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Education: Finance

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to which organisation it is proposed that (a) sixth form colleges, (b) further education colleges and (c) schools should be able to appeal against a funding decision in regard to education provision for 16 to 18-year-olds taken by (i) a local authority and (ii) a sub-regional group under the proposals set out in the Raising Expectations White Paper. (243364)

The new arrangements are designed to more closely follow learner choice and ensure that the outcomes for young people are delivered in a more integrated manner with local authorities acting as the strategic commissioners for children’s services for children aged 0 to 19. They will need to work collaboratively with other local authorities, schools and colleges to shape the offer to young people across the country and to deliver these commissioning decisions.

As now, there will be a dialogue between commissioners and those to be commissioned about what can be delivered for young people, informed by the previous year’s performance. These discussions will then inform local and regional commissioning plans that will be scrutinised, at a regional level, by the proposed Young People’s Learning Agency to ensure overall coherence and budgetary control.

DCSF officials are working with local authority, school and college representatives to establish whether any appeals processes are required and, if so, how they would operate. In principle we would expect any appeal to be directed in the first instance to the local authority making the funding decision, though this would have to be balanced with the bureaucracy that any process of appeals might generate.

We have set out in the “Delivering 14-19 Reform: Next Steps” document, that local authorities will make the funding decisions in relation to education provision for 16 to 18-year-olds. Sub-regional groups will not, therefore, make specific funding decisions in relation to individual providers.