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These notes relate to the Lords Amendments to the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill, as brought from the House of Lords on 10 November 2009 [Bill 167]
APPRENTICESHIPS, SKILLS, CHILDREN AND LEARNING BILL
EXPLANATORY NOTES ON LORDS AMENDMENTS
1. These explanatory notes relate to the Lords Amendments to the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill, as brought from the House of Lords on 10 November 2009. They have been prepared by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in order to assist the reader of the Bill and the Lords Amendments and to help inform debate on the Lords Amendments. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.
2. These notes, like the Lords Amendments themselves, refer to HL Bill 42, the Bill as first printed for the Lords.
3. These notes need to be read in conjunction with the Lords Amendments and the text of the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the effect of the Lords Amendments.
4. All the Lords Amendments were in the name of the Ministers except for Amendments 89 and182, which were accepted by the Government. (In the following Commentary, an asterisk appears in the heading to each of the paragraphs dealing with non-Government amendments.)
Lord Amendments 1 to 7, 11, 15, 21, 26, 28 to 30, 32, 33, 39, 75, 76, 95 to 98, 111, 112, 161, 165, 166 and 169
5. Lords Amendment 1 would insert a new clause into the Bill setting out the circumstances in which a person completes an English apprenticeship in relation to an apprenticeship framework (defined in clause 10). The requirement is that the person Bill 167 -EN 54/4 meets the standard English completion conditions or the alternative English completion conditions. The standard completion conditions are set out in subsection (3). They require the person concerned to have entered into an apprenticeship agreement (see clauses 30 to 34) which, at the date on which it was entered into, related to a recognised English apprenticeship framework. The conditions also require the person, while working under the agreement, to have completed a course of training for the qualification identified by the framework in question as the competencies qualification, and to have met all the other requirements specified in the apprenticeship framework for the award of a certificate.
6. Subsection (4) modifies the effect of subsection (3) where a person has been party to a succession of apprenticeship agreements relating to the same framework while working towards the competencies qualification specified, or has taken two or more courses of training leading to the competencies qualification. The person can still be entitled to an apprenticeship certificate in these circumstances.
7. Subsections (5) and (6) enable regulations to be made which cater for circumstances where a person has not entered into an apprenticeship agreement but is working under alternative working arrangements. The power to make regulations might be exercised, for instance, give a self-employed person or someone working as an unwaged volunteer an entitlement to an apprenticeship certificate, provided they had met all the other requirements specified for the award of a certificate. Amendment 161 would require these regulations to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.
8. Amendment 2 would insert a new clause into the Bill making corresponding provision in respect of Welsh apprenticeships. Amendments 165 and 166 would make regulations under subsection (5) of this clause subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.
9. Amendments 11, 15, 21, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33 and 98 would be consequential on the fact that the new clauses inserted by Amendments 1 and 2 would require the qualification leading to the issue of the certificate to be identified by the framework in question as the competencies qualification rather than the principal qualification.
10. Amendments 3 to 7 are consequential on the new clauses that would be inserted by Amendments 1 and 2. They would require the English and Welsh certifying authorities respectively to issue an apprenticeship certificate to a person if it appeared to them that the person had completed an English (or Welsh) apprenticeship in relation to an English (or Welsh) apprenticeship framework. The new clauses that would be inserted by Amendments 1 and 2 would apply for this purpose.
11. Amendments 39, 75, 76, 95, 96, 97, 111, 112 and 169 would all be consequential on Amendments 1 and 2.
12. Amendments 8 and 12 would remove subsection (1)(a) from clauses 11 and 16. The effect would be that the Secretary of State would not be able to designate a person to issue apprenticeship frameworks generally.
13. These minor and technical amendments would make it clear that the English and Welsh issuing authorities may issue an apprenticeship framework only if the authorities are satisfied that the framework meets the relevant requirements specified by the English (or Welsh) specification of apprenticeship standards.
14. Amendments 16 and 17 would require the Chief Executive of Skills Funding, when preparing a draft of the specification of apprenticeship standards for England, to consult persons designated under clause 11 to issue apprenticeship frameworks, persons who appear to the Chief Executive to represent employers, further education institutions or training providers, persons specified in regulations, and other persons the Chief Executive thinks appropriate.
