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Lord Addington: My Lords, I have heard a great deal in this debate. However, what it really comes down to is that the Government are saying that such a requirement is not needed because they intend to work terribly hard to try to get it right, as best they can. I do not doubt that. I suspect that no one wants such a scheme to go wrong, least of all the Government. The idea of laying the scheme before Parliament is a rod for any government's back, no matter what their colour, if something goes wrong. In that sense it is not party political.

If a government of a different colour--or, indeed, a combination of colours--happened to be sitting on the Benches opposite when the scheme was working well and such a requirement came through, they would have to support it. Indeed, how could they possibly risk that level of public humiliation? However, if those Benches were occupied by the present occupants, then in the event of it going wrong they would have to answer.

As regards quality assessment, what fails and what passes, one presumes, having heard the great list of the activities that the Government propose to carry out, that they will have a rough idea of what constitutes failure and what constitutes success. Therefore, that aspect of the matter does not count. The fundamental point is that we are discussing a new scheme: it is new, it is different and it is going down a new path. By indulging in such pilot schemes, the Government have accepted the fact that nothing is certain. For example, with a pilot scheme you are testing the ground and experimenting. However, the important point about experimentation and tests is that they go wrong occasionally. Indeed, sometimes you fail and experiments go wrong. All the amendment proposes is that a report of the scheme should be debated before Parliament. Surely there is nothing wrong with that suggestion. In the circumstances, I feel it necessary to test the opinion of the House.

13 May 1996 : Column 359

5.25 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 6) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 80; Not-Contents, 125.

Division No. 2


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Barnett, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Birk, B.
Borrie, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Diamond, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Falkender, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fisher of Rednal, B.
Gallacher, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller.]
Gregson, L.
Grey, E.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Healey, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howell, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Lockwood, B.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Nathan, L.
Nicol, B.
Perry of Walton, L.
Peston, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Richard, L.
Robson of Kiddington, B.
Seear, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Sempill, L.
Sewel, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tope, L. [Teller.]
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
White, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.


Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Ashbourne, L.
Balfour, E.
Balfour of Inchrye, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Berners, B.
Blaker, L.
Boardman, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Brookes, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Chelmsford, V.
Chesham, L. [Teller.]
Chorley, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Cochrane of Cults, L.
Cork and Orrery, E.
Courtown, E.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Cross, V.
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elibank, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Goold, L.
Goschen, V.
Granard, E.
Gray, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Henley, L.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Howe, E.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Johnston of Rockport, L.
Kimball, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Kintore, E.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Lawrence, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Leigh, L.
Lindsay, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lyell, L.
Lytton, E.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Middleton, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Mottistone, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Nelson, E.
Norrie, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Orr-Ewing, L.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pender, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Pym, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Rennell, L.
Renton, L.
Renwick, L.
Saint Albans, D.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stockton, E.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.
Sudeley, L.
Swansea, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Wharton, B.
Wise, L.
Young, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

13 May 1996 : Column 360

5.34 p.m.

Clause 24 [Grants: requirements]:

[Amendment No. 7 not moved.]

Clause 25 [Delegation of functions]:

[Amendment No. 8 not moved.]

Clause 26 [Disclosure of information]:

[Amendment No. 9 not moved.]

Clause 27 [Interpretation of Part II]:

[Amendment No. 10 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 11 not moved.]

Schedule 4 [Amendment of the School Boards (Scotland) Act 1988]:

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 12:

Page 29, line 11, at end insert--
("(cc) after paragraph 5 there shall be inserted the following paragraph--
"Conflict of interest
5A.--(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2) below, where, whether before or during any meeting of the appointment committee, any member of the appointment committee becomes aware that he or any person connected with him has (whether directly or indirectly)

13 May 1996 : Column 361

a material interest in or relating to any matter to be or being considered by the appointment committee, he shall declare such interest and withdraw from the meeting during such consideration and shall not vote on any question relating to the matter.
(2) Nothing in sub-paragraph (1) above shall--
(a) require a member of the appointment committee to declare an interest or withdraw; or
(b) prohibit him from voting,
in relation to any matter where his interest exists by reason only of his being the head teacher of the school or a parent of a pupil in attendance at the school.
(3) Section 346(2) of the Companies Act 1985 (meaning of "connected person") shall apply for the purpose of determining whether a person is connected with a member of the appointment committee as it applies for the purpose of determining whether a person is connected with a director of a company; and for such purpose references in that section to a director of a company shall be construed as if they were references to such a member.
(4) The validity of any proceedings of the appointment committee shall not be affected by any failure to comply with this paragraph."").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, during Committee stage an amendment was moved by the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove, and by the noble Lord, Lord Ewing of Kirkford, to extend the conflict of interest provisions set out in new Section 5A as inserted by Clause 30 to include an appointment committee set up under Schedule 2 to the School Boards (Scotland) Act 1988. I commend both noble Lords for their wisdom in bringing this matter to the attention of the House. I indicated that we were sympathetic to the intention behind the amendment and I undertook to bring forward a Government amendment to that effect at this stage. I reiterate my gratitude to the noble Lords for noting the importance of this issue.

Under Clause 30, board members and members of committees constituted by the board must declare any material interest they, or a person connected with them, have in relation to any matter being considered; they must withdraw from meetings where such a matter is under consideration; and they must not vote on any question relating to such a matter. These requirements also apply to any person entitled to attend and speak at board meetings by virtue of Section 5 of the 1988 Act. The only exception from the requirement to declare a material interest is an interest which arises solely from membership of the board as a parent or a staff member.

Where an education authority intends to appoint a head-teacher, a deputy head-teacher or an assistant head-teacher to a school, Schedule 2 requires the authority to set up an appointment committee comprising nominees of the education authority and the school board, where there is one. For posts below head-teacher, the appointment committee also includes the head-teacher.

An appointment committee is not constituted by the school board and as such is not caught by the provisions of new Section 5A(1), with the result that the conflict of interest provisions do not at present extend to appointment committees. This amendment would extend those provisions. It relates to Schedule 2 to the 1988 Act because that schedule contains the legislative provisions relating to appointment committees. The only exception

13 May 1996 : Column 362

from the requirement to declare a material interest is where such interest exists by reason only of being a head-teacher of the school or a parent of a pupil in attendance at the school. It is only necessary here to mention the head-teacher as other staff of the school cannot serve on an appointment committee.

At Committee stage an amendment to extend the new conflict of interest provisions to appointment committees was described as both important and sensible, both by myself and, I think, by the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael. I therefore commend this amendment to the House and hope that, with the interest that the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, has shown in this matter, it will be welcomed by all sides of the House. I beg to move.

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