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Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill

Volume 714: debated on Tuesday 10 November 2009

Third Reading

Clause 1 : Meaning of "completing an English apprenticeship"

Amendment 1

Moved by

1: Clause 1, page 2, line 7, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

My Lords, I shall speak to Amendments 1 to 20, 38, 41 and 42. Throughout the passage of the Bill, we have listened carefully to the points that noble Lords have raised. I hope that your Lordships will agree that as a result we have a much improved Bill. During the Report stage my noble friends Lord Layard and Lady Blackstone raised concerns about the use of the term “principal qualification” with regard to apprenticeships. This was never intended to suggest a hierarchy of qualifications within an apprenticeship. Amendments 1 to 15 and Amendment 19 replace the term with “competencies qualification” for both England and Wales, which will ensure that this interpretation does not arise. I can confirm that the change will also be made to the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England and for Wales.

My noble friends also pressed us to be more proactive in our ambitions to raise the bar so that all those who benefit from taking up their apprenticeship offer at level 2 should aspire also to achieve a level 3. Amendment 20 places a duty on the chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency, which will be delegated to the chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, to promote the progression to a level 3 apprenticeship where a person has completed a level 2 apprenticeship. Noble Lords might recall that the Skills Commission published its report Progression through Apprenticeships in March. We welcome this report and have given full consideration to its recommendations. We hope that this amendment, together with our imminent response to the commission, will provide the House with the assurance that we are committed to promoting and supporting progression through apprenticeships. We believe strongly that increasing technical and intermediate skills at level 3 is important to our economy and therefore agree that it is important to reflect that the National Apprenticeship Service in England will encourage progression to level 3 on the face of the Bill.

Noble Lords also asked how the apprenticeship offer will be delivered. We are all clear that we need to attract and encourage many more employers to offer apprenticeship places and noble Lords have suggested that directly funding employers for their apprentices might help in this respect. The current arrangements already allow for this, but relatively few employers take up the opportunity. The National Apprenticeship Service tells us that there are currently 140 directly funded employers which are employing around 40,000 apprentices. However, we believe that there is more work to be done, so we will ask the National Apprenticeship Service to develop and publish an apprenticeship offer delivery plan in 2010-11. In preparing the plan, the National Apprenticeship Service will also review direct employer funding arrangements in England and work with the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network and others to identify and better understand the disincentives for employers, and work out how these barriers can be addressed effectively.

Finally, Amendments 38, 41 and 42 reflect the commitment we made on Report that the power to make regulations setting out the alternative completion conditions for England and Wales respectively will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. I beg to move.

My Lords, on behalf of my noble friends I welcome the Minister’s statement. Both he and the Bill team have laboured mightily to meet our concerns and we have made real progress, both today and on Report. It is extremely welcome that the Government have dispensed with the idea of a principal qualification, which would not have served the interests of young people and their acquisition of knowledge. It is also welcome that he has introduced an explicit duty to promote progression.

It is extremely important that we now have the published plan of the National Apprenticeship Service showing how it intends to deliver the apprenticeship entitlement. If we have a real plan and carry it through, the Bill will go down as a landmark in the social and economic history of our country.

My Lords, we on these Benches also welcome the amendments, particularly Amendment 20. I am pleased to say that throughout the different stages of the Bill we have supported the noble Lord, Lord Layard, in his amendments. I did not think he would get as far as he has got and I am delighted to see Amendment 20.

I declare an interest as a member of the Skills Commission, which put forward the report on progressions for apprenticeships. Can the Minister clarify the leaks coming out about the funding of apprenticeship places in the next few years? Today, the BBC website contains a report entitled “Training places face spending axe” which claims that there will be a substantial clawback in the spending on training places. Can he assure us that this will not affect adult apprenticeships?

The Minister indicated that some funding has been devoted to this—indeed, last year there was an increase in the funding devoted to adult apprenticeships—and, as he will know, the number of people looking for apprenticeships has been increasing rapidly. Employers are anxious to take on more adult apprentices but their efforts are limited by the amount of funding available.

We also welcome the Minister’s statement about funding for employers which, as I understand it, will be as much for the 16 to 19 year-olds as it will be for others. However, it would help if he could clarify what the spending plans are. We are expecting a statement on skills strategy. Can he tell us when that statement is due and whether it will include clarification on funding?

My Lords, last week the Minister accused me of being prey to a conspiracy theory. Therefore, on Sunday morning, when I was shown a copy of the Observer containing the headline, “Secret Labour plan to axe spending on training for young. Leak reveals cuts of £350 million”, it led me to think that the Minister was no more privy to that conspiracy than I was.

Many of us have been concerned on numerous occasions during our discussions on the Bill that although plans are being put down for what we would like to happen, the resources to back them up are not likely to be available. There is an enormous amount of damage in holding out a promised Nirvana to the young only for it to be made unavailable or dashed away. The article referred to a document dated 12 October which circulated within BIS. Headed “Protected-Funding Policy”, it announced the cutting of an initial £100 million which would be found by identifying savings in quangos and administration and a further £252 million which would fall on key government programmes such as Train to Gain, Adult Apprentices and Skills for Life. That would mean a cut of some 335,000 people from the baseline of learners in the 19-plus age group who want either to join courses at further education colleges or with independent training companies or to become apprentices. Not surprisingly, the British Chambers of Commerce has stated in response to this leaked document:

“This is the latest in a series of fiascos that have hit the skills budget. Companies were actively encouraged to train their employees and they have done this. It will be business that gets the country out of this recession and to do this it will need highly skilled employees”.

Therefore, despite the euphoria at the various amendments that have been mentioned, I must ask the Minister whether we are discussing something that is going to happen or something that people would like to happen, with the Government already realising that those hopes will not be realised.

My Lords, this is the worst education Bill that I have seen in my 40 years in the two Houses. It is being revised even at Third Reading. It is charming to receive letters every day from Ministers explaining the Bill, but the explanations of its full ramifications are usually left to the Commons stages.

I support entirely what the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, has just said. The one thing that has been missing from all these debates on the Bill is any confirmation of the expenditure behind it. That expenditure has not been made evident by the Government. Indeed, they started the debate by slashing the programme of the Learning and Skills Council which has given the greatest boost to further education that it has had in the past 25 years.

The noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, is absolutely right. This is a Bill that is full of pious intentions but very little practicality. He referred to a report. It was not a leaked, trivial report; it was a report from the Commission of Employment and Skills, a quango set up by the Government and headed by Mr Chris Humphries. He has made far-reaching proposals to merge the myriad bodies charged with improving the performance of the UK’s 430 further education colleges—which is what the Bill is about—into a single organisation, cutting its combined budget by 50 per cent. That is the Skills Funding Agency. So the proposal from that quango is to cut the spending power of the Skills Funding Agency by 50 per cent. I am not saying that the Government are going to accept that willy-nilly, but we should hear from them whether they are going to accept or reject the proposal entirely, and whether they want to cut expenditure on the agency and give all that money to FE colleges.

Now, the Skills Funding Agency is fundamental to the Bill. Moreover, it is not the only body that is to be cut. If there is a change of Government, the regional authorities will go, too. Again, they are fundamental to the Bill. So what one is creating with the Bill is an elaborate bureaucratic structure that cannot survive irrespective of who wins the next election. It is a clumsy way of reforming further education and bringing schools into it, and it is fundamentally flawed as a Bill. Many Members will know where I think it is flawed—I spoke to the issue several times in Committee. If there is not to be a further commitment of money not only to this part of the Bill but also to its apprenticeships side and the provision of teaching for offenders in jail—which has been irrationally removed from the Prison Service and given to two authorities: the host authority and the home authority—it will not work.

This is a Bill of adjectives—of hope and piety—and the bureaucratic structure is so complex. I deal with FE colleges and other parts of the education system every week, and they say that the system that the Bill creates will simply not work. At the moment, FE colleges have one funding agency, while as a result of the Bill they will have four, all of which will be under pressure to cut money over the next four years. The Government are not giving a great encouragement to further education in this Bill but creating a system that will lead to inevitable restrictions on funding in further education. That cannot be right when we should be creating a skills-based economy. If we are going to build all these nuclear power stations, Crossrail and the rest of it, we need technicians at all levels, from the basic technician level to graduate engineers. This Bill does nothing to improve that.

My Lords, I second what my noble friend Lord Layard said, in thanking the Minister and his colleagues in the two departments concerned with this legislation for listening and for improving the Bill by taking out reference to a principal qualification. This is a huge improvement, since there is absolutely no reason to believe that a technical element in the learning that young people taking apprenticeships undertake should be in any way less important than competency-type skills.

I am very grateful, as was the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, for Amendment 20. The principle of progression from level 2 to level 3 apprenticeships is enormously important if we are to have the levels of skills that we need in an advanced knowledge-based economy. The duty to promote this progression is fundamental.

The third issue that my noble friend Lord Layard and I have been concerned about in our discussions on the Bill is how we attract more employers. I am grateful for what the Minister said in arguing that we need a better direct funding system. However, I had understood that he was going to commit the Government to asking the National Apprenticeship Service to develop and publish an apprenticeship offer delivery plan in 2010-11, and that in preparing this plan the service would review direct employer funding arrangements and work with various employer organisations such as the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network. I may have missed it, but I do not think that he said that in introducing the amendments. When he replies, will he confirm that that is the Government’s intention, so that we can have a better understanding of the current disincentives for employers and how we can address more effectively the barriers and difficulties that they currently face?

