|Education And Inspections Bill - continued||House of Commons|
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Clause 109: Education and training to which this Chapter applies
490. This clause sets out the education and training to which the Chapter applies.
491. Subsection (1) sets out the kinds of education and training which will be within the Chief Inspector's remit, of which some are currently within the remit of ALI and some are already within the remit of the Chief Inspector of Schools. These will include further education and work-based training. There is also provision for such other education or training as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State to be brought into the Chief Inspector's remit.
492. Subsection (2) provides that the training which may be prescribed under subsection (1)(h) can include the training of teachers and trainers.
493. Subsection (3) allows the provision of information and adult guidance, or the provision of any description of such information, advice and guidance to be treated as training for the purposes of subsection (1)(h), if regulations so provide.
Clause 110: Inspection of education and training to which this Chapter applies
494. This clause creates a duty for the Chief Inspector to inspect the education and training that is within his remit.
495. When the Chief Inspector has completed the inspection, he has a duty to make a written report on it. The report of an inspection must state whether the education and training inspected is of a quality adequate to meet the reasonable needs of those receiving it. The Chief Inspector must arrange for the report to be published. He must send copies to specified recipients. He may also send it to anyone else he considers appropriate.
Clause 111: Inspection of further education institutions
496. This clause requires the Chief Inspector to inspect all further education institutions. When the Chief Inspector has completed the inspection, he has a duty to report on it. The Chief Inspector's responsibilities with regard to a report of an inspection are as in clause 110.
Clause 112: Other inspections
497. This clause gives the Chief Inspector additional powers in relation to the education and training within his remit.
498. Subsection (1) gives the Chief Inspector power to inspect education and training in cases when he is not required to do so by virtue of any other provision, for example when he identifies a particular issue of concern. He may make a report of such an inspection and if he does so he may publish it. The Chief Inspector's responsibilities with regard to distribution of a report of such an inspection are as in clause 110.
499. Subsection (2) gives the Chief Inspector the power to carry out inspections of further education and training commissioned and paid for by providers of education and training. It gives the Chief Inspector the power to inspect any education and training that is not in his remit if it is further education or training within the subsection and he is requested to do so by the provider of the education or training. He can charge for such an inspection. This clause gives the Chief Inspector the power to make a report of such an inspection and the power to publish it. Subsection (7) enables the Chief Inspector to conduct inspections under subsection (2) outside the United Kingdom.
Clause 113: Action plans
500. This clause covers the action to be taken after all inspections other than inspections commissioned under clause 112(2). It requires the provider of the education and training inspected to provide a written action plan together with a timetable setting out when the action will be taken. The person must publish the plan within a period prescribed by regulations and send copies to a list of persons also prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State.
501. Subsection (4) allows the Chief Inspector to waive this requirement. He might do so where, for example, the standard of provision was particularly high and appropriate action was already underway and incorporated into existing plans.
Clause 114: Area inspections
502. Subsection (1) requires the Chief Inspector, if requested by the Secretary of State to do so, to carry out an inspection covering the whole of a specified area (which would normally reflect the way in which local education authorities and/or local Learning and Skills Councils are organised territorially). He will be under a duty to inspect the quality and availability of provision in that area for persons aged 15 or over but under 19 as well as the standards they achieve. Included in the scope of the inspections are those who will reach the age of 15 in the current school year.
503. Subsection (2) allows the Chief Inspector to carry out such inspections without being requested to do so.
504. Subsections (3) and (4) extend the powers of the Chief Inspector so that he can investigate value for money issues.
505. Subsection (5) defines what education or training may be made the subject of an area inspection. Broadly this includes all 14-19 provision within the national curriculum, further education and work-based training.
506. Subsections (6) and (7) set out the duties and responsibilities of education and training providers as well as local education authorities in respect of supplying any information required for an area inspection.
507. Subsection (8) explains what is meant by the reference in subsection (1)(a) to persons who are aged 15.
Clause 115: Reports of area inspections
508. This clause makes it a requirement for the Chief Inspector to make a written report on completing an area inspection.
509. The Chief Inspector must also make arrangements for the report to be published. The report must be sent to the Secretary of State, the Learning and Skills Council for England and each local education authority whose area is wholly or partly within the area subject to the inspection. Copies may be sent to anyone else the Chief Inspector considers appropriate.
Clause 116: Action plans following area inspections
510. This clause covers the action to be taken following the publication of an area inspection report. It allows the Secretary of State to require either the Learning and Skills Council or a local education authority to prepare a written action plan, together with a timetable setting out when the action will be taken by them. The Learning and Skills Council or local education authority must publish the plan within a specified period (which it is expected will not normally exceed three months from the date of publishing the inspection report) and send copies to a list of persons - both the timeframe and list of persons to be prescribed by regulations.