15. Amendments 18 and 23 would insert into clauses 25 and 29 a requirement the effect of which would be that an apprenticeship certificate could be issued to a person only if the person had received both on-the-job training and off-the-job-training.
16. Amendments 19 and 24 would introduce a requirement that the qualification or qualifications in respect of which an apprenticeship certificate is issued must demonstrate the relevant occupational competencies and the relevant technical knowledge.
17. Amendments 20 and 25 would require the qualification that demonstrates the relevant occupational competencies to be identified as the competencies qualification in relation to the framework. This is relevant for the purposes of the new clauses inserted by Amendments 1 and 2.
18. Amendments 22 and 27 would define the terms used in Amendments 18, 19, , 23 and 24.
19. Amendments 31 and 158 would replace clause 35 with a new clause requiring schools in England, when providing a programme of careers education, to include information on apprenticeships and education and training options available for 16 to 18 year olds.
20. These amendments would make minor and technical changes to remove a possible ambiguity as to which groups of young people are the subject of local authorities duties under clause 40 (Amendments 34 to 37 and 40) and the duties of the Chief Executive of Skills Funding under clause 84 (Amendments 77 and 78). Amendments 81, 82, 116 and 117 would be consequential on Amendments 77 and 78.
21. Amendments 38, 65, 79, 80 and 86 would remove requirements for local authorities, the Young Peoples Learning Agency for England (the YPLA) and the Chief Executive of Skills Funding, in making best use of their resources in the performance of particular functions, to avoid provision that might give rise to disproportionate expenditure. Amendment 38 would also remove the express requirement in clause 40 for local authorities to make best use of their resources, on the basis that this is unnecessary because local authorities are under a best value duty in relation to all their functions by virtue of section 3 of the Local Government Act 1999. Amendment 113 would require the Chief Executive to make best use of resources in the exercise of the functions conferred by clause 98. This is for consistency with other provisions of Part 4, which include provision to this effect.
22. Amendment 41 would require local authorities, before exercising their power under clause 43 to require the governing body of a further education college to take a particular student, to consult the governing body and any other persons the local authority thinks appropriate.
23. Amendment 42 would make a minor drafting correction so that the wording of paragraph (a) of the new section 17D(4) reflects that in the opening words of section 17D(4).
24. These amendments make minor drafting corrections in relation to the provisions applicable to detained persons.
25. Amendment 48 would insert a new section into the Education Act 1996. The effect of the new section would be to require the local authority in whose area a young person is detained (the host authority) to assess the detained persons literacy and numeracy skills as soon as reasonably practicable after the beginning of the period of detention in any particular accommodation. The authority is not required to conduct an assessment if satisfied that it already has evidence of the detained persons literacy and numeracy skills. For example, an assessment may have recently been carried out by a different authority.
26. Amendment 47 would amend section 562B of the Education Act 1996 so that, in determining what education and training should be provided to a detained person, the host authority must have regard to any information provided by a local authority as to the level of the persons literacy and numeracy skills.
27. Amendments 44 and 45 would amend clause 47 to make it clear that when providers of education and training to those subject to youth detention are determining what education and training an individual should receive they must have regard to information provided by a local authority about the level of the individuals literacy and numeracy skills.
28. New section 562A of the Education Act 1996 (inserted by clause 49) provides a power to prescribe modifications of the Education Acts in their application to children and young people who are detained. Amendment 46 would insert a new subsection to ensure that this power cannot be used to modify provisions of the Education Acts which already make specific provision in relation to detained persons (or which are already modified in their application, or excluded from applying, to detained persons).
29. Amendment 49 would insert new subsections into new section 562F of the Education Act 1996 (inserted by clause 49). The new subsections would apply where there were plans to release a detained person. They would require the host authority to provide the detained persons home local authority with any information it holds which relates to the person and may be relevant to the provision of education or training for the person on release. The information must be provided at such time as the host authority thinks reasonable for the purpose of enabling education and training to be provided to the person on release.
30. Amendment 56 would require local authorities, when developing their transport policy for young people aged 16 to 18, to have regard to what they are required to do under section 15ZA of the Education Act 1996 (see clause 40). This would have the effect of requiring local authorities to consider the education and training provision that is being commissioned for learners when developing their transport arrangements.
31. Amendment 60 would introduce a similar requirement to consider the education and training provision that is being commissioned for learners under section 15ZA, when local authorities are considering what transport arrangements are necessary for adult learners.
