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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the important point in the noble Lord's last remark is, "connected purposes". We are advised that "connected purposes" includes the provisions which we have in Amendment No. 116A, although I must confess that there was a time, before today, when it was thought that there might have to be an amendment to the Long Title. So his point is not entirely unperceptive.

I listened carefully to what the noble Lord said. I fear that his amendment has a rather different effect from what he intends. It is concerned with the Secretary of State's power under subsection (3) to set limits to items of centrally retained expenditure. I acknowledge straight away that that is entirely consistent with government Amendment No. 116A. Indeed, the noble Lord's amendment to subsection (3) presupposes our own interpretation of subsection (1). So perhaps we are together to that extent.

While I understand why the noble Lord has seen fit to table the amendment, the Government feel unable to accept it for reasons which I hope will be evident from my previous remarks. If the amendment were to be made, it is likely that a significant amount of corporate administrative expenditure would have to be regarded as falling outside the scope of subsection (3)--that part of

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subsection (3) which provides for the prescription of a class of expenditure for which limits may be specified--in other words, as he rightly says, capping.

To take that expenditure, which is not directly on schools, outside the capping procedure would be contrary to our aim of moving resources out of town halls and into classrooms. I hope that the noble Lord tabled his amendment, not because he appreciated that, but because he did not appreciate that. On reflection, I hope that he will feel able not to move it in due course.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 117 and 118:

Page 38, line 5, leave out (""aggregated") and insert (""individual").
Page 38, line 7, leave out ("general") and insert ("local").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 118A not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 119:

Page 38, line 12, leave out ("general") and insert ("local").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 119A not moved.]

Clause 47 [Determination of school's budget share]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 120:

Page 38, line 24, leave out ("aggregated") and insert ("individual").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 120A not moved.]

Clause 48 [LEAs' financial schemes]:

[Amendment No. 121 not moved.]

Schedule 14 [Local education authority schemes: approval, imposition and revision]:

Lord Tope moved Amendment No. 122:

Page 169, line 30, after ("guidance") insert ("subject to sub-paragraph (2A)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendments Nos. 122 and 123 refer again to the issue of guidance, which I introduced at rather greater length the day before yesterday. In doing so, I promised that I would not repeat the whole thing all over again each time we came to these amendments. The amendment is concerned principally with the issue of guidance. On this occasion, I look forward to hearing the Minister's response. I beg to move.

6.45 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I am afraid that my response will be the same as it was last time. I am grateful to the noble Lord for moving his amendment with such celerity. I will see whether I can cut down the arguments, although they are the same.

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This amendment would require a draft of the guidance to be issued by the Secretary of State in connection with schemes made under Clause 48, to be put before Parliament for approval prior to its coming into force and then, if approved, brought into force by order.

The noble Lord's Amendment No. 149 tackles the same point. Perhaps we can deal with that when we come to it even more quickly, because I think that we can deal with the point here.

Codes of practice are at a higher level than guidance. A code of practice, like the Highway Code, will generally set out a desired pattern of behaviour. It is therefore appropriate that when the Bill refers to codes of practice in Clauses 84 and 125 the preparation of those codes should be subject to a specific parliamentary procedure.

Guidance is at a lower level. It always has been. It is less prescriptive and may not cover such a wide area. It is intended to assist LEAs in carrying out their statutory functions. It is not appropriate that its preparation should be subject to a statutory procedure.

In the case of the guidance to be published in relation to plans for reducing infant class sizes, LMS schemes, education development plans and proposals for the establishment, alteration or discontinuance of schools, the main control is not the guidance but the need to secure the approval of the Secretary of State or, as the case may be, the school organisation committee. Approval can be withheld if the plan, scheme or proposal is not satisfactory. If an LEA has regard to guidance published by the Secretary of State then that will make it easier for approval to be obtained without delay. Guidance will also help to ensure a consistency of approach among LEAs and schools in areas such as home-school agreements and exclusions. I should not have cited home-school agreements, over which we are in disagreement.

The Secretary of State will, of course, always consult interested parties before publishing guidance as he is required to do by virtue of general principles of administrative law. The Government therefore consider that such a requirement is, quite simply, unnecessary. I remind the House that the first regulations which are to set out the main requirements as to what may be in those schemes will be subject to affirmative resolution. I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Tope: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his reply. I am a little disappointed. I had hoped that two good nights' sleep might have encouraged him to move a little more in our direction. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 123 not moved.]

Clause 49 [Maintained schools to have delegated budgets]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 124:

Page 40, line 27, leave out ("general") and insert ("local").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

2 Jul 1998 : Column 885

Schedule 15 [Suspension of financial delegation]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 125:

Page 171, line 10, leave out ("proposed").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 126:

Page 171, line 22, leave out ("given under sub-paragraph (2)").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 16 [Staffing of community, voluntary controlled and community special schools]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 127:

Page 173, line 3, at end insert--
("( ) registration,").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 128 and 131 to 136, 138 and 139. This is a bit of a mixed bag of amendments, although I believe that there is enough in common for us to save time by dealing with them together.

Amendments Nos. 127, 128, 131 to 133 and 139 ensure that the provisions governing the appointment and dismissal of teachers in Schedules 16 and 17 are consistent with existing legislation and with the Teaching and Higher Education Bill.

Amendment No. 127 in Schedule 16 and Amendment No. 132 in Schedule 17 ensure that employers will be obliged to take account of any requirement for a teacher to be registered with the general teaching council. The Government intend to introduce such a requirement for teachers at maintained schools under Clause 11 of the Teaching and Higher Education Bill.

Amendments Nos. 128 and 133 are technical amendments simply to improve the drafting. In case there is any suspicion, they have been proposed by parliamentary counsel without policy instruction from the department.

Amendments Nos. 131 and 139 ensure that a teacher can be dismissed swiftly and with minimum bureaucracy where his or her continued employment is no longer consistent with statute or regulations. They cover cases where a person has been barred for misconduct by the Secretary of State, made subject to a disciplinary order by the GTC or failed the induction year.

Amendment No. 134 is a drafting point. It ensures that consistent use is made of the word "approve" in the paragraph providing for the appointment of a head or deputy head teacher.

Amendments Nos. 135 and 136 ensure that, whenever a member of staff is suspended by either the governing body or the head teacher at a foundation or aided school, the governing body or the head teacher inform each other, and that on ending a suspension the governing body--only the governing body can end a suspension--inform the head teacher. This mirrors a similar arrangement for the governing body and head teacher of

2 Jul 1998 : Column 886

a community or voluntary controlled school keeping each other informed of any decisions they make on staff suspension.

With regard to Amendment No. 138, the Bill provides for the procedure to be followed before the governing body makes a decision that a person employed to work at a school should have his contract of employment terminated or, under certain circumstances, should not have the contract renewed. The Bill also provides that the governing body shall give effect to its decision by giving the person notice to terminate his contract or by terminating the contract without notice. This subparagraph is not apt where a fixed-term contract comes to an end and so the effect of Amendment No. 138 is to limit this subparagraph to cases where the decision is that a contract of employment should be terminated rather than a fixed-term contract coming to an end.

These government amendments will ensure that appropriate consistency is maintained in the staffing provisions for foundation and aided schools, and I therefore commend them to the House. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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