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Layard, and the noble Baroness, Lady Blackstone, on what they have achieved. I applaud Amendment 20 to Clause 104, because that is the one that many of us in this Chamber were very concerned about. It takes us back to Lord Dearing’s points—all those months ago, alas. I am sure that he would be particularly pleased to see this direction. Having said all that, I think that some of the points about funding raised by Members from all sides of the House are very important. In view of some of the stories that have been in the press recently, we should have some reassurance from Ministers when they come to reply that there are satisfactory funds to enable the wishes in this Bill to go forward—whatever we think of it, whether we think that it is totally flawed or has some points to it.

In view of the powerful interventions by the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, and my noble friend Lord Baker, and the realities of the economic climate, I wonder whether what we want from the Minister is a promise not that she cannot give that lots of money will be available—which will not be—but that in Clause 263, the commencement clause, there will be an undertaking that none of the provisions of this Act will come into force until such time as funds are available for them to be discharged. The clauses dealing with the provision of education in non-maintained schools and the provision of children's centres come into force within two months of the passing of the Bill, whatever we do. The remainder is left to the discretion, as far as I can see, of the Welsh Ministers and the Secretary of State—who is an also-ran, oddly enough, in this part of the Bill. An undertaking that, as far as the Government are concerned, nothing is implemented until the funds are available to carry it out fully would be extremely welcome.

Having said that, I do not want to keep on interrupting your Lordships, but I am extremely grateful for what has been done with the Bill so far to make what is a pretty bad job slightly better. The ship’s sails are set contrary to each other and the rudder is bent, but at least if it does float it will float a little better for the sake of what we have done. What matters is the money.

My Lords, as we have heard, Amendments 1 to 15 and Amendment 19 in this group address concerns raised by the noble Lord, Lord Layard, that the Bill, as it stood at Report, introduced the perception of a possible hierarchy of qualifications where “occupational competencies” were seen as more important than the demonstration of technical knowledge. The government amendments will remove that perception so that it will be obvious that the two component parts of an apprenticeship are seen as equal conditions of completion.

We welcome the further moves that the Government have made in that regard. Throughout the passage of the Bill through this House, we on these Benches have constantly called for further definition and clarification of the composition and requirements of apprenticeships. Furthermore, we agreed with the noble Lord, Lord Layard, that it seems inappropriate to specify so particularly that occupational competencies are more important than technical ones.

On Report, the Minister said that he believed that it would be difficult for employers if there was a risk that apprentices could have all the necessary technical knowledge but would still not have the relevant competencies that would enable them to do a job. Consequently, it appeared that occupational competencies were more important than technical expertise. I welcome the reconsideration that the Minister has given to these amendments.

We on these Benches are also concerned to ensure that an apprenticeship certificate will be awarded only to those with the requisite competence to enable them to carry out a job effectively, but we agree with the noble Lord, Lord Layard, that there is no need to specify whether occupational or technical competencies are more important. Apprentices will need both to carry out a job. After all, it is the technical side of an apprenticeship that often separates it from any other form of work-based learning. We welcome the amendments, which remove the emphasis on occupational qualifications.

Amendments 38, 41 and 42 address the promise that the Minister laid out on Report to make the regulations allowing alternative completion conditions subject to affirmative resolution, which requires a debate in both Houses. Noble Lords will be aware of our commitment to the apprenticeships brand and we remain wary of the alternative completion conditions, which we feel have the potential to dilute that brand. We welcome the amendments tabled here which provide further reassurance that that is not the Government’s intention. I very much hope that that remains the case.

In that regard, will the Minister update us on any discussions with Barnardo’s and Rathbone regarding the pre-apprenticeship contract of workplace learning, which he helpfully introduced on Report? Will he confirm once again that this will be a unique programme for those in the Barnardo’s and Rathbone schemes? Will he also confirm that it will only be for a period of up to a maximum of six months? What would happen to someone on a pre-apprenticeship contract, who reached six months in that contract, but could not find an employer to start their true apprenticeship training?

While we are concentrating on further amendments to the apprenticeship clause, the Minister has been asked by—among other noble Lords—my noble friend Lord Baker for an update on the status of plans for financing apprenticeships. Those who read the papers this weekend and, indeed, who have listened to this debate will be aware that documents were leaked detailing, as the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, said, some £350 million of cuts for 2010-11 that will, as an Observer article goes on,

“slash the number of training places on offer by hundreds of thousands”.

The article I saw stated that the cuts would mainly affect those in the 19-plus age group, who want to join courses at FE colleges and independent training companies to become apprentices. The noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, also referred to this. Does the Minister accept that these facts and figures, worryingly, appear to cast doubt on the Government’s commitment to apprenticeships and reskilling Britain—all at a time when it is most necessary? Given the statements of commitment that have been made throughout the Bill, this is a disappointing turn of events. I look forward to the Minister’s response to my noble friend Lord Elton’s suggestion.

Like the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, we welcome the intentions behind Amendment 20. We believe that it is of the utmost importance to make sure that people are given the opportunity to train, to acquire a skill, to reskill and to fulfil their ambitions. We want to ensure that all are given the greatest opportunity to ensure that their aspirations and choice, rather than bureaucracy and burden, lead the way in skills, and that no one will be held back. We also welcome the government amendment, which will promote the desirability of those training at level 2 undertaking apprenticeship training at level 3.

We on these Benches want to see more and more people taking up apprenticeships and moving forward with them. To do this, we would simplify the structure, decrease the paperwork involved and so make it easier for companies to run apprenticeships. We would create a streamlined system, which would allow people to move forward with their training and gain the skills necessary to equip them for the workplace—the skills that employers really need and are relevant to jobs.

One cannot simply legislate and hope that these benefits will accrue. Can the Minister explain how he hopes the new clause will function in practice? We welcome the intentions, but we wait to see whether they are supported by a practical and effective structure which would truly promote participation in level 3 apprenticeships.

My Lords, I must admit that I was hoping for rather more concord than we have perhaps seen in this debate. In relation to the point of the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, about skills strategy statements, I think the Secretary of State will be making a statement about that tomorrow. I hope that some concerns will be addressed in it.

The noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, returned to the question of whether I was being unfair as regards conspiracy. My first piece of advice is not to believe everything you read in the newspapers; it does not mean that they are facts. I reject what I felt was a rather wide-ranging criticism when he said that this is the latest in a round of fiascos. I will come to our track record on apprenticeships and skills in a while.

In talking about the latest fiasco, I was quoting the chairman of the chambers of skills and commerce. That was not me speaking; it was the chambers of commerce.

My apologies to the noble Lord. I reject the criticism of the chambers of commerce. I would argue that it has been the beneficiary of significant government funding in relation to skills and training.

The noble Lord, Lord Baker, made another wide-ranging contribution, which I am not sure focused always on the amendments. Certainly, I sometimes fear that ever since his Education Act, no other Bill could ever satisfy him. It is difficult to know how to address the criticism that this is “the worst Bill ever seen”. Perhaps someone somewhere once said, “Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?”.

In relation to FE colleges, I cannot help but remind the noble Lord that when we came to power in 1997, the National Audit Office—not us—said that we had inherited a crumbling infrastructure; so much for the contribution to FE by previous Conservative Administrations. We do not have pious intentions; we put our money where our policies and our mouths are. That is why we have invested more than £2 billion, with the result that many FE colleges have benefited from having new buildings.

I was absolutely puzzled by the noble Lord’s reference to regional authorities being done away with. I think he was confusing his party’s possible policies—should it ever assume power—with ours. We are absolutely committed to RDAs. I understand people’s concerns in relation to funding generally. The noble Lord, Lord Elton, sought an assurance that we would commence this provision when funds were available. We are absolutely committed to funding the Bill’s provisions. Time and again we have reinforced our commitment to apprenticeships. We remain confident that we will deliver the targets we have set. A separate discussion is going on across government about how to make the most of the money that is available.

I pay generous tribute to what the Government have done for further education. The past 25 years, under the previous Conservative Government and the present Government, have been a golden age for further education. As a result, wonderful colleges have been built which no local authority would ever have funded by itself. However, that has now stopped absolutely. The capital programmes of further education colleges have been slashed. I can give the noble Lord a list of the institutions that have now had their funding withdrawn. We on this side seek an undertaking from him that the funding of FE colleges will not be cut in the course of the next two years.

Certainly we could not meet all the commitments that FE colleges were invited to submit, but the funding has not stopped and some programmes are still going ahead. Therefore, I reject the view that they have been slashed. To my knowledge there are no cuts, although the programme is not advancing as it has in the past. I shall see whether I can give a more accurate answer on that.

As I said, I hope that a Statement on funding will be made tomorrow. I say once again that, given our track record, I am absolutely baffled by the suggestion that the Government are not fully committed to apprenticeships, skills and training. More money is being spent on skills and training than ever before. As I have said on a number of occasions, noble Lords should look at our track record on apprenticeships, given that the apprenticeship programme we inherited was nearly dead on its feet.

I thought the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Wirral, was inviting me to give way but I say to him that the facts speak for themselves. If he wishes me to reiterate the facts, I will do so. Previously, there were only 65,000 apprenticeships, and just over a quarter of participants completed them, whereas now there are a quarter of a million apprenticeships and two-thirds of participants complete them. As I say, the facts speak for themselves.

The Minister forces me to intervene, which I had not intended to do. However, I recall that he very kindly promised no longer to maintain the fiction that a disastrous situation had been inherited. The Government Front Bench conceded that by getting to 65,000 from zero the concept of the modern apprenticeships had been proved. It should then have gathered pace and accelerated, but over 12 years it did not. However, let us not go backwards but forward as we strongly support the concept of the modern apprenticeship.

My Lords, we shall have to agree to disagree; I stand by the statement that I have made.

