market information (evidenced based policy). This
is especially critical in the current economic climate where staff
numbers may reduce and where pressure exists to introduce new
roles alongside professionally qualified staff in public libraries
eg Para-professional posts and expansion of community-run services.
Accurate and authoritative labour market intelligence will enable
policy makers, employers and practitioners to make informed decisions
about priorities and impacts on service delivery.
The following points illustrate some of the priority
issues that would need to be considered within the development
of a Workforce Strategy for the Libraries, Archives and Information
15. In his first public speech on libraries
on 1 July, the Culture Minister stated that the Government is
committed to a high quality library service but wants a radical
rethink in how it is delivered. Mr Vaizey said many options should
be considered, including:
staffing across authorities;
support from volunteers; and
the use of other community buildings
16. He also highlighted the position of
libraries in Building the Big Society and their role in the current
economic climate to help people back to work, to access learning
and as a central plank of community cohesion and announcedin
collaboration with the Society of Chief Librariansa public
library promise that the library network will help half a million
people gain digital skills by the end of 2012 as part of Race
17. A motivated and skilled workforce will
be key to ensuring that this challenging agenda can be delivered.
Excellent library, archive, information and record management
services are dependent on having excellent people working in them.
Services can only be developed if they can be supported and delivered
by an appropriately skilled workforce. Service development should
therefore happen in tandem with staff development.
18. The first stage of the Future Libraries
support programme for the public library sector will be led by
MLA and the Local Government Association Group and will focus
on 10 councils. They will work together to support councils as
they adapt to the current economic challenge, helping them deliver
key services while reducing costs.
19. LLUK welcomes the DCMS Future Libraries
Programme but we stress that service development includes staff
development. New governance models will require new skill sets
and a greater understanding of the core skill sets required to
deliver public library services. LLUK's Sector Skills Assessment
and the National Occupational Standards for the sector will underpin
20. Research shows that advice and guidance
provided in libraries and social centres that people do visit
and feel comfortable to visit is very successful. We refer the
Committee to the MLA research paper on "Local access to careers
information advice and guidance for employability" (http://tinyurl.com/localcareers).
21. The sector skills council conducts research
to identify existing skills gaps and shortages and solutions as
well as, most importantly, emerging skills issues. Specifically
but not exclusively, the potential contribution of Lifelong Learning
UK's Sector Skills Assessment (SSA) with and on behalf of the
sector needs to be recognised more widely. We would welcome support
in encouraging employers and stakeholders from the libraries,
archives, information and record management services workforce
to work with us to ensure this key part of our remit is built
on year on year. Analysis of the findings can be used by planners
and policy makers alike to inform and shape workforce planning
for the libraries, archives, information and record management
services sector workforce.
22. LLUK has created and continues to develop
structures and standards to enable libraries, archives, information
and record management, archives and information services to learn
from the broader lifelong learning sector. Furthermore, LLUK draws
on good practice across libraries, archives, information and record
management and information services both within and beyond the
lifelong learning sector. LLUK is also well-placed in terms of
disseminating and sharing good practice within the broader lifelong
learning sector in particular, and the National Occupational Standards
and qualifications projects that are underway will contribute
to ensuring that the workforce are able to respond and adapt to
the current economic climate.
23. People working in libraries, archives,
information and record management already have a varied skills
mix, which includes a variety of transferable skills beyond what
is seen as "traditional" library, archive, information
services and record management skills. LLUK believes there needs
to be continued investment in this workforce to ensure it remains
appropriately skilled in order to be responsive and to facilitate
the continued development of those services.
24. In the interests of increased efficiency
and cost savings, LLUK supports the idea of addressing staff training
on a more collaborative basis, encouraging opportunities for cross-authority
learning and would welcome consideration of a centralised function
for core skills development and CPD across the sector for professional,
para-professional and volunteer staff, including management and
25. The library, archives and information
services sector is less experienced in operating in a philanthropic-driven
funding climate in comparison to other arts and heritage bodies.
As a result, there will be skills needs for the workforce to ensure
that the sector does not lose out.
26. Discussions that LLUK has already carried
out with employers has identified potential workforce skills needs
around entrepreneurialism, skills of evaluating risk and return,
leadership and change management within organisations which would
provide the context that would allow new governance and funding
models to develop.
27. LLUK welcomes the proposed return to
the original 20% allocation of lottery share for heritage (including
the libraries, archives and information services sector) and the
increase in annual funding that this would represent. However,
our employers are concerned that spending cuts in public funding
and the potential reduction in staffing levels will impact upon
their capacity to engage in fundraising and the delivery of projects.
More flexible match-funding guidelines and the ability to cost
existing staff time into projects may go some way to mitigating