Skills sector development agency

SSC Licensing Process

The process involves three stages before the Secretary of State for Education and Skills issues a 5 year licence, and the SSDA negotiate an initial 3 year contract with the SSC. This process has been designed to ensure that all SSCs meet the required standard to fulfil their objectives of providing strategic leadership and targeted action to meet current and emerging skills and productivity needs in their sectors.

Stage 1 - Submission and assessment of expression of interest

Stage 2 - Development phase

Stage 3 - Assessment of full business case

Stage 1 - Submission and assessment of expression of interest

Groups of employers interested in forming an SSC work with an SSDA business consultant to prepare a formal Expression of Interest (EOI). This stage takes approximately 6 weeks, including a 4-week external consultation period with the Devolved Administrations, DfES, DTI and other sponsoring departments. To progress to the development phase, the EOI must demonstrate convincing and robust evidence that:

Stage 2 - Development phase

On approval of the EOI by the SSDA Board, prospective SSCs enter the development phase, which involves taking forward their EOI over a period of around six months. They are supported by the SSDA who will:

The development stage requires SSCs to produce a full business case. This is a business proposition showing how the SSC will satisfy the requirements for licence, and the priorities and targets it will have for operation. The three main components are:

They are independent and employer-led and have clear evidence of direct employer involvement in their governance structure

Excellent governance standards

Professional and detailed understanding of their sector’s skills needs and how meeting them will contribute to continuous improvement within the sector.

Extensive and active engagement with employers in all parts of the sector across the UK

Focused partnerships with government and its agencies to influence policies, leading to a shared understanding of skills needs and joint action which will result in improved productivity and services.

Sound management of all its work.

Stage 3 - Assessment of full business case

The final stage is the assessment of the full business case. Normally taking 11 to 13 weeks, this is a rigorous, formal process comprising internal and external assessment by the SSDA, Devolved Administrations, relevant government departments, independent consultants and a Licence Assessment Panel before proposals for licence are put before the SSDA Board. If the Board approve the proposal a recommendation for licence is sent to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, and a 3 year contract is negotiated with the SSC.

More detailed information on the licensing procedure can be found in the Sector Skills Council Development Guide.