Apprenticeships, Skills, Children And Learning Bill - continued          House of Lords

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Paragraph 17

532.     Paragraph 17 inserts into the 1997 Act a new section 32ZA containing power for the Welsh Ministers to co-operate or work jointly with a relevant authority in connection with carrying out their qualifications functions. A “relevant authority” is a person (whether or not in the UK) carrying out functions which are similar to the functions of the Welsh Ministers in relation to qualifications. The Welsh Ministers may provide information to such an authority, subject to any such disclosure not being in contravention of any other Act. The Welsh Ministers may establish joint committees where appropriate to do so for the carrying out of any of their qualifications functions and may delegate any of their qualifications functions to such a committee on such terms as they determine. The Welsh Ministers with any other person with whom they established the committee, may direct the committee as to what it may do.

533.     These powers taken together will enable the continued operation of the three-country framework, whereby the qualifications regulators in Wales, England and Northern Ireland work together on the regulation of qualifications across all three countries.

Paragraph 18

534.     Paragraph 18(2) makes a consequential amendment to section 32A of the 1997 Act to reflect the QCA’s regulatory functions being transferred to Ofqual. Paragraph 18(3) makes a consequential amendment to reflect the insertion of new sections by paragraph 19. Paragraph 18(4) removes subsection 32A(6) from the 1997 Act, which becomes superfluous.

Paragraph 19

535.     Paragraph 19 inserts new sections 32B and 32C into the 1997 Act. The new section 32B (which reflects the provision made for Ofqual by clause 146) provides that if an awarding body has not complied with a condition of recognition or accreditation, the Welsh Ministers may withdraw recognition in relation to some or all of the qualifications for which it is recognised. However, the Welsh Ministers may only do this if the awarding body’s breach of the condition seems likely to prejudice either the proper award of a qualification or a person expecting to be awarded with a qualification.

536.     Subsections (5) to (11) of the new section 32B set out the steps that the Welsh Ministers must take before withdrawing recognition or accreditation, including giving notice of their intention, taking account of representations from the awarding body, and putting in place arrangements for the review of decisions.

537.     The power for the Welsh Ministers to withdraw accreditation or recognition is currently implicit in the Education Act 1997 as amended by the Education and Skills Act 2008. The insertion of an express power in relation to recognition clarifies the scope and operation of what otherwise would have been implied powers and thereby provides greater transparency.

538.     New section 32C provides for a recognised awarding body to be able to surrender its recognition, in whole or in part. A recognised awarding body may give notice to the Welsh Ministers, who then determine the date the recognition is to cease. In setting that date the Welsh Ministers must have regard to the need to avoid prejudice to those seeking to obtain the qualification in question.

(5) Amendments to the provisions of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 governing eligibility for public funding for qualifications in maintained schools etc (paragraphs 26-29)

539.     Under sections 96 and 98 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000, the Secretary of State has the power to approve qualifications for which a course may be taught to persons aged under 19 in a maintained school or in a provider funded by the Learning and Skills Council. The amendments to that Act in paragraph 28 allow the Secretary of State to approve a qualification only if either the qualification is a “regulated qualification” in accordance with Part 7 of this Bill (and where the accreditation requirement applies, it is accredited), or if the Secretary of State consults Ofqual before approval. This ensures that, if the Secretary of State is considering granting approval for funding for a qualification which Ofqual does not regulate, he is aware of any views Ofqual has about the qualification. The change is part of implementing the Government’s new qualifications strategy for 14 to 19s 2. The amendments to section 96 in paragraph 27 bring the qualifications to which this approval regime applies into line with the qualifications in respect of which an awarding body may apply to be recognised by Ofqual.


540.     Paragraph 29 amends section 99 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000, which is the Welsh equivalent of section 98. The amendment provides that a qualification is automatically approved for the purposes of section 96 if it is awarded by a body which is recognised by the Welsh Ministers (and, if required, the qualification is accredited).