My noble friend Lady Blackstone asked me to reiterate the assurance on delivering apprenticeships. We will ask the National Apprenticeship Service to develop and publish an apprenticeship offer delivery plan in 2010-11. In preparing this plan, the NAS will review direct employer funding arrangements in England and work with the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network and others to identify and better understand disincentives for employers, and work out how these barriers can be addressed effectively.

The noble Lord, Lord De Mauley, asked for an assurance on Rathbone and Barnardo’s. I am happy to confirm that the arrangements are as I set out on Report. It is intended that the pre-apprenticeship contract period will be strictly limited to six months. If Rathbone and Barnardo’s could not find an employer, they would have to address that in each individual case. The track record of those organisations demonstrates a real determination to ensure that they get young people into employment. If they could not succeed on an apprenticeship, maybe they would have to find another route. I do not know. The people who are more used to dealing with such cases should be able to provide the answers, but I am confident that they do not easily give up on young people. They have a good track record. We are trying to assist them and we have certainly done that.

We are spending more than £1 billion this year on apprenticeships, which is a record amount. We are committed to sustaining the maximum number of not only adults’ but young people’s apprenticeships. As I have said previously, we spent a large amount on adult apprenticeships last year and we are trying to sustain that this year—possibly not at quite the level of last year. We have indicated that while our focus was on ensuring that we generated the maximum number of apprenticeships in the 16 to 18 age range, there was more flexibility in the 19 to 24 age range. Given all the speculation that there has been in various press articles, the matter will be better addressed tomorrow when my noble friend the Secretary of State makes his Statement.

I hope that I can end on a positive note. I thank my noble friend Lord Layard for his generous recognition that we have worked hard to address and meet noble Lords’ concerns. I thank all noble Lords who have responded to efforts to improve the Bill. As with all Bills, it is capable of improvement en route. I believe that I have addressed most of the questions raised. I urge noble Lords to support the amendment.

Amendment 1 agreed.

Amendments 2 and 3

Moved by

2: Clause 1, page 2, line 18, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

3: Clause 1, page 2, line 20, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

Amendments 2 and 3 agreed.

Clause 2 : Meaning of “completing a Welsh apprenticeship”

Amendments 4 to 6

Moved by

4: Clause 2, page 2, line 41, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

5: Clause 2, page 3, line 6, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

6: Clause 2, page 3, line 8, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

Amendments 4 to 6 agreed.

Clause 17 : Transitional provision: England

Amendment 7

Moved by

7: Clause 17, page 8, line 4, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

Amendment 7 agreed.

Clause 22 : Transitional provision: Wales

Amendment 8

Moved by

8: Clause 22, page 9, line 41, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

Amendment 8 agreed.

Clause 27 : Contents of specification of apprenticeship standards for England

Amendment 9

Moved by

9: Clause 27, page 12, line 18, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

Amendment 9 agreed.

Clause 31 : Contents of specification of apprenticeship standards for Wales

Amendment 10

Moved by

10: Clause 31, page 14, line 16, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

Amendment 10 agreed.

Clause 32 : Meaning of “apprenticeship agreement”

Amendments 11 to 13

Moved by

11: Clause 32, page 15, line 21, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

12: Clause 32, page 15, line 28, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

13: Clause 32, page 15, line 30, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

Amendments 11 to 13 agreed.

Clause 39 : Interpretation of Chapter

Amendments 14 and 15

Moved by

14: Clause 39, page 17, line 39, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

15: Clause 39, page 17, line 41, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

Amendments 14 and 15 agreed.

Clause 44 : Power to require provision of education by further education institution

Amendment 16

Moved by

16: Clause 44, page 26, line 39, at end insert—

“(3A) Before giving a notice under subsection (2) imposing a requirement on a governing body, a local education authority must consult—

(a) the governing body, and(b) such other persons as the authority think appropriate.”

My Lords, Amendment 16 fulfils the commitment that I made during our debate on Report to re-examine the power for local authorities to direct colleges to accept a named individual. Noble Lords will recall that there was strong feeling that this power should be exercised only following statutory consultation with the governing body of the college. We have listened to noble Lords and this amendment ensures that this is the case. It also enables consultation with other relevant persons.

Amendment 18 is a drafting correction to clarify the meaning of Clause 65. This confirms our intention that the prohibition on charging should apply only to courses funded by the YPLA. This ambiguity was drawn to our attention by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, whom I must once again thank for his keen analysis of the Bill. I beg to move.

My Lords, from these Benches we, too, are grateful that the Minister has listened to our concerns. We welcome the commitment that local education authorities must consult FE colleges before exercising the powers afforded to them in Clause 44, which enable them to require an FE college to provide education to certain specified individuals. There was cross-party support for our amendment on Report, so we are most grateful to the Minister for taking this on board and committing to put our rather mild and reasonable amendment in the Bill. We believe that this will help to balance the rights and powers of the FE colleges and local education authorities in this instance, and so lead to a more productive consideration of the needs of the young person. It will also help to allay the concerns of FE colleges in terms of the independence of the institution and safeguarding its staff and students. We graciously accept the amendments tabled by the Minister and extend our thanks to him.

We on these Benches supported the amendment and so are delighted to see it in the Bill. I know that it will be a great relief to the further education colleges and to the Association of Colleges, which I believe promoted the amendment, as it had been worried that there could be a danger that difficult-to-handle young people would be wished on colleges without any consultation. It is obviously right that there should be consultation and I thank the Minister for the amendment.

Amendment 16 agreed.

Clause 50 : Persons detained in youth accommodation: further provision

Amendment 17

Moved by

17: Clause 50, page 34, line 43, at end insert—

“(6A) Subsection (6B) applies in relation to a detained person if it appears to the host authority that the person is to be released from detention in relevant youth accommodation.

(6B) The host authority must provide to the home authority any information they hold which—

(a) relates to the detained person, and(b) may be relevant for the purposes of, or in connection with, the provision of education or training for the detained person after the release.(6C) The information required to be provided under subsection (6B) must be provided at such time as the host authority think reasonable for the purpose of enabling education or training to be provided for the detained person after the release.

(6D) Nothing in subsections (6A) to (6C) requires the host authority to provide to the home authority information which it appears to the host authority that the home authority already have.”

My Lords, we turn to the part of the Bill concerned with the education of young offenders. Amendment 17 and the others in the group concern young people in custody and will place a duty on the host authority to ensure that information about the young person’s education is shared with their home authority around the time of their release. This ensures that information about their education in custody—including, for example, about their progression—can inform their further learning.

I indicated on Report that we were minded to table this amendment, as it is absolutely right that home authorities, working with the relevant youth offending team, should have this information to make effective resettlement plans. We have also listened to the concerns of noble Lords that there should be a record of the progress that a young person makes in custody. I hope that this amendment will reassure noble Lords.

Many noble Lords, particularly—it will not surprise your Lordships to hear—the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, as well as the noble Lord, Lord Elton, spoke eloquently during Report and the earlier stages about the need to screen young people in custody for special educational needs and communication difficulties. I agree absolutely with this, which is why we are supporting the Communication Trust to extend the use of screening tools and staff training across youth custody settings and to youth offending teams, during both this year and the next financial year. This work will draw on the services of experts such as Professor Karen Bryan to feed in the learning from her research and pilots in YOIs.

We have also agreed with the Communication Trust that next year it will conduct a review of the impact of this work. This is something that noble Lords will be interested to hear more about when it has been undertaken. I look forward to debating this in the future, when we can evaluate the success of the changes introduced by the Bill.

In addition, I commit today to earmarking some training for the 4,000 extra specialist dyslexia teachers to work with youth custody and youth offending teams in the community. The Communication Trust and the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust have confirmed that they are happy to work with us on this.

I am grateful for the emphasis that the House has put on the importance of the special educational needs and communication needs of young offenders, and hope that noble Lords will support the amendment. I beg to move.

My Lords, I begin by expressing my gratitude to the Minister for her care and attention in listening to what has been said on the issue over some time, during the passage both of this Bill and a previous one. I also thank the Bill team for the care that they have taken. I had a most productive meeting with them last Thursday, for which I am enormously grateful.

The Government’s commitment that the Communication Trust will extend the use of screening and staff training to youth custody settings and youth offending teams next year, coupled with the commitment to assess the communication problems of all children before they start primary school, indicates that at last we are addressing something that was described to me as a scourge of the 21st century that is seriously impacting on the ability and readiness of every child in the country to undertake education. If they are not ready to undertake education and communicate with teachers, the results are seen in the truancy and exclusions that follow. This marks something very serious in the attempt to enable children to take advantage of education, which has been missing for too long. It has been an extraordinary 10 years since I first became aware of the issue. I have met countless Ministers and officials, made the same arguments over and again and wondered, with the evidence from Professor Karen Bryan that has been referred to staring everyone in the face, why one has to push so hard to get a glimpse of the blindingly obvious accepted in legislation.

Mention has rightly been made of Professor Karen Bryan’s important research, which starkly revealed both the urgency of the need and the ability of people such as trained speech and language therapists to do something about it. We are not looking for the cure—it is there already and should be mobilised. Professor Bryan would be the first to acknowledge that this could not have been accomplished without the foresight, generosity and funding of Lady Helen Hamlyn and her trust. It is right to draw that to the attention of the House, because Lady Helen has performed an enormous service to the nation, and in particular to all the children who will benefit from having their communication problems identified and ameliorated so that their future may be better. I hope that noble Lords will not mind me bringing this to their notice, because it is something above and beyond the call of duty that should be officially recognised.

