National Institute of Continuing Adult Education (NIACE) aimed to encourage all adults to engage in learning of all kinds, and is now a part of Learning and Work Institute.

Research Partners was commissioned by NIACE to conduct an evaluation of the management of the Adult and Community Learning Fund (ACLF). The term informal adult and community learning (IACL) covers the kind of learning taht can be delivered by public, private or voluntary sector providers or organised by people for themselves through face to face groups, online communities or personal projects.

The ACLF supported a governmental review of IACL and the implementation of its outcomes as well as acting as a precursor for Community Learning Trusts and the Community Learning Innovation Fund.  It was an innovation fund which supported:

  • the development of creative and innovative ways of attracting a wide range of adults into learning;
  • capturing evidence of the benefits of this learning for individuals and communities.

Research Partners evaluation involved working with NIACE staff, project managers of ACLF projects from across a range of third sector organisations and interviews with key policy makers from within the Skills Funding Agency. The results will help NIACE, and others, to continue to manage funding in this area effectively.