32. Amendment 62 would remove the requirement for local authorities to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State when preparing transport policy statements in respect of young adults subject to learning difficulty assessment. Amendment 63 would replace it with a wider provision, requiring local authorities to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State when preparing transport policy statements which relate to any young adults, irrespective of whether they are subject to learning difficulty assessment.
33. These amendments would make minor drafting corrections in relation to the transport provisions of the Bill.
34. Amendment 64 would introduce a new section into the Education Act 1996. The new section would give young adults subject to learning difficulty assessment (and their parents) a right to complain to a local authority about how it has carried out (or failed to carry out) its transport responsibilities in relation to them. The right corresponds to that introduced for those of sixth form age by the new section 509AE of the Education Act 1996 (see clause 54).
35. Subsection (1) of the new section would allow local authorities to revise transport policy statements to amend transport provision or financial assistance arrangements as a result of a complaint from a young adult subject to learning difficulty assessment (or their parent), if they think this necessary. Subsection (2) would require a local authority to amend their transport policy statement if the Secretary of State directs them to do so, as a result of such a complaint. Subsection (3) would state that a local authority who amend their statement following a complaint under this section must publish the revised statement as soon as practicable, along with a description of the changes. Under subsection (4) the Secretary of State would not need to consider whether to use direction making powers in response to a complaint unless it had already been brought to the attention of the local authority concerned and the local authority had had a reasonable opportunity to investigate and respond.
36. Amendments 59, 175 and 176 would be consequential on Amendment 64.
37. Lords Amendment 66 would make it clear that clause 63 prevents charging only for courses funded by the YPLA, and not for other courses delivered by the same providers.
38. Amendment 67 would require the YPLA, when exercising its commissioning powers under clause 64, to have regard to things done by local authorities in the performance of their new duties under section 15ZA of the Education Act 1996 (see clause 40) and section 18A of that Act (see clause 47). Amendment 74 would be consequential on Amendment 67.
39. Amendment 68 would require the YPLA to have the approval of the Secretary of State before giving a direction to a local authority under clause 65.
40. Amendment 69 would remove provision allowing a direction given by the YPLA under clause 65 to be enforced by a mandatory order, on the basis that it is unnecessary to include express provision to this effect.
41. Amendment 70 would require the YPLA to issue guidance to local authorities about the performance of their new duties under sections 15ZB (see clause 40) (duty to co-operate with each other) and 15ZC(1)(b) (see clause 41) (duty to encourage employers to participate in the provision of education and training).
42. Amendment 71 would require the YPLA to consult local authorities in England and any other persons it thought appropriate before issuing guidance under clause 70(1).
43. Amendment 72 would amend clause 75 so as to prevent the Secretary of State from making arrangements under which the YPLA can sign funding agreements or make subordinate legislation on his behalf. Amendment 73 would define subordinate legislation for this purpose.
44. Amendment 72 would also ensure that Academy arrangements under clause 75 include provision for a procedure for making complaints to the Secretary of State about the conduct of the YPLA under the arrangements.
45. These amendments would rename the apprenticeship scheme the apprenticeship offer.
46. Amendments 87 and 91 would provide the Secretary of State with a power to extend the entitlement to elect for the apprenticeship offer to prescribed groups under the age of 25. The Governments intention would be to use this power to confer entitlement on young people with disabilities who would not otherwise qualify.
47. Amendment 89 would make it clear that a person is, in certain circumstances, entitled to elect for the apprenticeship offer.
48. Amendment 104 would make it clear that the Chief Executive of Skills Funding can have regard to qualifications that are at a comparable or higher level to those specified by the Secretary of State in regulations that are made under clause 94(2) for the purposes of clause 93.
49. Amendment 105 would provide the Secretary of State with power to make regulations setting alternative criteria for qualifying for the apprenticeship offer for young people with learning difficulties. The Governments intention would be to use these regulations so that young people who might not be able to achieve five GCSEs including maths and English by virtue of a learning difficulty would be able to present an alternative portfolio of evidence to show that they were in a position to undertake an apprenticeship.
50. Amendments 106 and 107 would require the Secretary of State to consult Ofqual before forming an opinion for the purposes of clause 94(3) to (6) (the level of qualifications) or exercising the power under clause 94(8) to replace the qualifications referred to with different qualifications.