My Lords, as this is probably the last occasion on which I will speak on the Bill, I thank the two Ministers for their handling of it. They have shown great patience, courtesy and thoroughness, and I hold them in no way responsible for the Bill. They did not draft it but had to pick it up, and they have done a very good job of trying to explain what it is about and to improve it. They have improved it to some extent.

I have often been accused of making Second Reading speeches in my interventions on this Bill but I make no apology for that. In the debates on the area with which we are now dealing—that is, the transfer of the training and education of young offenders from the Ministry of Justice and the Prison Service to two local authorities—it was not made clear at Second Reading in the Commons, at Second Reading in the Lords or in Committee in the Lords how this extraordinary change was going to be worked out. It was only 10 days ago that we had any understanding of that, and I have grave misgivings about whether this is going to be the right way to do it.

Instead of one authority being responsible for the young offender, two authorities will be involved. One will be the host authority where the young offender institution is, and in a previous debate I quoted the big young offender institution in Wigan. The host authority will provide the education but the offender’s home authority—let us say it is Essex—will have to decide how the young offender is educated. The offender will be given an individual learning programme devised in Essex, but it may be three or four years since the authority in Essex heard anything about him. He may have disappeared from the authority’s radar but the authority will suddenly find that it is responsible for him and will have to devise a learning programme.

The amendment says that when the young offender is released, the host authority, Wigan, has to send details of his record to Essex. The record of a young offender is very extensive. It will contain, for example, details of any previous offences, psychiatric reports and reports of any persons who have interviewed him. All that will go to Essex, but the authority there will possibly have heard of this person only in the previous two or three months and the young offender may not go back there. He may go to Birmingham, London or Manchester, yet Essex will have the responsibility. I do not see how that responsibility will be discharged.

I do not believe that this system will operate effectively. The Government are going to try to operate it but I think that ultimately it will break down, which will be a great pity. The emphasis must be on the host authority where the prison or young offender institution is based. Therefore, I have grave misgivings about this matter. I do not think that the issue has been properly debated in either House, and I cannot believe that it has the support of the Home Office—or, now, the Ministry of Justice—because I do not think that it will lead to the better education and training of detained persons. Therefore, I regret it.

If you give the home authority the duty to create an individual learning programme for a young offender who is in another part of the country, that establishes a right in the eyes of the young offender with regard to that programme. Anyone who has been involved with prisons, such as the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, will tell you that prisoners and young offenders are very clear about their rights and they will certainly demand services that may not be available. That will lead to a great deal of conflict. It is too late now—this provision will not be changed and will go into law—but I really do not think that this system will operate effectively.

My Lords, as I said on an earlier group of amendments, I think that we are tinkering with a ship which may not float, but if it does float I am very glad that this amendment has been put into the Bill. It relates to an amendment that I tabled at an earlier stage. It is particularly important that the duty to provide a record to follow the young person when he leaves rests with the host authority, which knows where he is, and not with the home authority, which, as my noble friend said, may not have heard of him before and may have forgotten him before he comes out of custody.

We had discussions in Committee and again on Report about the nature of records, and I repeat my anxiety: there should be a uniform system of keeping, as well as of transmitting, records between concerned authorities. If that is not done, the result will be chaos, with lost documents and lost learning paths. Therefore, I trust that the duties and that method will be clearly set out in the guidance that the Minister has told us will be issued.

I join other noble Lords in welcoming the acceptance of the need to screen for dyslexia and other difficulties. I endorse what the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, said. He and I share the view that, if we spent a tithe of what we spend trying to deal with people when they become criminals on stopping them becoming criminals, we would save a huge amount of money and very largely increase the sum of happiness in this country.

This is a small step in that direction, and I applaud it with thanks. Also, as I do not expect to speak again in this debate, I thank the Minister for the exemplary care that she has taken of the concerns of your Lordships, and for the very effective support, often far beyond the call of duty, from the Bill team, a mixed Bill team from two departments who seem to have welded together and become very effective for the short time that they have been in the same service.

My Lords, from these Benches, I, too, thank the Ministers and the Bill team for taking note of the concerns that have been expressed throughout our debates in respect of provision for young offenders, and welcome Amendment 17 in particular. We support the amendments moved on Report and today, and the other developments. I welcome the Minister’s comments in her introductory remarks and hope to hear in due course how the measures are actually working out for the institutions—for the local authorities—and, in particular, for the young offenders that they are designed to help. Again, we express our appreciation for the amendments.

I follow both my noble friend Lord Baker and the noble Baroness, Lady Garden, because I, too, worry that the system is not going to work. It strikes me as a pig in the middle system. The young offender institution is the pig in the middle and the ball is thrown over its head from a host authority, which of course will be identifiable, to a home authority, which will not be so easily identifiable. Very likely, as with my grandchildren, the ball will fall to the ground. May we have an assurance that there will be ex post evaluation of a proper statistical kind that clarifies all the problems that arise with the identification and the duties of the home authority?

My Lords, very briefly, I, too, thank the noble Baroness for what she has achieved. I know that there are differences of opinion about the whole business of transferring responsibility for education to the local education authority. No doubt there are strong reasons why those who are experts in the field are worried about that. I have expressed a slightly different opinion on that on the basis that at least local education authorities will now have to pay for the education, whereas before it was all too easy to pass the whole business of difficult young people’s education onto the budget of the Home Office.

Like other noble Lords, I particularly applaud the fact that more attention will be paid to testing young people for special educational and communication needs, that in the very difficult financial situation that we all know and are concerned about, there will be some support, and that specialist dyslexia organisations, and so on, will be involved. What I am sorry and sad about, alas, is that I do not think that there has been movement on, when they come out of prison, assessing how far they have progressed in the education provided within the prison. Perhaps that is altogether a step too far in the current climate, but it could have been the basis for a great deal more knowledge about how we should proceed.

I very much thank the noble Baroness for what she has achieved, and the Bill team, because I know that a lot of time has gone into our consideration. Attention has been paid to the many comments and expert views from all around your Lordships' House because here, as in so many other areas, we have people who have done it, who know what the situation is and can comment on it. Anyhow, my limited but nevertheless warm thanks go to the noble Baroness, the noble Lord and the team.

My Lords, history has paid a great deal of attention to the talents of Alexander the Great, but not much to the talents of the people who created the Gordian knot. With this Bill, we can perhaps begin to understand a little of that talent. I urge my noble friends on the Front Bench to unsheathe their sword about this time next year and hack at this construction with the aim of reaching something clear and simple as a solution. I urge my noble friend Lord Baker and the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, to spend the next few months educating our Front Bench about what should replace this Bill because I am sure their wisdom can be put to good effect by a Government more attuned to simplicity than complexity.

My Lords, these government amendments address the concern, which has been raised many times during our debates in this area, that the education given to young offenders must be joined up and allow for progression and advancement through and after custody. I pay particular tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, and my noble friend Lord Elton whose efforts on the Bill not only, but especially, in this area have been so beneficial to it.

Part of the original intention behind our Amendment 124B, which was agreed in Committee because of support from around the House, was that there should be a second assessment when the young person was to leave detention. On Report, we accepted a redrafted and reformed amendment tabled by the Minister because it demonstrated that the Government had been convinced of the merit of our proposal, indeed, so much so that they had expanded it to cover both numeracy and literacy. However, the Minister did not see fit to accept the requirement for a second assessment. We accepted the arguments against it as significant concerns had been raised. For example, it was feared that a young person might have to remain in custody past his sentence term if he did not sit the assessment in a timely fashion. We accepted those reservations, but remained concerned that there was a risk that the progress of a young person in education in custody would not be brought to the attention of the home authority. For that reason, we supported the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, and I am delighted that the Government have responded to his concerns.

We accept that there is a potential risk of too much assessment. It therefore seemed sensible to look for another way that would ensure that note was taken of progress made, consistency could be achieved when a young person was released back to the home authority and there was not too much assessment. In these terms, it seems that the Minister has risen to the challenge. Notwithstanding the broader concerns of my noble friends Lord Elton, Lord Baker and Lord Lucas about whether the ship will float, we welcome these amendments as far as they go and hope that they will help to alleviate some of the problems of a potentially disjointed approach. We look forward to hearing more in due course about the further developments with the communications trust, to which the Minister has alluded.

My Lords, I thank noble Lords for their remarks in this important debate as we come to the closing parts of the progress of the Bill through this House. Over many months, we have developed a helpful, positive and constructive understanding about what needs to be done to the Bill and more widely than the confines of the statute. We have also developed an understanding about the work that we can do with the charity sector in the real world to take forward and address the concerns that noble Lords have raised in this House.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord De Mauley, for his remarks and for being very constructive in helping us to identify a practical way of dealing with the concerns expressed in Committee about assessment on exiting detention. I can reassure the noble Viscount, Lord Eccles, that the Bill will be subject to post-legislative scrutiny and that Ofsted will be responsible on an annual basis for monitoring the effectiveness of education in custody. As I understand it, that will reach into the role of the host and the home education authorities.

The Minister mentioned that Ofsted will be responsible for assessment. May I remind her that Ofsted inspects education in young offender institutions with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons only to make certain that education is looked at in the context of prisons? In view of our concerns about the responsibility for education being passed away from the Ministry of Justice, the presence of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons to see whether education is being conducted appropriately will be as important, if not more so, than Ofsted’s contribution.

I thank the noble Lord for that insight. I am sure that, with his experience of these matters, he is absolutely right.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Baker, for his very kind remarks. I was very interested in his third Second Reading speech, which we were able to enjoy today. I listened very seriously to his remarks. I remember education in the youth justice system featuring very highly on the list of noble Lords’ concerns at Second Reading, and it was examined in depth in Committee. This House has done a very good job of scrutinising the youth justice parts of the Bill, and because of that we can table amendments, such as those before us now, that further refine the proposals before us.

