§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he is taking to support local learning partnerships where they cross the boundaries of local learning and skills councils. 
§ Mr. Wicks
With the exception of London—where all learning partnerships are re-assessing their boundaries—there are only two instances of learning partnerships crossing the boundaries of local learning and skills councils. In both cases, Government Office staff are working closely with local partners to ensure a smooth transition. In addition, support funding is available both to Government Offices and learning partnerships to facilitate the process of change.403W
Learning partnerships have a key role in the new post-16 arrangements; they are very well placed to provide the in-depth understanding of local needs that will be needed to inform the work of local learning and skills councils. In general, learning partnerships are being advised to ensure that they have a sufficiently local focus to enable them to identify local needs and co-ordinate effective local action.