Local Advisory Panel Terms of Reference and Local Representative Body Statement of Representation
Date of approval by WEA Council: 21 June 2023
Date of approved by the WEA Board of Trustees: 13 July 2023
Purpose of Local Advisory Panels
Each Local Advisory Panel (“LAP”) is constituted in accordance with WEA’s Regulations, section 5.
The primary purpose of the LAPs is to support WEA in ensuring that it achieves the full breadth of its charitable purpose, reaching the hardest to reach learners and responding to local needs. In doing so, each LAP will:
- assess the impact of WEA regionally and locally;
- contribute to the advancement of WEA’s relationships with learners and the wider community; and
- explore how WEA’s aims, vision and mission are understood and expressed in the heart of local communities.
Through informed assessment of WEA’s relationship to learners, the wider community, and its understanding of local issues, LAPs will contribute effectively to the success and impact of WEA regionally and nationally.
LAPs shall maintain structures and procedures that support and enable the engagement of learners and Association Members in their locality, including those Association Members who are not associated with any local representative body (e.g., “branch,” “local association," “network”).
LAPs are advisory to the Board of Trustees and report to them via the WEA Council.
Composition & Appointment of Members
Each LAP shall have an appropriate balance of skills, experience, backgrounds, and knowledge to advise and to make informed recommendations via the WEA Council to the Board of Trustees on carrying out the full breadth of WEA’s charitable mission within their designated locality, their locality’s effectiveness in identifying and meeting local needs, and representing the interests of WEA learners, ensuring they have a voice in decision-making at all levels across the Association.
It is recommended that LAPs are comprised of no more than 10 members but should be of sufficient size to ensure the LAP can effectively carry out its purpose and responsibilities. In general terms, each LAP should include a mix of:
- Association Members within a specific locality (e.g., Scotland or a geographical area recognised as an English Region by the Board of Trustees, and as may be updated by them from time to time); and
- Representatives of local organisations, current or potential partners, and other stakeholder groups.
Appointments to the LAP shall be based on relevant skills and experience as determined from time to time by the Board of Trustees.
LAP members shall be recommended by a recruitment panel comprising of the LAP Chair, Head of Education, Governance representative and an additional WEA Council representative. Formal appointments shall be made by the WEA Council with guidance from the Nominations Committee. All appointments will follow the WEA safe recruitment policy and procedures.
Members of the LAP are appointed to a term of up to four years, renewable once for a maximum term of service of no more than eight years. During the term of their appointment, they will be expected to hold a basic DBS clearance, to abide by the Governance Code of Conduct, and to participate in periodic training, skills audits, and effectiveness reviews as may be required from time to time.
Members of the LAP shall elect from among themselves a Lead Volunteer and Deputy Lead Volunteer.
Representation on WEA Council
WEA Council is a committee of the Board of Trustees having functions and powers as set out in WEA’s Articles of Association. It is WEA’s chief stakeholder body, representing to the Trustees the interests of learners, Association Members, and others in the communities WEA serves. The LAP Lead Volunteer shall have an ex officio seat on WEA Council and as a member of WEA Council shall represent the interests of stakeholders in their locality.
Local Representative Bodies (“LRBs”)
LRBs (e.g., “branches,” “local associations,” “networks”) are self-organising groups of learners and/or volunteers and/or Association Members who may unite around a common interest or set of interests. LRBs wishing to provide feedback, raise concerns, or otherwise ensure organised communication and engagement with an LAP may elect to seek recognition by an LAP.
LRBs seeking recognition by an LAP must present and maintain a statement of purpose and at least one named contact. Such statements and contacts shall be notified by the LAP to the Director of Corporate Governance.
LRBs sit outside WEA’s formal governance structure. Thus, they may have but do not require formal structures, and may change, dissolve, or merge according to the needs and interests of the group. If recognised by an LAP, however, such changes must be notified along with any updates to the statement of purpose and named contacts. WEA reserves the right to unilaterally withdraw designation for any LRB if it deems there to be an inconsistency with WEA’s charitable purpose or values which could endanger or undermine the integrity or reputation of WEA, or if the LRB has been inactive for more than 12 months. The withdraw designation of an LRB is within the power of the Board of Trustees, on the recommendation of the LAP wherever practicable.
LAPs shall normally meet termly (i.e., three times per year). At the discretion of the LAP, additional meetings may be arranged for specific purpose. These meetings will be coordinated with annual planning cycles for budgeting and curriculum development, and with meetings of WEA Council.
The Head of Education within the relevant locality or their designated representative shall attend meetings of the LAP.
Secretariat shall be provided by the Director of Corporate Governance or their nominated representative.
Within the Locality
- To build strong community links and networks to promote the work and interests of WEA.
- To evidence and act on local views and issues, giving due regard to the views and needs of learners, Association Members, supporters, volunteers, funders, and other stakeholders.
- To listen to the learner voice across all types of provision (including accredited and unaccredited, skills-based, cultural and community learning provision) and ensure this is provided as feedback to the WEA Council.
- To play an active role in helping WEA to shape and influence local and regional strategies which may impact upon WEA’s funding and/or service delivery.
- In the interest of points 1 – 4 above, to facilitate the convening of an Annual Meeting of Association Members and stakeholders within the locality, the purpose of which shall be to promote engagement with WEA activities, and to advance WEA’s mission and values. The Annual Meetings will be organised by the Head of Region in each English region, with LAPs taking an instrumental role in determining the content and focus for the meeting in their region, coordinating with other LAPs where there are multiple LAPs within a region.
In support of WEA’s Strategy
- To support the Head of Education within the relevant locality and/or other WEA staff in identifying and/or campaigning for additional funding and/or partnerships to expand WEA’s charitable reach.
- To support the Head of Education and/or other WEA staff in identifying and securing any resourcing needed to improve learner access to WEA courses and/or learning support.
Together via WEA Council
- To advise Trustees on issues affecting WEA delivery, including learner voice, branch/local association development, and the application of Association policies.
- To keep the LAPs membership and procedures under review, ensuring these remain fit for purpose.
- To keep the LAPs terms of reference under review and recommend any change to WEA Council for consideration by the Board of Trustees.
- To consider the ongoing need for the LAP to regularly refresh its skills, seeking out appropriate opportunities for training and development.
- To consider the recruitment needs of the LAP, including the need for the diversity of the LAP to reflect as fully as possible the diversity of WEA’s learners and the local communities it serves