The objective of the Bill’s provisions is to bring young people in custody under primary legislation on education for the first time. Signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in which this House has a great interest, have repeatedly called for that. We wanted to ensure that young people in custody receive education that is overseen and delivered in accordance with the education that they could expect if they were in the mainstream education system. This has to be the right way to go.

I agree with noble Lords that the Bill, as you read it off the page, is a complicated piece of legislation, as is often the case, but it aims to join up arrangements for education and training with the mainstream education sector, and I believe very strongly that it will help to ensure that young people in youth custody will no longer be the poor relations. I therefore very much welcome its provisions.

The noble Lord, Lord Elton, again spoke very generously about the work that we, and particularly the Bill team, have been doing. He voiced concerns about the need for a uniform system of record keeping, and he is absolutely right that the Youth Justice Board has a programme. It is called Wiring Up Youth Justice, and includes the eAsset system, which we talked about on a number of occasions in Committee, and secure e-mail. Importantly, it will also include the development of a new YOT case management system, which I believe will deal with the noble Lord’s concerns and will cover both England and Wales. The noble Lord was concerned that we should be clear in statutory guidance that local authorities should work with YOTs to integrate information-sharing on a person’s education, and that these information-sharing systems should be well described in guidance so that proper records are kept and there is appropriate access for different parties who have the interests of the young person at heart.

Finally, I thank the noble Lords, Lord Ramsbotham and Lord Elton, for their advice on how to progress the House’s concerns about, in particular, communication, assessment and special educational needs. I am very grateful to noble Lords for their generosity with their time in helping us come to a solution. With that, I hope that noble Lords will support this amendment.

Amendment 17 agreed.

Clause 65 : Prohibition on charging

Amendment 18

Moved by

18: Clause 65, page 48, line 13, leave out “to a person providing” and insert “in respect of”

Amendment 18 agreed.

Clause 93 : Meaning of "apprenticeship place"

Amendment 19

Moved by

19: Clause 93, page 64, line 2, leave out “principal” and insert “competencies”

Amendment 19 agreed.

Amendment 20

Moved by

20: After Clause 104, insert the following new Clause—

“Promoting progression from level 2 to level 3 apprenticeships

(1) The Chief Executive must promote the desirability of persons within subsection (2) undertaking apprenticeship training at level 3.

(2) The persons are those who—

(a) are undertaking apprenticeship training at level 2,(b) have completed an English apprenticeship in relation to an apprenticeship framework at level 2, or(c) hold an apprenticeship certificate at level 2.(3) For the purposes of this section apprenticeship training is at a particular level if it might reasonably be expected to lead to the issue of an apprenticeship certificate at that level.

(4) The following provisions of Chapter 1 of Part 1 apply for the purposes of this section—

section 1 (meaning of “completing an English apprenticeship”);

section 12 (meaning of apprenticeship framework and level of an apprenticeship framework).

(5) Section 95(4) (meaning of apprenticeship certificate and level of an apprenticeship certificate) applies for the purposes of this section.”

Amendment 20 agreed.

Clause 128 : General duties

Amendment 21

Moved by

21: Clause 128, page 81, line 2, at end insert—

“(6A) The Secretary of State must publish a direction given under subsection (6).”

My Lords, in moving government Amendment 21, I shall speak also to the 12 other amendments in my name in this group. The debates in Committee and on Report have shown a welcome level of support for our plans to set up Ofqual as an independent qualifications regulator. The thoughtful and knowledgeable contributions made by so many of your Lordships have been most welcome. We laid a number of amendments on Report seeking to improve the provisions, including, through stronger safeguards, the need to provide absolute assurance as to Ofqual’s independence. We have felt strongly the need to meet the concerns of noble Lords on this. We now complete that process with the three further sets of amendments to which I committed on Report.

Amendment 21 was inspired by an amendment from the noble Lord, Lord Lucas. We had already said we would publish any direction given to Ofqual requiring it to have regard to aspects of government policy, but this amendment requires that to happen. I therefore hope that noble Lords will support it. We laid a number of amendments on Report to make sure that the power to set minimum requirements was used only in exceptional circumstances. On Report, I agreed to consider whether it might be appropriate to provide additionally for parliamentary scrutiny. These amendments therefore provide for minimum requirements to be specified through an order subject to affirmative resolution in both Houses, following consultation with Ofqual and others. Parliament will be able to accept or reject the order. These amendments are tabled in response to issues raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley.

Finally, I have tabled an amendment which fulfils my commitment on Report to consider whether Ofqual could look at attainment. In preparing this amendment, we were conscious of the need to avoid what many could describe as mission creep—I think that the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, said that last week at Report stage—and, in particular, we are concerned to avoid any confusion with Ofsted’s role. I would therefore expect Ofqual to work with Ofsted to ensure that there is no possibility of overlap.

This amendment requires Ofqual in its annual report to set out how far its objectives have been met. In relation to its qualifications standards objective, Ofqual will have to say what information about attainment in school qualifications it has taken into account. It will also have to provide details of that information, which could be a description of the information or the information itself. This requirement will strongly improve transparency and therefore, I hope, confidence in Ofqual. In summary, these three sets of amendments improve further the provisions establishing Ofqual. I beg to move.

My Lords, the majority of these amendments provide that an Ofqual determination is to be approved by a resolution of both Houses of Parliament. I little thought when I tabled Amendment 177 on Report that it would take 10 amendments to bring it into force at this stage. However, I welcome them, particularly Amendment 139, which is the provision that makes it quite clear that this has to be done by affirmative resolution. In the future, should an unwise Secretary of State seek to meddle inappropriately in the work of Ofqual and such a determination come to your Lordships’ House, I relish the opportunity to pull it to pieces.

I do not like the power of determination now any more than I did in the first place, but I recognise that we now have more transparency, parliamentary scrutiny, and that Parliament will make its opinion known about the extent to which it is appropriate for a Secretary of State to meddle in these matters. We have consultation and a limited scope for determinations; there is publication and, of course, Ofqual is able to refuse if it thinks it inappropriate. Again, I welcome this set of amendments and I thank the Minister for her consideration and the work of the Bill team to make it all happen.

Amendment 30 is a different matter. It asks Ofqual to put certain things into its annual report, again in response to amendments I laid on Report. My intention really is mission creep and I would like to know that there is someone out there who will look at underlying educational standards over a period of time. Although these amendments do not go as far as I would like, I welcome them and have a few questions for the Minister. Will the information in the annual report set out quantitative data separately for each GCSE, A-level or diploma line showing the analytical bases and margins of error for each qualification? Will those be compared with previous years or will one have to scrutinise each annual report individually in order to arrive at those comparisons? Will it show how the standards set by different awarding bodies compare with each other? If the report can do all those things, it will be an effective way of ensuring that Ofqual focuses on maintaining standards over time and make it easier for the reader of an individual annual report to get a clear impression of what is going on. If the noble Baroness cannot answer those questions now, I am happy for her to write to me.

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for government Amendment 21 and for her kind words. Perhaps I may ask her a question on Amendment 30. New subsection (2A) states that:

“‘Relevant regulated qualifications’ are regulated qualifications that are taken wholly or mainly by pupils at schools in England”.

I can see that that is a convenient shorthand for leaving out the international baccalaureate and IGCSEs, but is she sure that this does not attack qualifications that she would like to see kept within the net? Where, for example, do British music qualifications fit into this? Are there individual GCSEs or A-levels that happen to be taken in larger proportions by overseas students? Is she sure that this paragraph hits the target she is aiming for and not anything else?

While the Minister is considering those questions, perhaps I may go back to Amendment 22 and all that follows from it. I have a dim memory that this was formerly Clause 138 and that amendments were tabled from both these and the Liberal Democrat Benches seeking to bring the matter under some form of parliamentary procedure. We are grateful for the fact that we have the affirmative order, although is it not right that revocation and some of these amendments are subject to the negative procedure? However, that seems entirely in order.

We all join in thanking the Ministers for the amendments because it is right to bring a matter as important as the minimum requirements within parliamentary procedure. This gives Parliament the opportunity for a full debate and, in some difficult circumstances, the right to ask the Government to think again.

My Lords, as one of the Peers who has argued the case on what was Clause 138 at some length, I, too, express my gratitude to the Minister and to the Bill team for the many meetings and consultations that we have had. Although the solution that has been reached to this issue is not perfect from our point of view, it is, none the less, an acknowledgement of the fundamental point that has been made throughout the debate—that it is very important, in so far as it is possible, to defend the independence of Ofqual. We are grateful that a decision has been made which at least means, albeit in possibly controversial and difficult circumstances, that the Secretary of State for Education will have to defend before Parliament any controversial determination that is made.

I again thank the Minister and her officials for their help to those of us on these Benches who have taken an interest in this question.

My Lords, we are grateful that the Minister has taken the concerns of my noble friend Lord Lucas on board and returned with Amendment 21, which would require the Secretary of State to publish any direction he gives to Ofqual. In the interests of transparency and accountability of this regulatory body, it is right for these directions to be published.

We are grateful, once again, for the hard work the Ministers and the Bill team have put into listening and responding to our concerns. We raised our concerns about Amendments 22 to 29 and 37 to 40 on Report, and I shall not repeat all the arguments. We have made it clear that we on these Benches feel that it is necessary for the Secretary of State to have the power to issue minimum standards in respect of the skills, knowledge or understanding required to gain a particular qualification. We have also made it clear that we feel that Ofqual now falls short of the regulator that we would like to see. We have suffered in this country as, year on year, more complaints are made about the standards of education and examination. In 2008 the World Economic Forum, which measures how globally competitive a country is, placed the UK at 28th in terms of the quality of its education and 47th in terms of its maths and science.

