|Apprenticeships, Skills, Children And Learning Bill - continued||House of Commons|
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Clause 58: Provision of financial resources
157. Subsection (1) places a duty on the YPLA to secure the provision of financial resources to those who provide education and training to young persons covered by the new LEA duty imposed by section 15ZA of the Education Act 1996 (see clause 40), and also to LEAs themselves.
158. Under subsection (2), the YPLA must also secure the provision of financial resources as directed by the Secretary of State. This would, for example, allow the Secretary of State to require the YPLA to secure in future the provision of financial resources to a specific group of learners not covered in its duties or powers. However, this would not allow the Secretary of State to require the YPLA to secure the provision of financial resources to a particular person (for example, to provide a certain amount of money to a specific LEA) because of the prohibition in subsection (10).
159. In addition, subsection (3) empowers the YPLA to secure financial resources in respect of provision to learners of and under compulsory school age, and learners aged 19 and over (who have not had a learning difficulty assessment) who started their courses before they were 19. These powers will enable provision to be secured, for example, for:
160. Under subsection (4) the YPLA will have power to pay grants and allowances to learners of all ages. These powers enable the YPLA to secure, for example Care to Learn grants (which are provided to young people who begin their course or learning programme before their 20th birthday), Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) (provided to 16 to 18 year olds) and the Adult Learning Grant (a means tested grant provided to adults of all ages). Subsection (8) gives the YPLA the power to take account of fees, charges, and other matters such as the cost of travel or childcare when securing these grants.
161. Subsection (4) also gives the YPLA the power to secure the provision of financial resources for other purposes. This covers:
162. Subsection (7) provides that the YPLA may secure financial resources not only by providing them directly, but also by:
163. This clause enables the YPLA to set certain conditions on the financial resources it provides. The conditions are divided into three broad categories: information, operational and repayment.
164. Under subsection (3) information conditions may require:
165. Subsections (4) and (5) provide that operational conditions may require providers of education and training to make arrangements:
166. Under subsection (6) the YPLA may require repayment (which may be with interest) where the conditions subject to which the sums were paid were not complied with.
167. This clause enables the YPLA to:
168. This clause enables the YPLA to carry out, or to arrange for others to carry out on its behalf, tests against eligibility criteria (financial or otherwise) which may be taken into account when the YPLA is securing financial resources for those receiving, or proposing to receive, education and training under its powers in clause 58. This will enable the YPLA to administer grants or allowances to learners or prospective learners according to clearly defined criteria. For example, it will enable the YPLA to administer the Education Maintenance Allowance scheme to 16 to19 year olds.
169. This clause requires the YPLA to ensure, so far as is practicable, that no charge is made for education or training funded by the YPLA that is provided for young people over compulsory school age.
170. The Secretary of State may specify through regulations the circumstances under which charges are to be treated as made for the purposes of this section. These regulations could ensure that tuition fees would be prohibited for these learners, but may allow providers of education to apply fees where appropriate, such as in relation to the conditions of attendance to free examination entry, charges for equipment, and charges for learners from overseas. The YPLA would then be able to enforce this through the conditions it imposed on its funding.
171. This clause does not cover education provided at a school maintained by a local education authority, for example in a school sixth form, because these institutions are already required by law to provide free education.
Securing provision of education and training
172. Clause 63 gives the YPLA the power to commission education or training for persons aged 16 or over but under 19, or for learners aged 19 but under 25 for whom a learning difficulty assessment has been made. This power will enable the YPLA to secure provision directly, for example:
173. The circumstances under which the YPLA would be expected to exercise these powers will be set out by the Secretary of State in his remit letter to the YPLA.
Clause 64: Intervention for purpose of securing provision of education and training
174. Clause 64 gives the YPLA the power to make directions where it is satisfied that a local education authority is failing, or likely to fail, in its new duty under section 15ZA of the Education Act 1996 (clause 40) to secure enough suitable education and training for young people aged over compulsory school age but under 19, and those aged 19 or over but under 25 for whom a learning difficulty assessment has been conducted.
175. The directions may be for the purpose of ensuring that the LEA secure suitable education and training, or may require the LEA to permit specified action to allow the YPLA itself, or another body, to take on the local education authoritys functions on its behalf. The YPLA must consult the Secretary of State before giving a direction, and this direction may be enforced by mandatory order on application by the YPLA.
176. Clause 70 requires the YPLA to publish a statement that sets out the circumstances under which it will intervene and the nature of that intervention.
Clause 65: Provision of services
177. Clause 65 gives the YPLA the power to provide and receive payment for services to those persons or bodies listed in subsection (4) in connection with any of the recipients functions relating to education and training. Those listed include the Secretary of State, the Welsh Ministers, the Scottish Ministers, a Northern Ireland department, the Chief Executive of Skills Funding, any person wholly or partly funded from public funds who has functions in relation to education or training, and any other person specified by order made by the appropriate national authority.