Clause 117: Power of entry
511. This clause gives a power of entry to the Chief Inspector when conducting any inspections except those commissioned by providers. It gives him the power to enter premises where the education or training to be inspected is provided or which are used in connection with the provision of the education or training.
512. Subsection (3) provides that any right to access an employer's premises can only be exercised if reasonable notice has been given in writing.
Clause 118: Power to inspect documents, etc.
513. This clause provides that, where the Chief Inspector exercises his power of entry for the purpose of carrying out an inspection under clause 117 (power of entry), he may require the production of documents, including computer records and inspect and take copies of documents and remove them from the premises under inspection. He may also inspect computers and he may require assistance from the person operating the computer.
514. The clause provides that obstructing the exercise of the powers under this clause or clause 117, or failing to comply with a requirement under this clause, is an offence liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (£2,500).
Clause 119: Framework for inspections
515. This clause requires a framework or frameworks to be devised and published by the Chief Inspector. The framework or frameworks will lay out a common set or sets of principles which cover all inspections conducted under this Chapter. It allows the Chief Inspector to revise the framework and he must publish any revised framework.
Clause 120: Abolition of Adult Learning Inspectorate
516. This clause abolishes the Adult Learning Inspectorate on the appointed day as all of its inspection functions will in future be performed by the Chief Inspector.
Chapter 4 - Inspection and review of Local Authorities in England
Clause 121: Functions to which this Chapter applies and related activities
517. Chapter 4 makes provision for the Chief Inspector to undertake inspections and annual reviews of the performance of local authorities' functions, and sets out which of those functions are within the Chief Inspector's remit for these purposes. The functions within the Chief Inspector's remit are those listed in paragraphs (a) to (e) subsection (1). The functions under the Children Act 2004 mentioned in subsection (1)(c) include the appointment of a director and lead member for children's services. The Chief Inspector's powers of inspection and review include powers in relation to the exercise by local authorities of their general powers to promote the well-being of their areas under the Local Government Act 2000 (see the definition of "related activity" in subsections (7) and (8)).
Clause 122: Inspection of local authorities in England
518. This clause sets out the general inspection duties of the Chief Inspector in respect of the performance of local authorities' functions to which the Chapter applies. The functions to be inspected are as set out in the note on clause 121 (local authority functions to which this Chapter applies).
519. The Chief Inspector may carry out an inspection of the performance of the functions, including anything done in pursuance of those functions under arrangements made by the local authority. This will enable the Chief Inspector to inspect (for example) any of a local authority's children's social services functions that are discharged through arrangements with private or charitable providers of
children's homes. In carrying out his inspection the Chief Inspector may also inspect any related activities.
520. The clause also requires the Chief Inspector to carry out an inspection of a specified local authority where the Secretary of State requests him to do so (subsection (3)). The inspection may cover all of the local authority functions to which Chapter 4 applies, or such functions as are specified in the Secretary of State's request.
Clause 123: Reports of inspections under section 122
521. This clause provides for the Chief Inspector to make a written report of any inspection of a local authority conducted under clause 122 (inspection of local authorities in England). The Chief Inspector must send a copy of the report to the local authority and the Secretary of State. The local authority must prepare a written statement setting out the action it proposes to take in the light of the report and the timetable for doing so. The authority must publish the report, and action plan, in accordance with regulations to be made by the Secretary of State.
522. The Chief Inspector may publish the report in such manner as he considers appropriate.
Clause 124: Annual reviews of local authorities in England
523. This clause sets out the requirement for the Chief Inspector to undertake an annual review of local authorities' performance of functions to which the Chapter applies and of related activities (see clause 121 (local authority functions to which this Chapter applies). Having carried out such a review the Chief Inspector is required to award a performance rating for each authority. The intention is that these performance ratings will feed, alongside ratings for other services, into the annual comprehensive performance assessment for local authorities which is led by the Audit Commission. Section 99 of the Local Government Act 2003 provides that the Audit Commission must from time to time produce a report on its findings in relation to the performance of English local authorities in exercising their functions, and that the report must categorise each local authority according to how the authority has performed in exercising its functions.
Clause 125: Power of entry
524. This clause provides the Chief Inspector with a power of entry for the purpose of carrying out inspections of local authorities under clause 122 (inspection of local authorities in England), or annual reviews of local authorities under clause 124.