We have made our feelings quite clear on this subject. We believe that it is right and proper for the Secretary of State, who is elected by the public on the strength of promises made, to have the power to change the conditions and raise standards. In light of this, we cannot support the amendments tabled by the Minister, which mean that any determination made under Clause 140 must be issued by order and through the affirmative resolution procedure. We feel that the Secretary of State should be held accountable to Parliament for decisions he makes to implement policy. Ofqual should report to Parliament and directions given to Ofqual by the Secretary of State should be published. Nevertheless, we believe that the Secretary of State should reserve the power to determine minimum requirements. Elected politicians should be able to respond to the concerns of the public regarding declining standards and take action to raise the bar.

We welcome Amendment 30, which makes it a requirement to include information about Ofqual’s performance of its functions, the extent to which Ofqual has met its objectives and details about levels of attainment in some regulated qualifications. However, for the most part we remain disappointed by the amendments the Government have introduced to the clause, both on Report and now at Third Reading.

My Lords, I hear what the noble Baroness, Lady Verma, has to say. We have worked hard to ensure that the concerns of the whole House have been addressed. The Bill will lead to a strong, independent regulator able to do the job that we are all looking for; that is, to ensure that standards in examinations and qualifications more generally are properly regulated and the public can have confidence that they are so.

The noble Lord, Lord Lucas, asked about the scope of qualifications to be reported on. The power to which he referred is permissive. Ofqual can publish extra data if it wants. Similarly, the Select Committee can ask it to publish extra qualifications data if desired, even if they were strictly outside the scope of new subsection (2)(a). If the noble Lord requires further clarification, I shall be happy to write to him.

The noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, asked about the detail of the information in Ofqual’s annual report. I am advised that Ofqual can go into that kind of detail if it wants to; it will be within its gift. Perhaps I may write to the noble Baroness on that, because I am sure that she would find it helpful to have a little more detail in response to her question.

I note the comments of the noble Viscount, Lord Eccles. As a former member of the Merits Committee, I am pleased that he feels that we are getting the affirmative procedure right in this case. The noble Lord, Lord Bew, was very pragmatic in his analysis of where we have come to. We have been blessed by the contributions of the Cross Benches, and I am grateful to noble Lords for the time that they have given on this issue.

The noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, spoke about mission creep, but her analysis differs from mine. I genuinely hope that the work that has gone into developing Ofqual will result in a body that can do a job which this country needs so much: to ensure that young people who put the hard work into their exams get the recognition that they deserve. I am sure that that will be the case and hope that noble Lords will feel able to support the amendments.

Amendment 21 agreed.

Clause 140 : Power to determine minimum requirements

Amendments 22 to 25

Moved by

22: Clause 140, page 87, line 7, leave out “make a determination specifying” and insert “by order specify”

23: Clause 140, page 87, line 10, leave out “a determination” and insert “an order”

24: Clause 140, page 87, line 15, leave out from “if” to end of line 22 and insert “—

(a) the qualification, or each qualification of the description, is one to which this Part applies, and(b) the condition in subsection (3A) is met in relation to the qualification or each qualification of the description.(3A) The condition is that—

(a) one or more forms of the qualification is (or are) approved under section 98 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000, or(b) the Secretary of State reasonably expects approval under that section to be sought for one or more forms of the qualification.”

25: Clause 140, page 87, line 27, leave out subsection (5)

Amendments 22 to 25 agreed.

Clause 141 : Consultation before making determination of minimum requirements

Amendment 26

Moved by

26: Clause 141, page 87, line 33, leave out “a determination” and insert “an order”

Amendment 26 agreed.

Clause 142 : Effect of determination of minimum requirements

Amendment 27

Moved by

27: Clause 142, page 88, line 5, leave out “a determination under section 140(1) has” and insert “minimum requirements specified in an order under section 140(1) have”

Amendment 27 agreed.

Amendment 28

Moved by

28: After Clause 142, insert the following new Clause—

“Revocation and amendment of orders specifying minimum requirements

(1) Subsection (2) applies if—

(a) the Secretary of State has made an order under section 140(1) in respect of a qualification or description of qualification, and(b) the qualification or description of qualification ceases to be one to which section 140 applies.(2) The Secretary of State may by order—

(a) revoke the order, or(b) amend it for the purpose of removing the qualification or description of qualification from the application of the order.(3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not affect the power of the Secretary of State to revoke or amend an order under section 140(1) in other circumstances.

(4) Sections 140(2) and 141 do not apply to an order—

(a) revoking an order under section 140(1), or(b) amending an order under section 140(1) for the purpose only of removing a qualification or description of qualification from the application of the order.”

Amendment 28 agreed.

Clause 143 : Amendment and revocation of determination of minimum requirements

Amendment 29

Moved by

29: Clause 143, leave out Clause 143

Amendment 29 agreed.

Clause 170 : Annual and other reports

Amendment 30

Moved by

30: Clause 170, page 100, line 16, leave out from “must” to end of line 17 and insert “include—

(a) a statement of what Ofqual has done in performing its functions in the reporting period;(b) an assessment of the extent to which Ofqual has met its objectives in that period;(c) details of any information obtained by Ofqual in that period on the levels of attainment in relevant regulated qualifications.(2A) “Relevant regulated qualifications” are regulated qualifications that are taken wholly or mainly by pupils at schools in England.

(2B) An assessment under subsection (2)(b) in respect of the qualifications standards objective must in particular explain how, in making the assessment, Ofqual has taken account of any information within subsection (2)(c) obtained in the reporting period or an earlier reporting period.”

Amendment 30 agreed.

Clause 194 : Targets for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children

Amendment 31

Moved by

31: Clause 194, page 114, line 23, at end insert—

“(1A) In section 66 of that Act (regulations and orders)—

(a) in subsection (4) after “containing” insert “the first regulations under section 9A or”;(b) in subsection (5)(a) for “to which subsection (3) does not apply” substitute “to which neither of subsections (3) and (4) applies”.”

My Lords, the amendment will make the first exercise of the regulation-making power on statutory safeguarding targets subject to the affirmative procedure. It follows my commitment to consider the amendment of, and points made by, the noble Baronesses, Lady Walmsley and Lady Verma, on Report, when I gained a strong sense from the House that it wanted a debate on the new safeguarding targets. As I outlined previously, we have embarked on an extensive programme of consultation on what the targets should cover, but I understand the House’s desire for a full debate on statutory safeguarding targets and the use of the affirmative procedure. In future, it is right that the exercise of the power should be subject to a negative procedure. When the House has seen how the whole process has been gone through on the first occasion, noble Lords will probably feel comfortable about making an assessment of whether a prayer is required in future years. I hope noble Lords will feel able to support the amendment.

My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for accepting the idea that there should be affirmative resolution, which was in my Amendment 200 at the Report stage. It is right that Parliament has the opportunity to debate these targets, even though they will have been consulted on very widely with the professionals. Parliamentarians are very concerned about the issues surrounding the targets and it is right that their voice should be heard.

During the debate in Parliament, I have no doubt that Members will want to explore the matter of the resources available. You have to will the means as well as the ends. It is terribly important that there are resources to fulfil these targets—financial, human and training resources—to ensure that a sufficient number of qualified people are there, with the right experience to be able to carry out the work, so that each local authority in the country can hit those targets. I hope that will then focus the Government’s mind on the fact that Members of Parliament put the safeguarding of their children very high in the order of priorities. When that happens, I hope that the Treasury is listening.

It is very unfortunate when local authorities feel that they have to choose between youth services and safeguarding children, as Nottinghamshire had to do recently. Following a negative inspection, it countered that it had had a 43 per cent increase in the number of referrals for safeguarding issues in the past 12 months. That is very hard for any local authority to deal with. As a result, it has put an improvement plan into place, but to pay for that it has had to cut youth services, Connexions and a teenage pregnancy programme. That is not right. We have to make sure that the Treasury is clear about this and that Members of Parliament make it very clear when they make their speeches, when these targets come before them, that the Treasury needs to put the money in to will the means as well as the ends.

My Lords, we thank the Government for this amendment. We spoke warmly in support of these intentions on Report and very much welcome the fact that these regulations will be subject to affirmative procedure. I thank the Minister once again for her assiduous desire to achieve consensus on the parts of the Bill where that is achieved.

My Lords, as a member of the Delegated Powers Committee, I ask for an assurance that the correspondence between the Government and that committee will be completed so that everything is in good order. Some of these changes may be made at the last minute.

I know that I have cleared a letter that has gone in the direction of the committee. It is another letter that we have circulated. I agree with the noble Viscount that it is very important that the committees are properly informed and that we meet the deadlines on all these matters.

Amendment 31 agreed.

Clause 217 : Arrangements etc. to be made by Commission

Amendment 32

Moved by

32: Clause 217, page 133, line 20, at end insert—

“(3) The information published under subsection (2)(b) must include details of assistance available to each of the following—

(a) a pupil at a qualifying school (see section 205(6)(d)) who is, or has been, looked after by a local authority (within the meaning given by section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989);(b) a person who has a disability (within the meaning of section 1(1) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995);(c) a person who has special educational needs (within the meaning of section 312 of the Education Act 1996).”

I was about to attempt to move this formally, but that would have been most inappropriate.

We now move to part of the Bill looking at the system of complaints in schools. I assure noble Lords that we intend to make the system that we are developing work efficiently and effectively for parents, children and young people, and it will be properly developed and rolled out through a phased approach. I assure noble Lords that the complaints commissioner will make information and guidance accessible to groups of vulnerable children, including those with special educational needs, those who are, or have been, looked after and those with disabilities.

