Education Bill

MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED BY DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION AND THE DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND SKILLS TO THE PUBLIC BILL COMMITTEE ON CLAUSE 66 (E 99)

Reference: EBCC/2011/Note 16

1. To aid the Committee’s consideration of the Education Bill, this note provides further information on the delegated power in Clause 66. It is submitted jointly by two Government departments as the responsibility for the Apprenticeship programme to which Clause 66 applies is shared across the Departments for Education, and for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Policy background

2. Apprenticeships are the Government’s flagship skills programme. Employers are at the heart of the Apprenticeship programme, with over 85,000 currently employing an apprentice. By creating more Apprenticeship opportunities, raising the status of the Apprenticeship programme and making it easier for an employer to take on an apprentice, the programme is increasingly tailored to the needs and aspirations of employers and apprentices.

3. Section 6 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (ASCLA 2009), due to be commenced on 6th April 2011, provides that the Chief Executive of Skills Funding is the English certifying authority for apprenticeships. It is the intention that from this point, the Chief Executive will delegate this power under section 82, so the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils will act as the certifying authority. Clause 66 replaces section 6 and provides that the certifying authority for apprenticeships in England will be the person designated for that purpose by the Secretary of State.

Delegated power

4. Section 6(1) gives the Secretary of State the power to designate the certifying authority for Apprenticeship certificates. The Secretary of State will designate this responsibility to a single body per sector, as is the case at present. In most cases this will be the appropriate Sector Skill Council (SSC), although in some instances, such as cross-cutting sectoral areas where there is not clear SSC responsibility, this will be another body. SSCs are independent, employer-led, UK–wide organisations designed to build a skills system that is driven by employer demand. There are currently 23 SSCs in operation.

5. The body designated to issue Apprenticeship certificates for a sector will be required to comply with any directions issued by the Secretary of State; and to have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State. We anticipate that this guidance will include:

§ instructions on timeliness of issuing certificates, recommending a maximum of ten days for the designated authority to issue a certificate;

§ details which are to be included on an Apprenticeship certificate, such as the framework, level and sector, which will ensure a level of consistency in the branding of certificates; and

§ what evidence is expected to demonstrate that the completion conditions have been met before a certificate can be produced and set out what user support systems should be in place.

6. The guidelines will also cover when a fee can be charged.

7. The effect of this clause will be twofold: by designating a SSC or other sector body the role of employers will be reinforced in the system, and by requiring these designated bodies to comply with directions and guidance issued by the Secretary of State we will still maintain a high-level, consistent and recognisable branding on certificates.

8. It is intended that the Secretary of State will designate SSCs and other sectoral bodies to issue Apprenticeship certificates upon commencement of this section.

March 2011