525. The inspector may at any reasonable time enter any premises for the purposes of the inspection or review, though his power does not extend to domestic premises within the meaning in this Part (see clause 144) unless those premises are a school.
Clause 126: Power to inspect documents etc.
526. This clause provides that, where the Chief Inspector exercises his power of entry for the purpose of carrying out inspections of local authorities under clause 122 (inspection of local authorities in England), or annual reviews of local authorities under clause 124, he may require the production of documents, including computer records; inspect, take copies or remove them from the premises; inspect computers; and inspect the state and management of the premises.
527. The clause provides that a person who without reasonable excuse obstructs the exercise of powers under this clause or clause 125, or fails to comply with a requirement under this clause, is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (£2,500) (subsection (9)).
Clause 127: Power to require information etc.
528. This clause provides that the Chief Inspector may at any time ask for information relating to the functions he inspects under this Chapter or related activities (see clause 121: local authority functions to which this Chapter applies), from a local authority (as defined in clause 128: interpretation), or anyone delivering those functions under arrangements made by the local authority.
529. A person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with requirements of the clause is guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
Clause 128: Interpretation etc.
530. This clause sets out various definitions required for the purposes of Chapter 4. In particular it defines local authorities in England to which the Chapter applies. They are county councils, and those "unitary" authorities in England, which have education and children's social services functions and certain functions under the Children Act 2004.
Chapter 5 - Inspection of CAFCASS functions
Clause 129: Inspection of CAFCASS functions
531. This clause makes it a duty for the Chief Inspector to inspect the performance of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. (This is at present a function of HMICA.) The Chief Inspector is required to produce a written report of any inspection and send copies to the Secretary of State and CAFCASS. The Chief Inspector may also publish the reports in such a manner as he considers appropriate.
Clause 130: Power of entry
532. This clause gives the Chief Inspector the power to enter any premises occupied by CAFCASS and any organisations or individuals contracted to carry out functions on behalf of CAFCASS. The Chief Inspector does not have the right to enter private dwellings. The power of entry may be exercised at reasonable times only.
Clause 131: Power to inspect documents etc.
533. This clause gives the Chief Inspector the power to inspect, take copies of or take away documents held by CAFCASS or relating to the performance of CAFCASS functions which he considers relevant for the purposes of the inspection.
534. Subsection (3) ensures that where documents are produced the information they contain must be legible and in a form in which they can be taken away, which may, for example, mean that printouts have to be provided in the case of documents in a computer file.
535. Subsection (4) entitles the Chief Inspector to have access to, inspect or check the operation of any computers (or other apparatus) used to produce the documents which he has the power to inspect, and he may require the person with responsibility for the computer to assist him.
536. Where a computer is kept on domestic premises (for example by an officer of the Service, as defined in clause 130(5)), subsections (5) and (7) give the Chief Inspector the power to take possession of the computer, retain it for as long as he considers necessary and then return it.
537. Subsection (8) provides that the powers can be exercised at reasonable times only.
Chapter 6 - Further provisions relating to functions of Chief Inspector
Clause 132: Inspection of secure training centres
538. This clause reproduces provisions in section 112 of the Health and Social Services (Community and Health and Standards) Act 2003 (which is repealed by the Bill) for the Secretary of State (in practice the Home Secretary) and the Chief Inspector to make arrangements for the inspection of secure training centres. These are centres for offenders under the age of 18 who have been sentenced by a Court to a detention and training order within the meaning of section 100 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. Inspections of secure training centres are currently conducted jointly by CSCI and HM Chief Inspector of Schools in England by agreement with the Youth Justice Board on behalf of the Home Secretary. By virtue of this clause the functions of CSCI in respect of secure training centres will become exercisable by the Chief Inspector.
Clause 133: Inspection of premises in connection with adoption and fostering functions
539. This clause re-enacts provision that was formerly in section 45 of the Care Standards Act 2000 and provides a power for the Secretary of State to make regulations requiring the Chief Inspector to inspect relevant functions of a local authority on such occasions or at such intervals as the regulations specify. "Relevant functions" are defined by reference to Part 3 of the Care Standards Act 2000, as adoption and fostering functions.
Clause 134: Transfer of certain CSCI functions to the Chief Inspector
540. This clause provides for functions of CSCI under Part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000, as to the registration of children's homes, residential family centres, fostering agencies, voluntary adoption agencies, and adoption support agencies, to transfer to the Chief Inspector. The clause also provides for functions of CSCI under the Children Act 2004 to transfer to the Chief Inspector.
