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Baroness Sharp of Guildford: I rise to support the noble Baroness. I believe this is another occasion where the drafting is extremely sloppy. I am delighted to have the Minister's assurance that ALI will not only enter such premises only at a reasonable time but will do so in a reasonable way. Nevertheless, if it is for the purpose of carrying out its functions, that should be stated on the face of Bill rather than the provision being left vague and sweeping.

Lord Bach : I shall do my best to reply to the points raised by the noble Baronesses. There has recently been much reference in this Chamber to the term "reasonableness". The noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, will know that in public law a body with a statutory function must always act reasonably. If it does not, it is susceptible to judicial review and is in danger of being subject to court proceedings.

The person in this context is a legal person; that is, the college. The term is not intended to cover individual natural persons who work for the college. I hope those two points satisfy the understandable concerns raised by the noble Baronesses.

Baroness Blatch: No, I am afraid they do not. Subsection 2(a) refers to the college premises. It refers to:

That relates to the institution where the education takes place: the college, the workplace or wherever the education takes place. In addition to the right of entry to the college premises, subsection (2)(b) refers to the right of entry to the premises of the person providing the education. That can have only one meaning. If I am the lecturer and there is a right of entry, in statute, to the premises of the person providing the education, if the person means the college, that right is subsumed in subsection (2)(a). I simply do not understand the meaning of the wording in (b).

Lord Bach: Perhaps I may give the example I gave when addressing the Committee earlier. The effect of the amendment would be that, where a college maintains its records on a site separate from but perhaps adjacent to its classrooms, ALI would not have a right of entry to that site. We need to ensure that ALI has a right to enter a site which may not be used directly in the provision of education but where its records are maintained. That is why subsection (2)(b) is necessary.

Baroness Blatch: In that case, perhaps I may suggest that the wording should be,

    "premises other than that on which the education is directly provided but which are related to the provision of education".

15 Feb 2000 : Column 1178

When the subsection refers to,

    "a right of entry to premises of the person providing that education",

there is only one connotation that one can put on it. If I understand the noble Lord correctly, he is saying that there may well be information and data stored in an area that is not directly used for the provision of education, but which is, nevertheless, related to the provision of education. Therefore, the reference ought to be to premises other than those used directly for the provision of education but which hold information and data related to the provision of education. The paragraph should not speak of,

    "entry to the premises of the person providing that education".

I believe that to be sloppy wording. I hope that the Minister will agree that it needs to be reconsidered.

Lord Bach: For once, I have to say that I disagree with the noble Baroness. I think that the wording is fairly clear and I cannot agree to look at it again on this occasion.

Baroness Blatch: I wish to test the opinion of the Committee.

9.50 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 192) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 24; Not-Contents, 56.

Division No. 1


Astor of Hever, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dundee, E.
Fookes, B.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Hooper, B.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mancroft, L.
Montrose, D.
Moynihan, L.
Northesk, E.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Skelmersdale, L.
Tugendhat, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.


Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Blackstone, B.
Bragg, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Dearing, L.
Desai, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Gale, B.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Lipsey, L.
McCarthy, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Orme, L.
Patel, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thornton, B.
Whitaker, B.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

15 Feb 2000 : Column 1179

9.58 p.m.

[Amendment No. 193 not moved.]

Clause 54 agreed to.

Clauses 55 and 56 agreed to.

Clause 57 [The extended remit]:

[Amendments Nos. 194 and 195 not moved.]

Clause 57 agreed to.

Clause 58 agreed to.

Clause 59 [Inspection of further education institutions]:

On Question, Whether Clause 59 shall stand part of the Bill?

Baroness Sharp of Guildford: I have already spelt out in some detail why on these Benches we consider it ill advised to extend the remit of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England to include institutions in the further and continuing education sector. I do not want to repeat the arguments that I have already given.

We are of the view that the experience of education and training in this sector differs markedly from school-based experience. The experience of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England is wholly school based. His remit within that sector is already wide. Clause 59 would give Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England the residual (or "mopping up") responsibility of inspecting any institution in the further education sector which did not fall wholly within the responsibilities of the adult learning inspectorate.

Under our proposals, ALI's responsibilities would be widened to include all further and adult education establishments. Therefore, the residual role is, by definition, that of ALI rather than that of the Chief Inspector of Schools. Clause 59 is therefore, in our eyes, redundant and should not stand part of the Bill.

Baroness Blackstone: This clause places a duty on Her Majesty's chief inspector to secure the inspection of institutions within the FE sector, except where the responsibility is solely within the remit of the adult learning inspectorate. There are also provisions for reports of such inspections and for the writing and publication of action plans by providers, where an inspection report has been produced, which are analogous to those applying to ALI under Clause 51.

15 Feb 2000 : Column 1180

I understand why the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, opposes the clause: it runs counter to her alternative proposals, which were debated earlier, that ALI should be the only post-16 inspectorate. But that amendment was withdrawn and I am a little surprised that the arguments are being reopened. For the avoidance of doubt, let me again explain briefly why this clause must stand part of the Bill.

I have argued that two inspectorates will be better than one to cover the vast range of post-16 provision; that the common framework will add value by providing clear principles for the new regime, allowing all providers to know what the inspectorates are looking for; and that co-operation and collaboration will bring additional benefits.

Ofsted is integral to our proposals. As I have already said, it has a vast wealth of relevant experience in 16 to 18 provision through its work in school sixth forms. It would be wasteful and, indeed, irresponsible, to ignore that experience: the database of inspection evidence from every school; the way in which those data have been distilled into influential reports on what makes sixth-form provision effective; the reports on modular A-levels, and so on. All that expertise would go to waste.

Finally, Ofsted has substantial influence on standards in schools. It can have the same influence across the new remit set out in Clause 59. I therefore urge the noble Baroness to withdraw her opposition to the clause.

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