178. Examples of these services could include:
179. For example, the YPLA would be able to use this power to provide shared services with the Chief Executive of Skills Funding, or the YPLA and Chief Executive could provide services on each others behalf for reasons of efficiency.
180. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, arrangements for such services will be made only with the consent of the respective devolved administrations. Separate consent will be required from each administration for each type of service. The YPLA will also need to obtain the consent of the Secretary of State before making arrangements to provide support services to a person or body operating in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
181. Both of these clauses allow the YPLA to take part in arrangements in relation to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for assisting persons to select, train for, obtain and retain employment. Consent of the Welsh and Scottish administrations will be required for arrangements made by the Secretary of State in relation to Wales and Scotland but this is not required in respect of Northern Ireland. The consent of the Secretary of State will be required for arrangements made by all the devolved administrations which involve the YPLA.
Clause 68: Research, information and advice
182. Clause 68 gives the YPLA the power to carry out research relating to any matter relevant to any of its functions. This is likely to include, for example, collating and analysing regional research and intelligence to support local education authority 14 to 19 partnership plans and 16 to18 commissioning plans.
183. It enables the Secretary of State to require the YPLA to provide information or advice, and gives the YPLA the power to provide information or advice to the Secretary of State, in relation to any of its functions.
184. The YPLA will have the power to provide information to any person designated by the Secretary of State. This will, for instance, enable the YPLA:
185. In order to carry out these functions, the YPLA must establish systems for collecting information which are designed to secure that YPLA decisions are made on a sound basis.
186. The YPLA may also secure facilities and services for providing information, advice or guidance about education, training or connected matters including employment.
187. Clause 69 requires the YPLA to issue guidance to local education authorities about the performance of their duties to secure that all young people in their area over compulsory school age but under 19, and persons aged 19 and over but under 25 for whom a learning difficulty assessment has been carried out, have access to enough suitable education and training provision to meet their reasonable needs. Local education authorities must have regard to this guidance. The main guidance to be issued under this power will be the National Commissioning Framework and Supporting Guidance, which will cover how local education authorities should work independently and together in sub-regional groupings to develop commissioning plans that will set out how they intend to secure education and training provision for learners within their area. The YPLA also has the power to issue guidance about other matters in respect of which it has a function.
188. The YPLA will be required to prepare and consult on a policy statement which sets out the detail of its policy on its powers of intervention. It will set out the triggers for, and the nature of, such interventions. Having considered representations made during consultation, the YPLA must send a copy of the final policy statement for approval by the Secretary of State, and then publish the approved statement. The YPLA must then have regard to the latest published statement when exercising its powers to intervene. Subsection (6) sets out the instances in which the YPLA has powers of intervention, which are under clause 64 of this Bill (YPLA powers to intervene for the purposes of securing appropriate education and training for young people); section 56H of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 and section 56I of that Act (inserted by Schedule 8 to this Bill) which concern powers to intervene in sixth form colleges.
189. The Secretary of State may by order (subject to the negative resolution procedure) give the YPLA supplementary functions that are both exercisable in relation to a function of the Secretary of State and relevant to the provision of education and training within the YPLAs remit. Education and training within the YPLAs remit is defined in clause 77. This could, for example, include conferring additional functions on the YPLA in relation to the provision of a new learner support grant for young people.
Clause 72: Directions by Secretary of State
190. This clause requires the YPLA to comply with directions from the Secretary of State. Directions under subsection (1) may set objectives that the YPLA should achieve in carrying out its functions and time limits within which they are to be achieved. They may also relate to the management of the YPLA.
191. Subsection (2) provides that if the Secretary of State considers that the YPLA has failed to carry out a statutory duty or has acted, or is proposing to act, unreasonably in carrying out its functions, a direction may be given which relates to the performance of the YPLAs functions, even where the YPLA has discretion in the exercise of its functions.
192. Under subsection (4) directions under this clause may not relate to the funding of activities carried on by particular individuals or bodies. For example, the Secretary of State could not require the YPLA to fund a particular provider to deliver a particular course in respect of a young person. This is to ensure that the YPLA has sole responsibility for individual funding decisions without influence from the Secretary of State.
193. This clause requires the YPLA, in performing its functions, to have regard to any guidance provided to it by the Secretary of State. That guidance may include provision about who the YPLA must consult, and from whom it must take advice, in connection with particular decisions.
Clause 74: Academy arrangements
194. This clause will enable the Secretary of State to require the YPLA to enter into arrangements with the Secretary of State, under which the YPLA may be required to carry out specified functions of the Secretary of State relating to Academies, city technology colleges (CTCs) and city colleges for the technology of the arts (CCTAs). Under the arrangements, the YPLA would carry out these functions on the Secretary of States behalf.
