A new LSIS panel has produced its first performance review of the young organisation and the findings are a mixture of praise and highlighted areas of concern.

The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) was formed only last year in October to help providers in the learning and skills sector to become self-sufficient and self-regulating.

A spokesperson for the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) said the panel is essential for the continued success of the FE sector. It also said it is an important feature of LSIS’s development as a sector-owned improvement body.

LSIS provides support to FE practitioners through its programmes and each programme aims to provide quality improvement to the sector, to ensure practitioners are delivering excellence in FE. This is the first time the LSIS panel has reported on the performance and successes of the newly-formed organisation, which was instigated by the LSIS and the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Each programme was given a rating that ranged from green to indicate a programme running to time and on budget to red which indicated major concerns. Many of the programmes achieved a green rating, but two were highlighted as ‘amber-red’ which suggests some significant concerns which need close monitoring.

They are the World Class Skills programme which is being adapted to meet new economic challenges; and Functional Skills 14-19 which received a significant under spend which was requested by the DCSF.

A spokesperson for LSIS said these two programmes have taken longer to start.

Programmes that received green ratings include the Diploma Support and 14-19 Leadership Development programme, Principals Qualifying Programme and Foundation Learning Tier.

The Panel made a recommendation to LSIS to report on highlights and areas of concern in line with effective self-assessment. It said the LSIS should ‘include consideration of issues and risks, as well as celebrating achievements, and cover actions taken as a result of both positive and negative feedback.’

In a letter written to the DIUS, interim chair of the panel, Mike Smith called the report a credit to commitment of staff and a major achievement given the new organisation’s circumstances.

"The report covered a period of time when LSIS, as a new organisation, was facing the major challenges associated with a complex merger," he said.

Sophie Knowles

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