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Written Statements

Friday 7 November 2014

Competition Appeal Tribunal and Competition Service: Triennial Review

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs (Jo Swinson) has today made the following Statement.

The Triennial Review of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) and the Competition Service (CS) commenced on 21 August 2013 and I am now pleased to announce the completion of the review.

The CAT was established by the Enterprise Act 2002, which came into force on 1 April 2003, to hear appeals against certain decisions of the UK competition authorities and economics regulators. It is a specialist body with cross-disciplinary expertise in law, economics, business and accountancy. The Enterprise Act 2002 also created the Competition Service: a body corporate and executive non-departmental public body whose purpose is to fund and provide administrative and legal support services to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

The review has concluded that the CAT has a vital role to play in determining regulatory and competition appeals, which have important consequences for the wider economy and the Government’s growth agenda, and should therefore remain as a specialist Tribunal NDPB.

The review also concludes that the functions performed by the Competition Service should be retained but should be merged with those of the CAT to form a single body, a specialist Tribunal NDPB with its own support functions. The merger should be taken forward as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Stage 2 of the review examined the governance arrangements for both the CAT and the CS to assess compliance with statutory accountabilities and confirm that appropriate governance arrangements were in place. The review concluded that overall compliance with recognised principles of good corporate governance was good and should be rated green. However, the review also identified a number of recommendations to improve how the governance functions will operate in the context of the new merged body.

The full report of the review of the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the Competition Service can be found on the gov.uk website and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Council for Science and Technology: Triennial Review

Statement

Thee Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister for Universities, Science and Cities (Greg Clark) has today made the following Statement.

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Commencement of the Triennial Review of the Council for Science & Technology (CST) was announced in Parliament through a Written Ministerial Statement on 15 April 2013 and I am now pleased to announce the completion of the review.

The Council for Science & Technology was established in 1993 in response to the Government White Paper Realising our potential: a strategy for science, engineering and technology. It replaced the Advisory Council on Science and Technology. It is an advisory non-departmental public body to the Prime Minister but, for administrative purposes, it is sponsored by BIS and was therefore included in the programme of triennial reviews undertaken by BIS.

The review concludes that the functions performed by the Council for Science & Technology are still required and that it should be retained as an advisory non-departmental public body. The review also examined the governance arrangements for the Council of Science & Technology in line with guidance on good corporate governance set out by the Cabinet Office. The review concluded that the council operates in line with the principles of good corporate governance for an organisation of its size, but there are a number of opportunities to improve it functions.

The full report of the review of the Council for Science & Technology can be found on the gov.uk website and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

GCSE and A-Level: Religious Studies

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): My honourable friend the Minister of State for School Reform (Nick Gibb) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In April this year, the Government announced that GCSEs and A-levels in religious studies, design and technology, drama, dance, music and physical education—and GCSEs in art and design, computer science and citizenship—would be reformed for first teaching in September 2016.

The department has already consulted on proposed subject content for art and design, computer science, dance, music and physical education, and is currently consulting on proposed subject content for drama, design and technology and cooking and nutrition. Today, we are publishing for consultation new subject content for religious studies. At the same time, Ofqual, the independent regulator of qualifications and examinations for England, will consult on the proposed assessment objectives for this subject.

These new qualifications are intended to provide students with the knowledge and understanding that will prepare them for further and higher education and future employment. In common with all our reformed GCSEs and A-levels, they will be high-quality, demanding and academically rigorous qualifications.

The revised content for religious studies GCSE and A-level is designed to provide students with a broader and deeper understanding of religion than previous specifications. For the first time, students studying

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the religious studies GCSE will be required to study two religions. As well as studying key scripture and religious texts, students will have the opportunity to learn about critiques of religion and other non-religious beliefs through the study of philosophy and ethics. In addition, it will be a requirement for students to be aware of the diverse range of religious and non-religious beliefs represented in this country and the fact that the religious traditions of Great Britain are, in the main, Christian.

For the thousands of church and faith schools in this country these reforms will enable them to build on their strong academic performance and the important role they play in their communities and wider society.

In future, all RS GCSE students will spend at least half their time engaging in an academically rigorous study of two religions. In all, students will have the option to spend up to three-quarters of their time studying one religion. These changes are an important part of ensuring the new GCSE is as broad and rigorously demanding as other GCSE subjects. In the same way that a well educated GCSE history student would be expected to learn about more than just British history, we expect well educated religious studies

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GCSE students to know about more than one religion. It will also help to prepare students for life in modern Britain, foster an awareness of other faiths and beliefs, and encourage tolerance and mutual respect—key British values that are non-negotiable and a vital part of a secure future for Britain.

At A-level, students will study at least one religion in depth through two of the following three areas of study: the systematic study of religion; textual studies; and philosophy, ethics and social scientific studies. These broadly reflect the main areas of study at higher education and will ensure that students have sufficient breadth and depth of understanding to support progression to higher education.

This consultation is an important part of the reform process enabling all those with an interest in this subject to provide their views. We will consider carefully all responses received in determining the final content. The consultation on reformed subject content for religious studies GCSE and A-level will be available today at https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/. Ofqual’s consultation on assessment arrangements will be available on its website at http://ofqual.gov.uk.