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Baroness Blackstone: I did not intend to imply that the amendment moved by the noble Baroness was not in the right place. If I gave that impression I apologise. In answer to her question, "qualification" is defined in the legislation in the context of an external

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qualification. The term "qualification" has not been defined because it is difficult to sum up what it is in a few words. At its simplest, it is a report, certificate or other record specifying the attainment of the holder and intended to be used as evidence of that attainment. But that says nothing about what has actually been attained. A qualification could also be described as a recognition that a required standard of knowledge, skill, aptitude or capability has been demonstrated, but that says nothing about the conditions, systems and processes surrounding the demonstration of attainment and the assessment of moderation; for instance, pre-determined criteria to measure attainment to the appropriate level and to ensure that there is objective measurement to assure performance standards at the time and over time. All these things matter. Therefore, we shall continue to leave the term undefined in legislation and instead rely on the quality assurance measures taken by the QCA for accreditation to determine the nature of qualifications. I thought that I should add that, although I am not sure that it directly addresses the questions that the noble Baroness puts.

Under the existing arrangements the Secretary of State must approve qualifications of the kind that the noble Baroness listed. Although we are now abolishing the difference between vocational and non-vocational qualifications, from the point of view of the funding regime it will be necessary for approval to be given. I reassure the noble Baroness that there is no intention that courses of this kind will not continue to be funded; they will be.

Baroness Blatch: I do not know whether it is due to the lateness of the hour or that we are so far through the Bill that I have become muddled by the Minister's response. Sixty per cent of the courses stand outside the framework and are accredited by QCA. I am not sure whether that system is to be replaced and courses will come within a framework whereby they must all be approved by the Secretary of State. I know that it is the intention of the Government that there should not be any less education going on out there and that all the courses that people want to do, and which meet the skills need of local people, should be provided. While I am aware of the aspiration, I am concerned about what it means in practice. Which of these courses is likely to be vulnerable under the new system?

Baroness Blackstone: I can give the noble Baroness the assurance that the courses will not be vulnerable under the new system. They will not be subject to approval and they can otherwise fall within the scope of funding by the LSC. Therefore, Clause 86 does not apply to them and they can continue to be funded by the LSC.

Baroness Blatch: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Lord Addington moved Amendment No. 203:

    Page 38, line 15, at end insert--

("( ) Payment may also be made for the Open College Network course activity other than that leading to external qualifications in respect of--
(a) devising, administering, verifying or certifying the qualification;
(b) setting or moderating examinations for the purposes of qualifications;
(c) registering, assessing or examining candidates.").

The noble Lord said: This amendment is designed to extract from the Government an indication as to whether the workings of the national Open College Network courses are safe under the provisions of the Bill. Having listened to the Minister, I think that the answer is "yes". If the noble Baroness will confirm that, I shall happily withdraw the amendment. I beg to move.

Baroness Blackstone: I am happy to confirm that. I shall conclude on that note.

Lord Addington: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn

Clause 86 agreed to.

Clauses 87 to 92 agreed to.

Clause 93 [Qualifying accounts]:

Lord Roberts of Conwy moved Amendment No. 204:

    Page 40, line 32, at beginning insert--

("( ) In its application to Wales this section is to have effect as if references to the Secretary of State were to the National Assembly.").

The noble Lord said: In moving the amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 206, 208, 213, 219, 227, and 229 to 233.

Members of the Committee will have noted that Clause 94, which empowers the Secretary of State to make regulations authorising grants to individuals, applies to Wales. Subsection (7) enables that. A similar subsection at the end of Clause 110 deals with assessments relating to people with learning difficulties, but a raft of clauses around those two apply to England only. I am, frankly, mystified. In order to gain clarification, I have applied the enabling subsection to probe why those clauses do not apply to Wales.

Clause 93 relates to qualifying accounts held by an individual or an institution, and the conditions attached to such holdings which may be specified by the Secretary of State in regulations. Why cannot the National Assembly make such regulations in Wales? If it is necessary to empower the Secretary of State by primary legislation on the face of the Bill, why is it not necessary to empower the National Assembly similarly by primary legislation? Are the Government applying a different interpretation to primary legislation in England from in Wales? In other words, are the Government saying that what requires primary legislation in England does not require primary

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legislation in Wales; and that the same legislative requirement can be achieved by secondary legislation in Wales? If so, the definition of primary and secondary legislation, and the scope, need to be looked at afresh by legal and constitutional experts.

