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LGSS develops strategic approach for 2017 apprenticeship levy - LGSS

LGSS develops strategic approach for 2017 apprenticeship levy

In April 2017, the government launched an apprenticeship levy to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships and develop vocational skills in the UK.

LGSS has developed a strategic approach of how to implement the levy in practice.

Employers with a payroll in excess of £3m are required to pay 0.5% of their annual payroll towards apprenticeships. However, a recent report from The Independent stated that a quarter of 1,400 applicable companies do not understand how the levy works.

The Challenge

LGSS is a shared service and particularly complex in its scale and associated companies. LGSS are required to pay approximately £3m apprenticeship levy per annum across three councils, four connected companies and approximately 200 maintained schools.

The LGSS workforce planning and strategy team undertook a largescale project – speaking to senior managers and directors across three councils, associated groups and schools – to make sure there was a strategy and appropriate guidelines in place for the appropriate spending of the levy.

LGSS payroll set up the digital apprenticeship account and supported associated schools and councils to do the same where necessary. LGSS employed a fund manager to govern the digital account and keep track of funds on a quarterly basis – providing webinars and briefing sessions to managers and directors.

With the introduction of new apprenticeship programmes equivalent to MA degree level, LGSS’ workforce planning and strategy team met with trade unions and revised their apprenticeship policy and pay levels, according to agreed recommendations.

The Solution

Working as part of the wider HR project, led by the workforce planning and strategy team, LGSS payroll set up the digital apprenticeship account and supported associated schools and councils to do the same where necessary. LGSS employed a fund manager to govern the digital account and keep track of funds on a quarterly basis – providing webinars and briefing sessions to managers and directors.

With the introduction of new apprenticeship programmes equivalent to MA degree level, LGSS’ workforce and strategy team met with trade unions and revised their apprenticeship policy and pay levels, according to agreed recommendations.

Integration cycle

To support the apprenticeship levy across the organisation, LGSS nominated 30 service leads to become apprenticeship ambassadors.

Ambassadors work closely with the workforce planning and strategy team to identify critical workforce gaps.

Ambassadors collaborate with the learning and development team to systematically work through 400 apprenticeship programmes and 700 frameworks, taking pressure off line managers to find a programme which trains new apprentices in any missing skills gaps in their service. This approach strengthens the workforce and helps to fulfil corporate aims and objectives.

The learning and development team has become an official apprenticeship academy able to deliver apprenticeships and qualifications both internally and externally.

Results                                               

A year after work began, LGSS’ strategy on the apprenticeship levy has been recognised as an example of apprenticeship levy implementation. Independent LGA consultant Rebecca Rhodes, presented her findings at the Local Government Authority conference on 26th June 2017, recommending that other local authorities follow LGSS’ example.

LGSS are now in talks with the LGA to establish a workforce strategy model for the levy, which will become available for other local authorities to purchase.

The LGSS Apprenticeship Academy has recruited its first LGSS apprentices. The academy has several apprenticeship and qualification programmes available for managers and leaders, business administrators, social care and customer services in the public sector.

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