(6) Amendments to the provisions of the Education Act 2002 and the Childcare Act 2006 governing NC and Early Years Foundation Stage assessments (paragraphs 31 to 35 and 38 to 41)

Education Act 2002 and Childcare Act 2006

541.     Paragraphs 31 to 35 and 38 to 41 amend the provisions of the Education Act 2002 and the Childcare Act 2006 respectively relating to the NC, and in particular the NC assessment arrangements, and the EYFS learning and development requirements and the EYFS assessment arrangements. The changes primarily reflect the provisions of the Bill which establish Ofqual and provide for the QCA to become the QCDA.

542.     Section 87 of the 2002 Act makes provision for the NC to be set out in orders made by the Secretary of State. Paragraph 35 amends section 87 and in particular the provisions of that section relating to the Secretary of State’s powers to make orders specifying assessment arrangements. The amendments relate to the powers of the Secretary of State to confer functions on specified bodies, including the QCDA, and to delegate the making of supplementary provision to the QCDA and other persons.

543.     Section 87(9) of the 2002 Act currently states that provisions will be made to determine the extent to which the assessment arrangements achieve their purpose. Given that Ofqual is established to regulate assessments, section 87(9) is no longer required. Paragraph 35(4) therefore repeals this subsection.

544.     Similar changes are made to the provisions of the Childcare Act 2006 relating to the learning and development requirements of the EYFS. Paragraph 40 amends section 42(2) of the 2006 Act to include the QCDA and any other person with whom the Secretary of State has made arrangements in connection with assessment arrangements, as persons on whom functions may be conferred in an order specifying assessment arrangements for the learning and development requirements of the EYFS. That paragraph also enables the Secretary of State to delegate the making of supplementary provisions in relation to assessment arrangements.

545.     Section 42(4) of the 2006 Act states that provision will be made to determine the extent to which the assessment arrangements achieve their purpose. Given that Ofqual is established to regulate assessments, section 42(4) is no longer required. Paragraph 40(3) therefore repeals this subsection.

(7) Changes to procedures for exemptions from the National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage: Education Act 2002 and Childcare Act 2006 (paragraphs 36 and 42)

546.     Section 90 of the 2002 Act gives the Secretary of State the power to direct in respect of a particular maintained school or maintained nursery school that, for a specified period, the NC does not apply or applies with modifications. This is designed to support development work or experiments that will support learning. The amendment made by paragraph 36 establishes a reviewing body for these cases, which will be the QCDA or another person assigned by the Secretary of State. The amendments give the Secretary of State the power to require any such school or nursery to report to the reviewing body, or to require the reviewing body to keep the development or experiment work of any such school or nursery under review.

547.     Section 46 of the 2006 Act provides for regulations to be made allowing the Secretary of State to direct in respect of a particular early years provider or description of early years providers that, for a specified period, the EYFS does not apply or applies with modifications. Paragraph 42 of this Schedule amends section 46 to allow the regulations to include provision establishing a reviewing body for these cases, which will be the QCDA or another person assigned by the Secretary of State. The amendment will also allow the regulations to give the Secretary of State the power to impose conditions when making such a direction, or to require the reviewing body to keep the effects of the direction under review.

(8) Changes to streamline consultation relating to the National Curriculum: section 96 of the Education Act 2002 (paragraph 37)

548.     Paragraph 37 amends section 96 of the Education Act 2002 which makes provision about the procedure for making orders relating to the NC. The amendments make changes to the way in which persons must be notified of the proposed order or regulations.

549.     Under section 96(3), the QCA is required to give notice of the proposal. Notice must be given to any person with whom consultation appears desirable to the QCA. Paragraph 37(3) amends this provision so instead the QCDA is under a duty to publish notice of the proposal in a way that it considers likely to bring to the attention to those concerned with it.

