Launch of joint publication by Museums, Libraries & Archives Council and the Local Government Association to support communities through the recession

The Educational Centres Association (ECA) was delighted to accept the hospitality of the Derbyshire County Council at Chesterfield Library on 18th February, and welcomed the launch of the joint publication by Museums Libraries & Archives Council (MLA) & Local Government Association (LGA) concerning Informal Adult Learning in museums, libraries and archives. The 'Building Learning Communities' publication specifically focuses on supporting communities through the effects of the recession.

The ECA has always recognised the potential that all these publicly funded bodies can make to supporting adult learning, and it is a very welcome step forward that this evidence was published to coincide with the issue of LGA Notes of Guidance concerning the new Lead Accountable Bodies (LABs) that are to replace the funding arrangements currently with the LSC.

The LABs will be distributors of the limited pool of money ring-fenced for the very wide range of personal and community learning which contributes to personal health and wellbeing, safer stronger communities, and a more sustainable environment. This work has been central to the role of local government since 1944 when Butler (who later became Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary in Conservative governments) took the advice of a committee convened by Hazelton, the then Secretary of the ECA, chaired by Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury and including Beveridge, architect of the NHS. As a result Butler placed this area of responsibility for post-war reconstruction in Local Authorities’ hands by securing the creation of dedicated Adult Education services. It is a mission that has since been met by generations of committed adult educators, called on especially in times of economic downturn and it is encouraging to note that these themes recur in the guidance notes.

Although the LGA/ MLA co-publication makes little explicit mention of such wider resources in communities, the LAB guidance notes again recognise the role of the Third Sector and the expectation on Local Authorities of engaging in partnership with these grass-roots bodies.

The ECA intends to continue its work, in collaboration with others across this broad compass, to support adult learners and learning in all its diversity.

To see a copy of the publication please click here.

Date Added: February 26th 2010