What I have said about Amendment No. 204 to Clause 93 applies to Amendment No. 206 to Clause 96. That clause enables the Secretary of State by order to establish a further education corporation. It does not apply to Wales. My amendment seeks to empower the National Assembly to take over the Secretary of State's powers should the need arise. We may not currently foresee such a need, but who can say that it will not arise in future?

The absence of a Welsh application of this clause contrasts with the clear application of Clause 98 and the rigours of Schedule 7 to Wales. I conclude that the prospect of the closure of sixth forms up and down the land is more imminent than the likelihood of establishing new further education corporations. I doubt whether the educational world has yet woken up to that.

Clause 97, about the designation of FE institutions for funding purposes, is not applicable to Wales. My Amendment No. 208 seeks to make the provision apply. Again, I should like a comment from the Minister.

Clauses 99, 100, 102, 103 and 108 come under the heading of support for 13 to 19 year-olds. None of those clauses applies to Wales. I have sought to amend each to enable them to be so applicable. They are important clauses relating to the provision of services to encourage, enable or assist effective participation by young people in education or training. Are these services not to be provided through the National Assembly for Wales?

Clause 100 provides for consultation with the authorities listed. Is such consultation not required by the National Assembly for Wales? What is the position of the local education authorities empowered in Clause 101? Welsh local authorities cannot take advantage of this clause because it refers back to Clause 99, which refers to England only. Clause 102, which I have also sought to apply to Wales, also refers back to the introductory Clause 99, so that educational institutions in Wales will not be obliged to provide information as the clause requires. My Amendment No. 227 seeks to deal with that situation.

I do not believe that it is the Government's intention to exclude young people and authorities in Wales from these arrangements; neither can it be right to leave matters to the Assembly and to let the Assembly duplicate these clauses in secondary legislation. That would be wasteful in time and effort. There are clear-cut issues here which involve people's rights. They are being resolved for England but not for Wales. I therefore submit that the Bill is totally inadequate as far as Wales is concerned.

Clause 103 deals with the inspection of services provided under Clause 99. I am again seeking to make it applicable to Wales. In doing so, I am, of course, showing the huge gaps in the Bill as far as proper

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legislative provision for Welsh needs is concerned. I find it difficult to understand the Government's thinking in this area. Are they deliberately encouraging differences to develop between the arrangements in England and in Wales or simply trusting that Wales will follow England's lead? Whatever the real explanation, I believe that they have got it wrong. They should look at the whole issue again before this Bill leaves Parliament.

I speak to my Amendments Nos. 232 and 233 to Clause 108. At the risk of being accused of tedious repetition, I reiterate that there should be a subsection to Clause 108 to ensure that careers services in Wales can be inspected as they will be in England. I believe that that covers the totality of the arrangements. I should certainly appreciate a comment from the Minister. I beg to move.

11.45 p.m.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: I have listened with interest to the points that have been rightly made by the noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Conwy. On each of these points, I await an explanation as to whether there is no intention to create primary legislation on these aspects for Welsh matters.

I make the point which I have made before, and which I shall continue to make, in relation to the subsection to which the noble Lord referred; namely, subsection (5) of Clause 110, which says:

    "In its application to Wales this section is to have effect as if references to the Secretary of State were to the National Assembly".

That is highly unsatisfactory. My belief is that it is wrong to try to reinterpret a clause by inserting the words "National Assembly". Subsection (1), for example, would read:

    "Subsection (2) applies if ... (b) the [National Assembly] believes that the person will leave school at the end of his last year of compulsory schooling".

It is a difficult enough concept that the Secretary of State should have a belief, but for the whole of the National Assembly to have a specific belief is an extremely difficult concept. I believe that the drafting of that clause, whatever may or may not be the merits of the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Conwy, should be looked at again.

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