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I believe that the Bill should contain such a power. I believe that there is a case for early intervention. I believe it is right that additional governors should be appointed. I agree with all the reasons given by the noble Baroness as a rationale. I did not disagree with any of that, and indeed I said so, not just the first time, but the second time I spoke to amendments concerning this provision.
My point is that the Bill as presently drafted does not give any of those reasons why the power should be used. There is no subsection stating how the power should be used or under what conditions. If the power is for use where there are existing and/or potential troubles brewing in the management of a further education college, Clause 11 should contain a subsection to the effect that the power is not totally open-ended and unconstrained, but is there for a reason. I do not argue with any of the reasons given by the noble Baroness in her rather long exposition. She
Philosophically, I have no objection; in practice, I have no objection. But this is an open-ended power on the face of the Bill. It will not reassure further education colleges which have enjoyed some autonomy, as the noble Baroness said. Where they are working well, we want that to continue. But there ought to be some attempt in the clause to set out how the powers would be used and what would trigger them. There should be some description of the process, even if it appeared in a schedule.
I want there to be no misunderstanding of how much I support the policy behind the clause. However, it should not remain in this form without proper qualification regarding the use of the power. If the noble Baroness has no more to say, I should like to test the opinion of the Committee.
The Deputy Chairman of Committees: As it appears that fewer than 30 Lords have voted, in accordance with Standing Order No. 57 I declare the Question not decided and, pursuant to the Standing Order, the House will now resume. House resumed.
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