550.     Under section 96(6) the Secretary of State is required to publish drafts of a proposed order or regulations and a statement explaining any failure to give effect to the recommendations of the QCA. Paragraph 37(6) and (7) removes the requirement for the Secretary of State to send copies of the above statement and proposed order or regulations to every person consulted by the QCDA. Instead, the Secretary of State is required to take steps to bring the documents to the attention of those consulted. This will enable documents to be published, for example on the internet, rather than being provided to each of the persons consulted by the QCDA.

PART 9: CHILDREN’S SERVICES

Co-operation to improve well-being of children

Clause 186: Arrangements to promote co-operation

551.     Section 10 of the Children Act 2004 (“the 2004 Act”) requires each children’s services authority to make arrangements to promote co-operation between the authority itself, its relevant partners and such other persons or bodies as it considers appropriate, to improve the well-being of children. These arrangements are commonly known as “Children’s Trusts”. This clause amends section 10 to include new “relevant partners” who must co-operate with the local authority in the making of arrangements under that section. It also allows those bodies more flexibility over how they share resources and pool funds.

552.     Subsection (2) amends section 10(4) of the 2004 Act to set out the additional “relevant partners”. The effect is to provide for an authority’s “relevant partners”, for the purposes of section 10 arrangements, to include the governing bodies of maintained schools and further education institutions (including sixth form colleges), and proprietors of non-maintained special schools, city technology colleges, city colleges for the technology of arts and Academies. The Government intends, also, to provide for pupil referral units to be “relevant partners” for the purposes of section 10 arrangements, by way of regulations to this effect under Schedule 1 to the Education Act 1996. The inclusion of the Secretary of State’s functions under section 2 of the Employment and Training Act 1973 refers to Jobcentre Plus. The objective behind the amendments is to give the new “relevant partners” a stronger voice within the arrangements made under section 10 to improve children’s well-being, greater influence over the local strategic direction taken, and better support from other partners.

553.     Subsection (3) amends section 10 of the 2004 Act to allow a children’s services authority and its relevant partners to provide staff and other resources to each other, to another local authority or to the relevant partners of another local authority for the purposes of arrangements made under section 10 (new section 10(5A)(a)).

554.     Subsection (3) also amends section 10 of the 2004 Act so as to permit children’s services authorities and their relevant partners, for the purposes of arrangements under section 10, to pay money into a pooled fund. This fund may be used by any of the contributors in respect of their functions. This will permit multiple local authorities and/or their relevant partners to pool funds for the purposes of section 10 arrangements.

555.     Subsection (4) repeals subsections (6) and (7) of section 10 of the 2004 Act as these are replaced with new subsection (5A).

556.     Subsection (5) inserts new subsections (10) and (11) in to section 10 of the 2004 Act. New subsection (10) will require a children’s services authority and the governing body of a further education institution (FEI) which lis spread over several sites to have regard to the Secretary of State’s guidance when determining of which authority the FEI will be a “relevant partner”.

557.     New subsection (11) defines key terms used in the amendments to section 10 of the 2004 Act.

Clause 187: Children’s Trust Boards

558.     This clause requires children’s services authorities, as part of the arrangements made under section 10 of the 2004 Act, to set up Children’s Trusts Boards (“CTBs”). The clause also transfers to CTBs the duty currently imposed on children’s services authorities to prepare and review a Children and Young People’s Plan (“CYPP”).

559.     Subsection (2) inserts new section 12A in to the 2004 Act. This new section requires each children’s services authority in England to establish a CTB for its area as part of the arrangements made under section 10 of the 2004 Act. The CTB must include representatives of the authority and of its “relevant partners”, unless they are “relevant partners” of a type prescribed in regulations (subject to the negative resolution procedure) as not needing to be included on the CTB (subsection (4) of new section 12A). The Government’s intention is that a description of relevant partner might be prescribed in regulations under subsection (4) if circumstances made it unlikely that they could easily take on the more strategic and involved role of member of a CTB. For example, a body that is more regional than local would not be well placed to be a member of all the CTBs its region covered. The CTB may also include other persons or bodies that the authority thinks appropriate following consultation with its relevant partners (subsection (3) of new section 12A). Subsection (5) of new section 12A allows one or more people to represent more than one CTB member or group of CTB members.

