APPENDIX 1: APPRENTICESHIP, SKILLS, CHILDREN
AND LEARNING BILL GOVERNMENT RESPONSE |
Letter to the Chairman from Baroness Morgan of
Drefelin, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department
for Children, Schools and Families.
1. I am grateful to the Committee for their helpful
consideration of the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learners
Bill, set out in the Committee's Eighth Report published on 14
May 2009. I am writing to set out the government's response.
2. This clause requires the Secretary of State
to specify, by order, the apprenticeship sectors for the operation
of the apprenticeship provisions. In our submission to the Committee,
we explained that no Parliamentary scrutiny was considered necessary
as the intention is that the sectors will follow the Sector Skills
Council (SSC) footprints. However, the Committee could see no
reason why the first or any subsequent order might not depart
from the SSC footprints and recommended that the negative procedure
should apply to orders made under clause 37(1).
3. Although we do not intend to depart from the
SSC footprints, we accept the Committee's recommendation and will
table an amendment accordingly at the Committee stage of the Bill.
4. The Committee will recall that clause 39 amends
the Employment Rights Act 1996. It inserts a new Part 6A which
introduces a new right for qualifying employees to make a statutory
application to their employer in relation to study or training.
There are various delegated powers, all of which are subject to
the negative procedure.
5. The Committee identified four delegated powers
(at new sections 63D(2)(b), 63D(6)(a), 63D(7)(f) and 63F(7)(j))
which are of such significance that they should, in the Committee's
view, be subject to the affirmative procedure.
6. We are grateful to the Committee for their
analysis and recommendation, which we are happy to accept. Again,
we propose to table the necessary amendments during Committee.
7. The Committee has raised a helpful point with
regard to clause 75, which enables the Secretary of State to make
arrangements for the Young People's Learning Agency for England
(YPLA) to carry out certain functions on his behalf. The functions
relate to Academies, city technology colleges and city colleges
for the technology of the arts, and include functions under Schedule
35A of the Education Act 1996.
8. It is not our intention to delegate to the
YPLA the function of making, confirming or approving subordinate
legislation. We therefore propose to table an amendment to clause
75, which will exclude that function from the definition of "Academy
Clauses 224 and 226
9. These clauses relate to the School Support
Staff Negotiating Body (SSSNB). This new body will include members
who represent staff and employers. It will negotiate matters relating
to the pay and conditions of employment of school support staff.
10. Under clauses 224 and 226, the Secretary
of State is given the power to make orders ratifying an agreement
submitted to him by the SSSNB. As the Bill is currently drafted,
those orders are subject to the negative procedure. The Committee
suggested that, as the orders are of a purely administrative character,
it may be appropriate for them to be subject to a requirement
that they be laid before Parliament, but without any further Parliamentary
11. We are grateful to the Committee for this
suggestion. However, we have not taken it up, because we consider
that the current level of Parliamentary scrutiny will offer reassurance
to trade unions and employers interested in the work of the SSSNB.
12. This clause provides for pupil referral units
to be renamed "short stay schools". Clause 242(2) allows
the Secretary of State to make amendments to legislation, by order,
which are consequential on the change of name. We took the view
that, because such an order could amend primary legislation, it
should be subject to the affirmative procedure.
13. The Committee has suggested that because
the amendments would be purely consequential on the change of
name, it would be appropriate for the negative procedure to apply.
We are grateful for this recommendation, and we will table an
appropriate amendment to clause 254 at Committee.
14. Finally, the Committee raised a question
with regard to paragraph 40 of Schedule 12 to the Bill. This provision
amends section 42 of the Childcare Act 2006. Paragraph 40(5) substitutes
a new subsection (6). The new subsection relates to learning and
development orders, which specify assessment arrangements. Those
arrangements may authorise a person to make "delegated supplementary
provisions". The supplementary provisions are not part of
the learning and development order. The Committee expressed concern
that learning and development orders under section 42 of the 2006
Act are currently subject to the negative procedure, whereas the
new delegated supplementary provisions will not be subject to
any Parliamentary scrutiny at all.
15. Section 42(6) of the 2006 Act currently provides
that an order under that section may authorise the making of supplementary
provisions to give effect to the provisions within the order.
We would respectfully submit that such supplementary provisions
are not subject to Parliamentary scrutiny as things stand now.
It is our view that the amendment does not therefore alter the
16. An order made under section 42 as amended
by the Bill would continue to be subject to Parliamentary approval.
It is submitted, however, that it is not a good use of Parliament's
time to scrutinise the technical operational details of assessment
arrangements, which is what the supplementary provisions would
17. I will send to the Committee a copy of the
amendments when they are tabled. In the meantime, I am placing
a copy of this letter in the Library of the House.
Department for Children, Schools and Families