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Lord Bach moved Amendments Nos. 117 to 120:

    Page 21, line 22, leave out from ("remit") to ("as") in line 23.

    Page 21, line 24, at end insert--

("( ) The functions specified under subsection (4) or (5) may include functions with respect to training of or for teachers, lecturers, trainers or other persons engaged in the provision of education or training which falls within the Inspectorate's remit.").

    Page 21, line 27, leave out ("direct") and insert ("specify").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Tope moved Amendment No. 121:

    Page 21, line 27, at end insert--

("( ) The Inspectorate and the Chief Inspector must have regard to the assessment of needs included in the local learning and skills council's annual plan under section 22.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 121, which stands in my name and that of my noble friend Lady Sharp of Guildford, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 130. These are small, but I believe useful, amendments. Clause 22 requires local learning and skills councils to produce an annual plan, part of which must include the statement of needs in relation to the education and training of their local population. The purpose of the first amendment is to require the inspectorate and the chief inspector to have regard to that assessment of needs. Amendment No. 130 makes a similar provision with regard to area inspections to be carried out by the Chief Inspector of Schools.

As I said, these are small and simple amendments. However, if the plans are in place, the needs are stated and the requirements made, then it is right that the inspector, when carrying out that role, should have regard to them and should report on the extent to which they are being fulfilled. I beg to move.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, perhaps I may ask one small question. I am not in any way critical of the noble Lord who proposed the amendment, but I would have assumed that the inspectorate and the chief inspector naturally would have regard to the assessment included in the local learning and skills council's annual plan. I should be interested to know whether the noble Lord has any grounds for believing that they might not carry out that very obvious task. If he had such grounds, I would support him; if not, I do not believe that it would serve any useful purpose.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, as this is the Report stage, perhaps I shall allow the noble Lord, Lord Tope, to respond to that question when he rises. Amendments Nos. 121 and 130 relate to Clause 22 of the Bill, under which local learning and skills councils must prepare plans which assess the needs of the local area. These two amendments would link both the adult learning inspectorate and Ofsted closely to that process by requiring them to have regard to the assessment of a local area's needs and to inspect the implementation of the local LSC's plans. I do not believe that that would be a very good idea. I believe that it would blur the distinction between the roles of

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two quite independent bodies--the inspectorates on one hand and the LSC on the other. The inspectorates are not really planning organisations; they examine the whole area of the quality of provision made by learning providers.

Under Clause 22, the local LSC acts as a planning body to ensure that local provision matches the aspirations of local communities. Of course, as a matter of routine, good inspection will encompass a knowledge of local conditions and current trends, as I believe was implied by the question raised by the noble Lord, Lord Peyton. However, as I have said already, neither the adult learning inspectorate nor Ofsted is interested primarily in the process of planning. They should be independent, objective organisations which are interested in the outcomes achieved by education and training providers. During the course of an area inspection, where it is necessary to examine the effectiveness of the way in which the LSC has applied its resources, the Bill already contains the necessary provisions. For those reasons, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Tope, will understand why I cannot accept the amendments and that he will not press them.

Lord Tope: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister, not only for her reply to me but, in effect, for her reply to the noble Lord, Lord Peyton of Yeovil. I would have made the same assumption as did the noble Lord. As I believed she would, the Minister made clear to both of us that we would have been wrong in that assumption for the reasons that she has given. I am not entirely satisfied on this matter because I believe that the inspectors must have regard to the objectives and to whether they will be met. However, I shall not press the matter further today. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Sharp of Guildford moved Amendment No. 122:

    After Clause 53, insert the following new clause--


(" .--(1) The Chief Inspector of Adult Learning may, on his own initiative, conduct an inspection of--
(a) the quality and availability of a specified description of education or training, in a specified area of England, for persons who are aged 16 or over;
(b) the standards achieved by those receiving that education or training; and
(c) whether the financial resources made available to those providing that education and training are managed efficiently and used in a way which provides value for money.
(2) The Chief Inspector of Adult Learning must carry out such an inspection if asked to do so by the Secretary of State.
(3) If the Learning and Skills Council or a local education authority has applied financial resources in respect of education or training which is being inspected under this section, the inspection may extend to considering the manner in which the Council or that authority has applied those resources and whether they have been applied in a way which provides value for money.

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(4) The education or training that may be made the subject of an area inspection is any education or training within--
(a) the Adult Learning Inspectorate's remit; or
(b) the remit of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools for England.
(5) If, in connection with an area inspection, the Chief Inspector asks Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools for England for advice on a matter relating to education or training within his remit, he must give such advice as he considers likely to be appropriate for the purposes of the inspection.
(6) A person providing education or training which is the subject of an area inspection must provide the Chief Inspector with any information reasonably asked for by him in connection with the inspection.
(7) Any local education authority whose area, or part of whose area, is within the area which is the subject of an area inspection must provide the Chief Inspector with such information as the Chief Inspector may reasonably ask for in connection with the inspection.
(8) "Area inspection" means an inspection under this section.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 122, I wish to speak also to the amendments grouped with it. These provisions follow on directly from the arguments that I have already put forward in relation to the adult learning inspectorate. The aim of the amendments is to place on the chief inspector of adult education a responsibility analogous to that given to Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England: to initiate and to undertake area inspections which relate to his remit of inspecting further and higher education institutions in England.

Our reasons for tabling these amendments are similar to those that I have already put forward for extending the adult learning inspectorate's remit to cover all further and adult education institutions. As we have argued, the ethos and the mode of teaching in further and adult sectors differs significantly from that in schools. The factors which have shaped Ofsted's approach are wholly different from those which have shaped the approach of the FEFC and the Training Standards Council inspectorate. Ofsted has neither experience nor interest in adult education. Indeed, even though the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 gave Ofsted powers to make inspections of adult and community education, in the seven years between 1992 and 1998, only 12 such inspections took place.

When we raised these issues in Committee, the Minister made clear in her reply that Ofsted should be in the lead because of its wide experience gained from inspecting sixth forms and the database derived from that experience about the characteristics of effective sixth forms and level 3 qualifications. She said that Ofsted not only has the most extensive expertise in this area, it has the majority of the 16 to 18 remit under the Bill's provision. She said that Ofsted should lead, and that it would be ludicrous to cut it out of the equation and make its role a minor one.

Is that really so? The logic of our suggested reforms is that the new adult learning inspectorate should have the remit for all non-school, post-16 education. So much in that remit is non-A-level based that it makes

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just as much sense for ALI as for Ofsted to take the lead in the inspections. It has the expertise and the knowledge in that area.

Contrary to what the Minister said at the previous stage, there is no reason why Ofsted should automatically lead area inspections when they relate not to schools but to the community and further and adult education. As I said, Ofsted has had the remit in that area but has shown very little interest in that remit. It does not understand its ways or its ethos. By contrast, those who will form the core of the adult learning inspectorate, coming as they do from the Further Education Funding Council and the national Training Standards Council, have shown an interest and have the expertise. I beg to move.

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