560.     The effect of subsection (1)(a) of new section 12B of the 2004 Act (inserted by subsection (2)) is that a CTB’s functions are those of preparing, publishing and reviewing the CYPP, and monitoring and reporting annually on the extent to which CTB members are acting in accordance with strategies for cooperation set out in the CYPP (see new sections 17 and 17A of the 2004 Act, as inserted by subsection (3)). New section 12B(1)(b) creates a power for the Secretary of State to confer further functions on CTBs by regulations subject to affirmative resolution.

561.     Subsection (2) of new section 12B of the 2004 Act requires that any function conferred by the Secretary of State under subsection (1)(b) must relate to improving the well-being of children and relevant young persons in the local area. “Well-being” in this context is defined in subsection (3) as well-being relating to one or more of the five Every Child Matters outcomes listed in section 10(2)(a) to (e) of the 2004 Act. Subsection (4) of new section 12B requires CTBs to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State relating to CTB procedures and the exercise of their functions.

562.     Subsection (5) of new section 12B defines “relevant young persons”, referring back to section 10 of the 2004 Act. The term “relevant young persons” includes people aged 18 and 19, care-leavers over the age of 19, and people over the age of 19 but under the age of 25 who have a learning difficulty within the meaning of section 13 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 and who are receiving services under that Act.

563.     New section 12C (inserted by subsection (2)) sets out the arrangements for the provision of funds and resources relating to the work of a CTB. It also allows two or more CTBs to pool funds for the purposes of their work.

564.     New section 12D requires the members of a CTB to provide information to the CTB, if requested to do so for the purpose of enabling or assisting the CTB to perform its functions.

565.     Subsection (3) replaces section 17 of the 2004 Act (which places responsibility for preparing and publishing a CYPP on a children’s services authority) with a new section 17 (which places responsibility for preparing and publishing a CYPP on a CTB), and adds a new section 17A (which makes provision about the implementation and monitoring of a CYPP).Subsection (1) of new section 17 provides a power for the Secretary of State, through regulations, to require a CTB to prepare and publish a CYPP. The CYPP must set out the CTB members’ strategy for co-operating with each other in order to improve the well-being of local children and young people (subsection (2)). The Government intends that regulations made under new section 17 will broadly mirror the structure of the regulations made under the existing section 17, and that the CYPP will continue to be the single strategic overarching plan for all local services for children and young people. However, the new regulations will apply to the whole CTB and not, as is currently the case, only to the local authority. The regulations will be subject to the negative resolution procedure.

566.     Subsection (3) of new section 17 defines “well-being” as relating to the five Every Child Matters outcomes as set out in section 10(2) of the 2004 Act:

  • physical and mental health and emotional well-being;

  • protection from harm and neglect;

  • education, training and recreation;

  • the contribution made by them to society;

  • social and economic well-being.

567.     Subsection (4) of new section 17 provides for regulations to cover the preparation, consultation, publication, review and revision of the CYPP. The regulations will cover matters to be dealt with in the plan and may additionally be used to require CTB members to set out their resourcing and budgetary commitments to meet the priorities of the plan. Under current CYPP regulations only the local authority must state how its budget will be used to contribute to improved outcomes.

568.     Subsection (5) of new section 17 ensures that the CYPP also covers those young people who are included in arrangements made under section 10 of the 2004 Act. These are persons aged 18 and 19, persons over 19 receiving services as care leavers under the Children Act 1989 and persons over 19 but under 25 who have a learning difficulty within the meaning of section 13 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 and who are receiving services under that Act.