Clause 135: Interaction with other authorities
541. This clause gives effect to Schedule 13.
Schedule 13: Interaction with other authorities
542. Paragraph 1 defines the inspection authorities to which this Schedule applies: the Chief Inspector for Justice, Community Safety and Custody (see further Part 4 of the Police and Justice Bill), the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection, CSCI and the Audit Commission. It is expected that the list will be amended in due course as the Government's policy on public services inspection is implemented and four public sector inspectorates are established. (In due course, similar provisions will appear in legislation establishing the other two inspectorates.)
543. Paragraph 3 gives the Chief Inspector power to delegate any of his inspection functions to a public authority ("public authority" is defined in paragraph 2). For example, the Chief Inspector may need to delegate functions to another inspection authority to enable efficient management of a joint inspection.
544. Paragraph 4 and 5 are designed to ensure that the inspection authorities co-operate, work efficiently together and do not duplicate inspections so as to place unnecessary burdens on those being inspected. Under paragraph 4 the Chief Inspector must prepare from time to time a document setting out his "inspection programme" and his "inspection framework", the latter being a document setting out the manner in which he proposes to carry out his inspection and reporting functions. In preparing his inspection programmes and framework, the Chief Inspector must consult the Secretary of State and the other inspection authorities.
545. Under paragraph 5, if an inspectorate proposes an inspection that the Chief Inspector considers would impose an unreasonable burden on a "specified institution", he must give notice that it should not proceed or should not proceed in the manner proposed. "Specified institutions" will be listed by order but must be services the Chief Inspector inspects or regulates. Where such notice has been given, the proposed inspection activity is prevented from taking place or from taking place in the planned manner. However, should the Secretary of State subsequently be satisfied that the proposed inspection would not impose an unreasonable burden or would not do so if carried out in another way, it can proceed. In this way the Chief Inspector will be able to minimise the burdens on institutions for which he has responsibility. The other
public service inspectorates will be under similar duties for organisations or institutions they inspect or regulate.
546. Paragraph 6 enables the Chief Inspector to co-operate with the inspection authorities or another public authority. Paragraph 7 enables the Chief Inspector to act jointly with another public authority, and paragraph 8 enables him to provide advice or assistance to other public authorities. Paragraph 9 allows the Chief Inspector to make arrangements with a public authority to carry out inspections in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
547. Paragraph 10 enables the Chief Inspector, with the consent of the Secretary of State, to make charges for acting under paragraph 8 or 9.
Clause 136: Evidence of authority
548. Any person who is authorised to exercise a power of entry or inspection on behalf of the Chief Inspector (in accordance with paragraph 9 of Schedule 13 (the Chief Inspector and other inspectors etc.)) must, if required to do so, produce evidence of his authority to exercise the power.
Clause 137: Publication of inspection reports
549. This clause provides that, for the purposes of the law of defamation, a report made by the Chief Inspector under Part 8 of the Bill (inspections) or Part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (registration of establishments and agencies) is privileged unless shown to have been made with malice. Subsection (3) allows a report of the Chief Inspector to be published only by electronic means.
Clause 138: Combined reports
550. This clause allows the Chief Inspector (to the extent he considers it appropriate) to combine the reports of inspections carried out under two or more of his inspection functions, and to produce them as a combined report. This provision gives the Chief Inspectors and others responsible for making inspection reports the flexibility to merge two or more reports into a single report. For example, when acting under the Childcare Act 2006 (currently a Bill before Parliament) he may combine reports of inspections of compulsorily registered early years provision and of compulsorily registered later years provision, or where he carries out education and welfare inspections of an independent school. He can also make a combined report which includes a report made by another person.
Chapter 7 - Miscellaneous and supplementary
Clause 140: Payment of annual fee to the Chief Inspector by local authorities
551. This clause re-enacts provision that was formerly contained in section 51 of the Care Standards Act 2000. The Secretary of State may make regulations requiring a local authority in England to pay a fee to the Office in respect of its "relevant functions". This is intended to place the authority on the same footing as independent providers of such services. "Relevant functions" are defined in Part 3 of the Care
Standards Act 2000, as adoption and fostering functions. "Local authority in England" is defined in clause 128.
Clause 141: Removal of HMICA's duty to inspect performance of Assembly's functions relating to family proceedings
552. This clause removes the duty on HMICA to inspect and report on the carrying out of CAFCASS functions in Wales when requested by the National Assembly for Wales, by repealing section 38 of the Children Act 2004. It is expected that, in practice, the Social Services Inspectorate Wales will undertake inspections of CAFCASS functions in Wales.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2006||Prepared: 28 February 2006|