Latest Public Sector News

30.04.14

LGA warns of potential university data sharing loss

The Local Government Association (LGA) has claimed that the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is refusing to share information with councils, warning that it will affect how they help people into training and work. 

However, a spokesman for UCAS has told PSE this is not true and that it is not refusing to share the data, but “provide it through a more efficient route”. 

In a statement received by PSE, the LGA said that for years local authorities have been able to use details provided by UCAS to identify and help young people who do not go to university. “UCAS is now refusing to share student details directly with local authorities,” it claimed. 

Councils are warning that UCAS's refusal to share this information will compromise efforts to target skills and employment support at those young people left behind. 

UCAS, however, stated that the data will be provided through schools instead of straight to councils, although it would delay the reform until next year. 

Speaking to PSE, a UCAS spokesperson said: “Only a small minority of local councils – between 10-15% – have used the data in the past. Schools are best placed to provide vital context around this information, such as whether the young people are re-sitting their exams, and the government recommends this method of data collection. 

“There is a system the National Client Caseload Information Service (NCCIS) and schools are required to provide information about school leavers in that database, which councils have access to. Our proposed solution is to provide reports to schools for free in this format, which will be very cost-effective.” 

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, has raised concerns with UCAS but a solution has not been found and the LGA is now calling for an urgent rethink so that all councils can get the basic information they need. 

Cllr Peter Box, chairman of the LGA's Economy and Transport Board said:  “This information from UCAS has played a vital part of council efforts to identify those young people not going to university and in need of help into training, apprenticeships and job opportunities. 

“Without it we risk some of our young people falling through the cracks and missing out on crucial support.” 

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