The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support presented a report, in order to seek approval from Cabinet, to enter into an agreement with Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council (RCTCBC), the County Council of the City and County of Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and Vale of Glamorgan County Borough Council regarding the Additional Learning Needs Transformation Grant 2020-2021.
He explained that the Additional Learning Needs Transformation Grant 2020-21 (ALN Grant) is a Welsh Government grant-funded scheme to support the delivery of the additional learning needs transformation programme, including the preparation for and management of the implementation of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 (ALNET Act).
RCTCBC, acting as the lead local authority, had submitted an application to Welsh Government for the ALN Grant on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC), the County Council of the City and County of Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and the Vale of Glamorgan County Borough Council and third party providers (who are further education sector and local health boards in the regions of the councils).
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support proceeded further, by advising that in December 2019, Cabinet approved entering into a similar agreement on similar terms for the Additional Learning Needs Transformation Grant 2019-2020.
The application for the ALN Grant was successful and an award of funding for up to £934,562 was made to RCTCBC (as lead local authority), which will be allocated to each council in accordance with the ALN Implementation Plan.
As the lead local authority, RCTCBC is required to accept the terms and conditions of the ALN Grant as set out in the offer letter from Welsh Government. In order to deliver the project and ensure compliance with the terms and conditions set out in the offer letter, RCTCBC requires the Council, along with the 3 other local authorities listed at paragraph 3.2 of the report, to enter into an agreement in relation to the ALN Grant. This agreement shall set out the roles and responsibilities of the councils and how the funding shall be allocated.
In terms of the report’s financial implications, the total value of the grant for 2020-21 was £934,562. However, the amount available to local authorities is £809,562 as there is a retained element of £125,000 for the employment of the regional ALN Transformation Lead and associated costs and administration and finance support. The allocation of grant spend for Local Authorities is £248,487, of which BCBC expects to receive £60,885. The remainder of the grant is allocated to Schools, Further Education and Health, the Corporate Director – Education and Family Support concluded.
The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration welcomed the report’s recommendations which would benefit all local authorities that comprised the Central South Consortium.
The Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help added that the grant funding would benefit our ALN children who needed greater levels of investment to receive parity of education with other young people.
The Leader was pleased to note that WG had listened and continued to engage with the sector, though an investment was required for the short, medium and longer term to help with transition proposals and how these are managed. The extent of the costs he appreciated however, would not be fully realised until the project was not only fully up and running, but until it had evolved.
He felt that the provisions of the report also reflected a good example of partnership working, with the relevant neighbouring local authorities involved in the Agreement.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:-