The DCSF and the local commissioner will of course work with our stakeholders during the testing phase, which we discussed on Report. The testing phase will be an important part of developing a practical and effective complaints service. We will be working with stakeholders during the testing phase with a view to ensuring that the needs of these groups of young people are properly met. Importantly, that will include looking at the effectiveness of the information and guidance that is provided.

As I explained during our last debate on this important subject, we fully intend to test the need for advocacy during the phased roll-out. That means looking at the experiences of service users, particularly young people, to enable the department to gauge demand and the costs associated with that demand. It is essential that we look at any issues around access to advocacy for vulnerable groups of children and parents. With that in mind, we have tabled an amendment to the Bill which makes explicit that information about access to advocacy must be made available. It was a matter of great concern for noble Lords on Report, so I hope that the amendment will be acceptable. I beg to move.

I am most grateful to the Minister for listening yet again on this matter. I tabled amendments in Committee and on Report and she has come back with a government amendment. I have a couple of questions. The Bill introduces the general duty on the commission to publish information about the procedures for complaint. Will that information be in a format suitable for children and young people to be able to understand? The majority of the complaints are brought by parents. Under this system, children will be able to make complaints themselves. We welcome the Minister’s assurance that information about advocacy will be available for the children in the particularly vulnerable categories that I highlighted earlier in our discussions. However, I want to make sure that all the information will be in a format that is accessible to children.

Will the Minister also tell us when the duty to publish information will come into force? Will it come into force in the areas where the pilot schemes are being carried out at the beginning of those pilot schemes and then be rolled out across the country? Will she also say something about how the DCSF intends to monitor the implementation of the duty?

Although I am grateful to the Minister for giving us this particular concession on advocacy, I am still somewhat sceptical about the complaints system that the Government are proposing. I hope that it does not result, as some fear, in the floodgates opening with a whole lot of complaints. Although the commissioner can dismiss them if they are obviously vexatious, they could still take a great deal of time to weed through. Of course, it would waste a lot of schools’ time in producing evidence, even at the very early stages of a complaint that was later dismissed. We are trying to avoid wasting teaching time and unwarranted bureaucracy.

It is important that, where pupils or parents have justified complaints, they are dealt with as quickly as possible at the school level, if that can be done. That is where the governors come in. The complaint can then go to the local authority if the school cannot settle it, although there may well be a need for a further stage so that children’s rights can be adhered to. I look forward to seeing reports about how this system is working, to see if it is better than what we have at the moment.

I assure the Minister that the number of children who will require advocacy will be quite small. We have only 2,200 complaints going to this sort of level each year, of which only a very small number will fall into the particularly vulnerable categories that have been the subject of my concerns. I do not think that the cost will be very high and I hope the Minister can assure me that the money will be available.

My Lords, we thank the Minister for this amendment. It is appropriate that, where the commission publishes any information relating to the procedures for making up a complaint, it should ensure that it specifically includes information relating to a child in care; a child no longer looked after by the local authority; a disabled child; and a child with special educational needs. These are all vulnerable groups, which may not be aware of their rights. It is hoped that, by making information available about what particular support there is, these groups may be helped to make the most effective use of the complaints procedure, should it prove necessary.

We are grateful to the Minister for listening to our concerns, expressed during debates on these clauses, and for tabling this amendment. Amendment 32 does not fully address our concerns, as the Minister is aware. Nevertheless, we recognise that debate and scrutiny in this House have brought significant improvements and for this we are very grateful.

I start by thanking the noble Baroness, Lady Verma, for her remarks. It has been helpful to have a very constructive discussion about the complaints process. We have made good progress through the passage of the Bill.

The noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, asked whether information would be made available in a format accessible to children and young people. Yes, it will be. Both the noble Baronesses, Lady Verma and Lady Walmsley, are well aware of the value of that and have advocated it in this House many times. I will write to the noble Baronesses about the detail of how the evaluation and the roll-out will work. In particular, I will need to get back to the noble Baroness about the commencement dates, because I do not have those in my notes. I absolutely agree with the noble Baroness that advocacy is extremely important. The ideal is that complaints and concerns are settled at a local level, in schools, before any issues can be escalated out of the school, either to the Secretary of State or through the new complaints system. Of course, getting a good complaints system working is a benefit to teachers, governors, parents, and children and young people, whose interests we aim to serve with this new scheme. I thank the noble Baronesses for their support and I hope we can see this amendment agreed.

Amendment 32 agreed.

Clause 245 : Recording and reporting the use of force in schools: England

Amendment 33

Moved by

33: Clause 245, page 152, line 12, leave out “or over)” and insert “or over or provision made under subsection (4A) applies)”

My Lords, I apologise as noble Lords may be getting fed up of me popping up and down but this is my amendment. We have now reached the last group of amendments, which we debated late on Report. I am grateful to noble Lords opposite for our constructive discussions on this part of the Bill.

We remain firmly of the view that, in the overwhelming majority of cases where there is a significant incident in which force is used on a child in a school, the parents should be informed. I think that all noble Lords around the House agree with that. I believe that is what parents would expect. However, on Report last week, I willingly accepted the argument that, in the very few cases where this requirement may result in significant harm to the child, this requirement to report to parents need not apply. We nevertheless think that in such cases the incident should not just stay within the school or college and that, where there is no parent to whom the incident can safely be reported because of concerns about how the parent might react, the obligation should instead be to report the incident to the local authority.

In deciding whether reporting an incident to a parent would be likely to result in significant harm to the pupil, and what is meant by “significant harm”, the member of staff responsible under the procedure for reporting the incident should have regard to any guidance. Because a decision not to report an incident to parents may be difficult, we anticipate that the guidance will require that the member of staff responsible should discuss this with the head teacher before any decision is made. I hope that this would be a rare event in a school, but I think that staff would naturally want to discuss such a matter with the head teacher. Teacher unions, local government and children’s rights representatives have been advised of this amendment and we will want to consult them on the development of the guidance.

I should have mentioned on an earlier group of amendments that we have laid minor and consequential amendments to Schedule 2. Amendments 43, 44 and 45 are minor, technical drafting amendments. I should have spoken to them when we discussed an earlier group of amendments. I have been passed a highlighted note telling me that it is very important that I mention this. I am a rule-governed person and therefore I have mentioned them.

As this is possibly the last speech that I will make on the Bill, I want to say a few words of thanks. Noble Lords have made very generous remarks today and, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Young, I say a very big thank you to them for the way in which we have worked together to take this Bill through your Lordships' House. I particularly thank the Opposition Front Benches and the Cross-Bench liaison Peers for the very constructive way in which they have worked with the Government throughout what I can safely say has been a long process. I think that it has taken nearly six months. I thank the Opposition Benches and the Cross-Bench liaison Peers for their insightful contributions to debates on the Floor of the House and for the advice that I have received in our meetings.

I pay tribute to all Back-Bench Peers who have contributed to these debates. I am grateful for the generosity they have shown in giving their time to attend meetings even during the recess. I also thank the Bill team and the officials at DCSF and BIS for their tireless efforts in drafting briefing and for supporting Ministers throughout the passage of a Bill that has at times been very technical and involved. As many noble Lords have remarked, it has not been the shortest or simplest of Bills. The Bill team is to be commended for its diligence and attention to the last, reminding me of minor and technical details.

I do not know how often this happens, but I should also put on record my thanks to the opposition researchers in the offices of the Liberal Democrats and of the Official Opposition for their tremendous work in liaising with the Bill team. It has been a delight to work with them.

Finally, with the leave of the House, I should take a moment to thank the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp of Guildford. A little birdie told me that the noble Baroness may well be scaling back her responsibilities on the Front Bench. I thank her for her huge contribution to the work of this House. She has been a Member of this House since 1998 and a spokesperson for her party from 2000. She is an amazingly hard-working, committed and knowledgeable advocate in the fields of education, science and technology, and we will miss her wise words from the Front Bench. I have greatly enjoyed debating with her, not just while I have been at DCSF but also when I was at the DES. I very much look forward to debating with the noble Baroness, Lady Garden, who I understand might be stepping forward to fill the shoes of the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp. I am sure that noble Lords will join me in paying tribute to her many achievements and contributions to the House over the past 10 years.

I hope that, in speaking to this last group of amendments, I have not overstepped the mark by making these comments too soon. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, who is to respond, will not feel in any way limited in his remarks because I have chosen to dwell for so long on my thank yous. I hope that noble Lords will support these amendments.

My Lords, I very much welcome the amendment, which was tabled as a result of one of my urgings. It is a step in the right direction, although I would have preferred it if the Government had accepted the amendment on Report which said that the matter should be down to the head teacher’s discretion. The Government have responded to the case study which I suggested whereby a child might have been damaged if the Bill had remained as it was.

It has to be said that it is now up to all the groups that will be consulted—including head teachers, teachers’ unions and safeguarding groups—to step forward and fully engage with the consultation to make sure that we obtain the right guidance and to ensure that the term “significant force” is sensibly defined in it so that an unwarranted burden is not placed on schools. At the same time, children have the right for their parents to know that, where it is appropriate, they have been subjected to the use of force. I thank the Minister very much for that.

I thank the Minister, her colleagues and the Bill team for all their co-operation, their listening and their very hard work. I also add my thanks to my noble colleague, my noble friend Lady Sharp of Guildford, who could not have been a more helpful mentor to me when I came into this House as a very green member of her team. She has been absolutely wonderful and I shall miss her on the Front Bench, although I am pleased to hear that she will still be around for me to go to for advice if I need to. I also welcome my noble friend Lady Garden of Frognal to the Front Bench.

