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Baroness Blatch: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for such a detailed explanation of those arrangements. Perhaps I may ask some residual questions which arise from them.

First, the noble Baroness will understand that those members of staff throughout the country who work for TECs will be very anxious at this moment about precisely what the future holds for them and whether or not they will be in a job. The noble Baroness has given us a great deal of detail this evening, but it would be helpful to know what is the time-scale for them knowing whether or not there is a future for them with the new bodies and the time by which they will have some indication of where they stand.

Secondly, it is my understanding that TECs are predominantly made up of voluntary members. I am not sure of the arrangements for paying allowances and expenses of one sort or another. But my understanding is that the members of the national skills council will all be salaried. I am not the only person who was fairly shocked this week to learn that the salary for the RDA chairman for only two days per week was £44,500 rising to £66,000 for three days per week. That is even more than the salary for a Member of Parliament. It would be helpful to know what salary

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the Government have in mind for the chairman, the chief executive and other members of the national board.

Thirdly, is the noble Baroness in a position to say what budget has been set aside for the two standing committees: the young people's committee and the adult learning committee? They may be the forerunners of many others. What is the budget for paying those allowances as set out in the schedule, for the housing and servicing of those committees and for the logistics of keeping those committees in being?

Fourthly, there are to be 47 councils with more than a dozen members on each plus the members for the national council. That will involve a massive recruitment campaign. It would be helpful to know from the Minister when that campaign will start. The Minister has referred to chairmen and chief executives, but it will be a huge campaign. As I understand it, all the appointments will be subject to Nolan procedures. The applications must all be processed. We were told by one Minister in another department this week that the appointment of the latest replacement for Jennie Page at the Dome could not be subject to the Nolan procedures because it would take too long; that it would take about six months to complete the process. What is the time-scale envisaged by the Government to have all the members of each of those committees in place, ready to do their job, having completed the sifting of the applications, the recruitment, and compliance with the Nolan procedures for approving those appointments? Each and every appointment--not only of those on the boards of the local and national skills councils but also of every single member of staff who is to work for them--must be approved by the Secretary of State if one accepts what is written on the face of the Bill.

There are some other important points. The Minister explained in part the TUPE arrangements. I understand that the negotiations in relation to that are still ongoing. But at the end of the day, those in most immediate need of information are those who are presently working with and for the TECs who may be in or out of work as a result of these changes.

11 p.m.

Baroness Sharp of Guildford: I rise to endorse the statements made by the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, and to thank the Minister for the clarification given in the draft clauses about the transition arrangements.

I echo the concerns expressed about the position of people in the TECs. There is real concern among those employed by TECs as to where they will be. I urge the Minister to speed as much as possible the issuing of the requisite regulations so that people may know what their position will be.

Baroness Blackstone: I am grateful to both noble Baronesses for listing a number of questions. As regards the staff in the TECs, I entirely accept the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch. They are bound to be anxious about their future; that will

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always be the case when major changes of this sort are being made. She asked about the timescale. As I have said, we shall be publishing a timetable for handling transfers by the end of March, a copy of which I shall send to the noble Baroness. I hope that that will provide answers to many of the staff who may want to make a transfer under TUPE during the summer and early autumn.

Perhaps I may clarify another point raised by the noble Baroness. The staff of the council are not appointed by the Secretary of State, only the council members. With the exception of the chief executive of the national council, which will be an appointment made by the Secretary of State, the staff will be appointed by the councils.

Baroness Blatch: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for giving way. Schedule 1(5)(1)on page 56 states:

    "The Council may appoint such employees as it thinks fit".

However, subparagraph (3) states:

    "A determination under this paragraph requires the Secretary of State's approval".

Baroness Blackstone: The staff of the learning councils, whether national or local, will not be appointed by the Secretary of State but by the council members when established.

The noble Baroness also asked about salaries. The salaries of the successful candidates must obviously be commensurate with the extensive responsibilities they are likely to undertake and will vary a great deal. They will depend on the size of the LSC and the number of staff employed. However, we would expect the salaries of chief executives of the local learning and skills councils to range between £50,000 to £80,000. The members will be paid expenses but there is no present intention to pay them salaries.

The noble Baroness asked about the budget for the adult and young people's standing committees. That will be a matter for the LSC when established.

Baroness Blatch: Again, I am grateful to the Minister for giving way. Under the heading "Salaries, pensions, etc", Schedule 1(4) states:

    "The Council must pay in respect of its members such salaries and fees and such travelling, subsistence and other allowances as the Secretary of State may determine".

Baroness Blackstone: That is exactly right and is what I said. I said that this would be a matter for the Secretary of State to determine. I mentioned that expenses would be paid. We will pay salaries to national council members. I correct myself on that point. However, the amount has not yet been determined by the Secretary of State.

I turn to the budget for the standing committees. That will be a matter for the national LSC to determine.

The noble Baroness also referred to the issue of recruitment to the 47 councils. Of course, this will be a very onerous task. Again, plans are already in place for

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this recruitment. It will take place during the summer, through to the autumn. I hope that that answers the noble Baroness's question.

Baroness Blatch: I thank the Minister for that correction. However, could she now refer back to paragraph 5 of Schedule l, which appears under the heading of "Staff", and explain something to me? The paragraph reads as follows:

    "The Council may appoint such employees as it thinks fit ... A person is to be appointed as an employee of the Council on such terms (including terms as to remuneration and allowances) as the Council may determine ... A determination under this paragraph requires the Secretary of State's approval".

Can the noble Baroness tell me what that means?

Baroness Blackstone: The general terms and conditions of the employment policies of the LSC need approval by the Secretary of State, but not the individual staff who will be appointed. I hope that that explanation helps the noble Baroness.

We have not yet published or decided on some of the details on which the noble Baroness is now asking for information. However, we shall be publishing such details as soon as decisions have been made. I shall ensure that the noble Baroness receives the information that she has requested.

Baroness Blatch: I am partly grateful for that response. However, my understanding of paragraph 5 is as follows. Paragraph 5(1) says:

    "The Council may appoint such employees",

and paragraph 5(2) refers to remuneration, allowances and conditions. Subparagraph (3) says:

    "A determination under this paragraph requires the Secretary of State's approval".

Therefore, anything under subparagraph (3) requires the Secretary of State's approval, including the appointments, the conditions and the level of remuneration and allowances.

Baroness Blackstone: I have just said that this paragraph implies that the general terms and conditions of the employment policies of the LSC will need approval. It is not that the Secretary of State will give approval to the appointment of the individual staff. I hope that that clarifies the position.

Baroness Blatch: It is just symptomatic of the drafting of the Bill. I shall not take this matter any further, but there are many questions begging about the drafting here. There is some concern about the appointment of 5,000 staff who will have to undergo the Nolan procedures all in the space of the summer holiday months when most people are out of their offices in any event. In particular, it seems to me that it will be people from local authorities and public authorities who will be making applications--

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