Government will produce an evaluation of the area review programme and its potential to impact on groups protected by the Equality Act 2010. The reviews do not however, mandate action, and colleges are independent corporations, so it will be for each college’s governing body to assess the potential impact on groups protected by the Act, as part of its decision to accept or reject any recommendation requiring a change to their provision.
Each area review steering group will consider relevant data relating to current courses delivered within their area, assess the relevance of these courses to local learner and employer needs and determine how current and future demand can be best met through the recommendations of the area review.
Individual area reviews are expected to take about four months, the timescale being dependent on the number of colleges and complexity of the local issues involved in each area. The overall review process has been divided into five waves of area reviews and is scheduled to be completed by March 2017
We expect the costs of completing an area review to be met within existing budgets, with minimal additional costs to the colleges, local authorities or LEPs involved. The Departments and their agencies will undertake this work with no additional staffing. Additional costs will be minimal.
The costs arising from the recommendations of each review will be explored as part of the process. We expect the colleges, alongside local authorities and LEPs with devolved skills budgets, to consider how these costs can be met locally. Where there are costs that cannot be met, but which are essential to the successful implementation of the review, we have announced a facility for transitional funding to support this. We will provide more detail in due course.