569.     New section 17A of the 2004 Act introduces a new statutory requirement for the members of a CTB to “have regard” to the CYPP prepared by the CTB when they exercise their functions (subsection (2)). Currently, “relevant partners” under section 10 of the 2004 Act, for example PCTs and police authorities, are not required to have regard to the CYPP. Extending the duty to have regard to the CYPP brings the “relevant partners” represented on the CTB in line with maintained schools which under section 38 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 are already placed under a duty to “have regard” to the CYPP.

570.     Monitoring the CYPP will form an integral part of the CYPP’s development and implementation. Subsection (3) of new section 17A requires the CTB to monitor its members’ progress in implementing the CYPP and to prepare and publish as annual report on the extent to which CTB members have acted in accordance with the strategies set out in the CYPP. The Government intends to issue statutory guidance under new section 12B(4) to outline what processes should be undertaken in monitoring the plan following implementation.

571.     Subsection (4) amends subsection 18(2) of the 2004 Act to ensure that the new functions relating to CTBs and CYPPs are added to the list of functions of a Director of Children’s Services.

572.     Subsection (5) extends the meaning of the term “children’s services” used in sections 20-22 of the 2004 Act to include the functions and procedures of CTBs (including all functions in relation to the preparation and review of the CYPP, and CTB members’ compliance with the CYPP), the funding of CTBs and supply of information to CTBs. Sections 20-22 of the 2004 Act address the joint inspection of children’s services. By expanding the meaning of the term “children’s services”, this subsection ensures that the CTB-related activities listed may be inspected under an inspection of children’s services.

573.     Subsection (6) extends the list of relevant functions of a children’s services authority, for the purposes of section 50 of the 2004 Act, to include the funding of CTBs, the supply of information to CTBs and the need to have regard to the CYPP when exercising its functions. Section 50 addresses the powers of the Secretary of State to intervene in children’s services authorities. By expanding the list of functions, this subsection allows the Secretary of State to intervene in children’s services authorities in connection with their CTB and CYPP activities described above.

574.     Subsection (7) amends subsection 66(3) of the 2004 Act with the effect that any regulations produced under new section 12B(1)(b) (conferring further functions on CTBs) must be subject to Parliamentary approval by resolution.

575.     Subsection (8) adds to section 47A of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 to place a duty on schools forums to have regard to the CYPP produced by their local CTB.

576.     Subsection (9) amends section 21 of the Education Act 2002, which states that the governing bodies of maintained schools must have regard to their local area’s CYPP. This duty needs to be revised to reflect the fact that responsibility for preparing the CYPP is moving to the CTB. Governing bodies of maintained schools will be CTB partners and therefore under a duty to have regard to their local CYPP. However, should a governing body of a maintained school ever not be represented on its CTB, section 21 is amended so that the governing body must still have regard to the local CYPP.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children

Clause 188: Targets for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children

577.     Subsection (1) of clause 188 inserts a new section 9A into the 2004 Act, providing for the Secretary of State to set statutory targets for children’s services authorities in England for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, in accordance with regulations. Subsection (3) of the new section 9A requires a children’s services authority to exercise its functions in the manner best calculated to secure that any targets are met. The effect of the amendment at subsection (2) is that functions under the new section 9A are social services functions within the meaning of the Local Authorities Social Services Act 1970.

Clause 189: Local Safeguarding Children Boards: lay members

578.     Clause 189 amends sections 13 and 14 of the 2004 Act so as to require each Local Safeguarding Children Board in England to include two representatives of the local community. The amendments also permit an authority by which a Local Safeguarding Children Board is established to pay remuneration, allowances and expenses to these community representatives.

Clause 190: Local Safeguarding Children Boards: annual reports

579.     Clause 190 inserts a new section 14A into the 2004 Act, requiring each Local Safeguarding Children Board in England to produce and publish a report, at least once a year about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in its area. The Local Safeguarding Children Board must also send a copy of the report to the local Children’s Trust Board.

 
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