195. Several of the Secretary of States functions relating to these schools are functions arising under funding agreements entered into by the Secretary of State under section 482 of the Education Act 1996. This section makes provision for the setting up and running of schools known as Academies. Under a previous version of section 482 of the 1996 Act, provision was made for the setting up of CTCs and CCTAs.
196. Schedule 35A to the 1996 Act contains functions of the Secretary of State related to land and Academies. For instance, the Schedule allows the Secretary of State to require the transfer of land back from an Academy to an LEA, if the LEA provided it, at no cost should the school cease to be an Academy.
197. Under this clause the Government intends that, from September 2010, the YPLA may be required to provide, on the Secretary of States behalf, support to and performance management of, Academies, CTCs and CCTAs. The Secretary of State intends that under these arrangements the YPLA will work with only those Academies which are open (and since there can be no new CTCs or CCTAs, all schools in those categories are already open). For example, the YPLA may be required to carry out the following of the Secretary of States functions: calculating and paying grants; supervising budgets; managing specific cases concerning admissions, exclusions and special educational needs; monitoring, enforcing and terminating funding agreements; monitoring the standard of performance of pupils; managing school building work. The YPLA may be required to report to the Secretary of State in accordance with the arrangements.
198. This clause allows the Secretary of State to pay grants to the YPLA in order for the YPLA to carry out the functions specified in the arrangements. Subsection (2) allows the Secretary of State to make the payment of grant subject to conditions. For instance, the Secretary of State may require the YPLA to use the grant for a specific programme of improvement related to literacy and numeracy in Academies or to repay all or part of the grant if such a programme is not carried out.
199. This clause enables the persons listed in subsection (3) to provide information to each other in order to carry out a relevant function. Subsection (4) defines relevant function.
200. This clause does not affect other information sharing powers, or authorise disclosure of information that would have otherwise been prevented by legislation or any Act of Parliament. For instance, this means that any information sharing carried out under this clause must still be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
201. The White Paper Raising Expectations: enabling the system to deliver set out proposals to create a new system that would fund education and skills training for persons aged 19 or over (referred to in these Notes as post 19). A widespread consultation was undertaken on these proposals.
202. Part 4 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill describes the powers and duties of the Chief Executive of Skills Funding, referred to in these Notes as the Chief Executive. The Chief Executive will be responsible for funding post-19 education and training, for exercising the apprenticeships functions, including securing provision of apprenticeship places for suitably qualified young people aged 16-18; and for the education and training of those in adult custody.
203. The Government intends that the Chief Executive will be supported by a new Skills Funding Agency, which will administer the funding system, and make payments to colleges, training providers and others based on the course selections of learners and employers and on a set of entitlements to learning, advice and financial support. The Skills Funding Agency will also manage the new Adult Advancement and Careers Service (AACS), the National Apprenticeship Service and the Train to Gain service. The Train to Gain service is the set of skills services provided to business including public sector employers. Together with its role in funding colleges and providers, these services will provide advice and support on jobs, skills and funding.
204. The Skills Funding Agency will also oversee the development of the Further Education Sector, working with the aim of ensuring that the supply of learning provision meets the needs of learners and employers. This will include working with other agencies such as Jobcentre Plus to ensure those out of work or likely to be made redundant, receive an integrated employment and skills service, taking account of labour market needs.
205. The Skills Funding Agency is not defined in this Bill - instead the Government intends that it will operate through the powers and duties of the Chief Executive of Skills Funding, as described in Part 4 of the Bill. The detailed role and functions of the Skills Funding Agency will be set out in a Framework Document which will be issued by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will also provide the agency with an annual letter setting out its budget and performance targets for each forthcoming financial year.
206. Both the Chief Executive and the staff of the Skills Funding Agency will work within the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. The Chief Executive will be a civil servant and a member of the DIUS Board, and will be accountable to the Permanent Secretary and through him to Ministers.
207. The Bill provides the Secretary of State with powers to direct the Chief Executive in certain circumstances, but the responsibility for making decisions relating to the funding of particular individuals or bodies lies with the Chief Executive, not the Secretary of State, who is prohibited from giving directions to the Chief Executive in relation to individual funding decisions.
208. This clause provides for there to be a Chief Executive of Skills Funding who will be appointed by the Secretary of State and whose functions will be limited to England, except where the Chief Executive participates in arrangements with devolved administrations see clauses 103, 104 and 105 below.
209. Most provisions about the Chief Executive which could broadly be categorised as relating to the administration of the office are contained in Schedule 4 whereas the specific duties, powers and functions in relation to the provision of education and training are in the main body of the Bill.
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