My Lords, we are, of course, dealing with Amendment 33. Like the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, I thank the Government for responding to the points made both in Committee and on Report. I strongly agree with the National Union of Teachers that such an amendment is necessary, as it will allow the exercise of the teacher’s professional judgment. A straight statutory requirement to report directly to parents in every instance would, we all feel, have had untoward consequences. For example, a teacher might be aware of a particularly difficult situation in which a parent was likely to be violent with a child if informed of an incident at school where physical restraint had been the necessary and proportionate response. An unqualified statutory duty would mean that teachers had by law to report to that parent. Therefore, we welcome the Government’s amendment. I confess that it does not go quite as far as we would like, but it at least gives more professional responsibility to the teacher. As the Minister knows, we on these Benches strongly feel that we have to express trust in our teachers. The Government have accepted that principle here, so we are delighted to welcome the amendment.

I think that the noble Baroness gave the most generous tribute that I have ever heard from a Minister. It should not go unrecorded that we all very much appreciate her kind words. We pay tribute to her and to her noble friend for the way in which they have listened. I am not going down a mea culpa route, but I have to say that it is easy not to listen, whereas it is much more difficult not only to listen but to respond positively and constructively. That requires a whole range of abilities, which the noble Baroness has exhibited throughout the passage of the Bill.

The Bill is an enormous piece of legislation, which many of us felt probably would not get through. But we have done it. As the noble Lord the Minister said earlier, it is a much improved Bill that we send to the other place. That is also a tribute to the team that has looked after the Bill. It is always difficult when two departments come together to maintain the impetus behind a Bill. Although we have had our criticisms, the Bill team has always responded. Many of us have had lots of meetings—indeed, we have been full of meetings in and around the Chamber—but it has been a pleasure for my noble friends and me to work with the noble Baroness the Minister.

We have also had some tremendous contributions from other noble Lords. I single out my noble friends Lord Elton, Lady Perry, Lord Eccles, Lord Lucas and Lord Baker. Great contributions have been made from the Cross Benches, too. Perhaps I might just add that I am never quite sure of the appropriateness of the word “liaison”. Before the Minister uses that word again, perhaps she could look up the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary, because—no, I will not go down that road.

It has been a pleasure to work with noble Lords, particularly my noble friends Lady Verma and Lord De Mauley, who have provided great depth and quality to the debates, as a result of which substantial improvements have been made to the Bill. I, too, pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp of Guildford, who is a marvellous example of someone who feels deeply about many issues and spares no words in making us aware of that. On behalf of the researchers who work for the Opposition and the Liberal Democrats, I say that that was an unusual but much appreciated tribute that the noble Baroness made. So for the moment, all is goodwill and gratitude for all that the Minister has done. I hope that the other place will appreciate the way in which the Bill has been improved in a traditional way by the House.

My Lords, I will make one more important acknowledgement that is not always made. I do not know how this was brought about, but from the Back Benches it appears that the noble Baroness has some influence among her senior colleagues on the Front Bench opposite, with the result that we had a very generous allocation of time in the early stages of the Bill, which made the amity and concord possible because we have not always been working under pressure of the sort that one has come to expect when major legislation is brought through. I am very grateful that this amount of time has been allowed and I hope that this may be done again in future.

My Lords, as one of the “liaison” Cross-Benchers, I associate those of us involved in the Bill with all the remarks that have been made. In particular, I echo what the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, said. I have benefited hugely from the help of the researchers in the two offices, and I know that my colleagues feel the same. I am extremely glad that they have been mentioned, because too often it is left unsaid.

The Bill has been an experience. I do not pretend that I am entirely happy with everything that is going forward, because we probably never are when we look at something that needs so much attention. However, the improvements that have been made are down to the fact that everyone has seemed to be working together rather than against each other on the Bill, which must be in the spirit of the House. In particular, one must thank the Minister and her Bill team for the way in which they have co-operated, listened and helped. It is a model of how these things should be done.

My Lords, I will add a tiny word about how pleased I am with these four amendments, which have hardly been mentioned. They have addressed very important points. As others have said, the teaching unions have made their position clear and strongly support this. The way in which we consider the well-being of the child is crucial, but equally important is the well-being of the staff, and saving them from vexatious and other forms of unnecessary criticism. There must be ways in which things that go wrong are notified, known about and put right. However, the amendments in this group are absolutely right and I am very much in favour of them.

As someone who prefers to call themselves a Back-Bench rather than a “liaison” Cross-Bencher and who has taken part in debates on the Bill, I say that we have a star on our side in my noble friend Lord Ramsbotham. I hope that he will forgive me for saying that and is not blushing. I am also very sad that we are losing the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp. There are plenty of very able Members on the Lib Dem Benches who can take over, but perhaps not with her experience, which is still going on—she brings such experience and expertise, and I and many others have learnt a tremendous amount from her each time she has risen to speak. I shall miss her enormously and I am sure that many other noble Lords will, too.

My Lords, I approve of the amendments in this group, which are well judged. I will add three words to what my noble friend Lord Hunt said. The first is intended to comfort the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham. Even when one is on the Front Bench in government, one is not often entirely happy with the Bills that one is taking through. Secondly, I say, via the Front Bench opposite, that I have not come across such a helpful Bill team before—they have been an immense support to a lonely Back-Bencher. It is enormously appreciated, and they have even gone so far, in taking seriously my concerns and those of the Liberal Democrats over what was Clause 138, that they have upset my Front Bench, which has given me particular pleasure. Lastly, I, too, shall miss the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp.

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have paid tribute to my work in the House over the past 10 years as a Front-Bench spokesman on education. Ten years is long enough and it is about time that I took a Back-Bench seat. I shall remain interested in these issues and speak from the Back Benches on them. The model that I have in my head is that of the noble Baroness, Lady Perry, who was a Front-Bencher and now speaks with great authority from the Back Benches. If I can emulate her, I shall do so. I also add my thanks to the team of Ministers—the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan, and the noble Lord, Lord Young—and the Bill team. I have never before worked so closely with a ministerial team and we have succeeded in improving the Bill. It was a very messy Bill to start with and remains in some senses a messy Bill, but I hope that it is an improved Bill.

My Lords, as the noble Baroness, Lady Howe of Idlicote, has reminded the House, we have not yet reached the question of whether the Bill do now pass. We are considering Amendment 33.

Amendment 33 agreed.

Amendment 34

Moved by

34: Clause 245, page 152, line 20, at end insert—

“(4A) A procedure under subsection (1) must include provision to the effect—

(a) that a person (“R”) who would otherwise be required by the procedure to report an incident to a parent must not report it to that parent if it appears to R that doing so would be likely to result in significant harm to the pupil; and(b) that if it appears to R that there is no parent of the pupil to whom R could report the incident without that being likely to result in significant harm to the pupil, R must report the incident to the local authority (within the meaning of the Children Act 1989) within whose area the pupil is ordinarily resident.(4B) In deciding for the purposes of provision made under subsection (4A) whether reporting an incident to a parent would be likely to result in significant harm to the pupil, R must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State about the meaning of “significant harm” for those purposes.”

Amendment 34 agreed.

Clause 246 : Recording and reporting the use of force in FE colleges: England

Amendments 35 and 36

Moved by

35: Clause 246, page 152, line 42, leave out “or over)” and insert “or over or provision made under subsection (4A) applies)”

36: Clause 246, page 153, line 7, at end insert—

“(4A) A procedure under subsection (1) must include provision to the effect—

(a) that a person (“R”) who would otherwise be required by the procedure to report an incident to a parent must not report it to that parent if it appears to R that doing so would be likely to result in significant harm to the student; and(b) that if it appears to R that there is no parent of the student to whom R could report the incident without that being likely to result in significant harm to the student, R must report the incident to the local authority (within the meaning of the Children Act 1989) within whose area the student is ordinarily resident.(4B) In deciding for the purposes of provision made under subsection (4A) whether reporting an incident to a parent would be likely to result in significant harm to the student, R must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State about the meaning of “significant harm” for those purposes.”

Amendments 35 and 36 agreed.

Clause 261 : Orders and regulations

Amendments 37 to 42

Moved by

37: Clause 261, page 163, line 24, leave out “subsection (6)” and insert “subsections (6) to (6B)”

38: Clause 261, page 163, line 30, at end insert—

“(za) regulations under section 1(5);”

39: Clause 261, page 163, line 33, at end insert—

“(ca) an order under section 140(1);”

40: Clause 261, page 163, line 37, at end insert—

“(6A) Subsections (5) and (6) do not apply to a statutory instrument which contains only—

(a) an order revoking an order under section 140(1), or(b) an order amending an order under section 140(1) for the purpose only of removing a qualification or description of qualification from the application of the order.(6B) A statutory instrument within subsection (6A) must be laid before Parliament.”

41: Clause 261, page 163, line 38, at beginning insert “Subject to subsection (7A),”

42: Clause 261, page 163, line 41, at end insert—

“(7A) A statutory instrument which contains (whether alone or with other provision) regulations under section 2(5) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the National Assembly for Wales.”

Amendments 37 to 42 agreed.

Schedule 2 : LEA functions: minor and consequential amendments

Amendments 43 to 45

Moved by

43: Schedule 2, page 171, line 39, leave out “, 507B and 562H” and insert “and 507B”

44: Schedule 2, page 171, line 41, leave out “section 18A” and insert “sections 18A and 562H”

45: Schedule 2, page 171, line 42, leave out “that section” and insert “those sections”

Amendments 43 to 45 agreed.

Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.