51. Amendment 114 would require the Chief Executive of Skills Funding to promote the desirability of those who are undertaking, or have completed, an apprenticeship at level 2 going on to undertake an apprenticeship at level 3.
52. Amendment 115 would require the Chief Executive of Skills Funding, when performing the functions of the office, to have regard to the needs of persons subject to adult detention who have learning difficulties.
53. Amendment 118 would require the Secretary of State to publish any direction given to the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) under clause 126(6) requiring Ofqual to have regard to a specified aspect of Government policy.
54. Amendment 119 would amend clause 133 so that Ofqual can cap the fees charged by an awarding body for a qualification only where this is necessary to ensure value for money. Ofqual would therefore only be able to use the fee capping power for the purpose of ensuring value for money, and not for example because of general concerns that fees were too high.
55. Amendment 120 would mean the review arrangements for decisions to cap fees under clause 133, which Ofqual is required to put in place, could not involve review by a member of Ofqual or of Ofquals staff or by any other body whose membership includes members of Ofqual or of Ofquals staff. The amendment would also require that the review be carried out by someone who appears to Ofqual to have skills likely to be relevant to decisions to impose fee capping conditions.
56. Amendment 121 would place a new duty on the Secretary of State to publish any fee capping guidance given to Ofqual under clause 133.
57. These amendments would replace the existing clause 138 with four new clauses which introduce a number of additional requirements and tests before minimum requirements can be specified by the Secretary of State. It remains the case that the Government would expect minimum requirements to be specified only where Ofqual and the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency have been unable to agree on particular qualifications criteria. Requirements can relate only to the knowledge, skills or understanding required to pass a qualification or a qualification of a given description.
58. In summary, under these amendments, the minimum requirements would have to relate to a qualification or each qualification of a given description that is or is likely to be eligible for use by those aged under 19 studying in publicly funded settings. It would also have to be necessary to specify the minimum requirements to ensure that the content of the course leading to the qualification (or every qualification of a given description) is appropriate for those of an age likely to be taking the qualification. The Secretary of State would be required to consult, including with Ofqual, before specifying minimum requirements, and the minimum requirements would then be implemented through an order which is subject to a vote in both Houses of Parliament. There would be a further ongoing safeguard: Ofqual would not be bound to implement the minimum requirements if so doing would mean that the level of attainment indicated by the qualification would no longer be consistent with that of comparable qualifications.
59. Amendment 122 would insert a new clause which reproduces some of the provisions in the existing clause 138, with additional restrictions on when the Secretary of State can use the power. By virtue of subsection (3) minimum requirements can only be specified in respect of qualifications that are, or are likely to be, delivered in maintained schools or by other publicly funded institutions to those aged under 19.
60. Subsection (2) would prevent the Secretary of State from specifying minimum requirements unless it was necessary to do so to ensure that the content of the course leading to such a qualification was appropriate for pupils of the age at which the qualification is likely to be taken. For example, it would be legitimate for the Secretary of State to specify minimum requirements for a Level 3 Diploma if he/she considered it necessary that those studying for such a qualification (typically those aged 16 to 18) required a minimum knowledge of functional skills (core skills in English, maths and ICT), and Ofqual was proposing criteria which did not deliver that.
61. Amendment 123 would insert a new clause requiring the Secretary of State to consult Ofqual and such others as he/she considers appropriate before specifying minimum requirements, and to publish a document for that purpose explaining and justifying the minimum requirements considered to be needed.
62. Amendment 124 would insert a new clause, reproducing parts of the current clause 138 together with a new provision allowing Ofqual not to implement the minimum requirements if it would mean that the level of attainment (in terms of depth) indicated by the qualification was affected - in other words if the qualification was no longer consistent with comparable qualifications.
63. Amendment 125 would insert a new clause, conferring express power to revoke or amend an order specifying minimum requirements in certain circumstances and providing that the pre-conditions for making an order specifying minimum requirements do not apply to an order revoking such an order or removing a description of qualification from the ambit of such an order.
64. Amendments 129 and 131 are consequential on Amendments 122 to 124. Amendments 132 and 133 correct a minor drafting defect.
65. Amendments 159, 162 and 164 would require minimum requirements to be specified or amended through an order subject to affirmative resolution. Orders revoking minimum requirements, including where the qualification is no longer approved for funding, would only need to be laid before Parliament.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2009||Prepared: 11 November 2009|