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Lord Whitty: I shall speak mainly to the government amendments which deal with an issue slightly different from that raised by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas.

The amendments are straightforward. They deal with the power of governing bodies to transfer the control of their premises to a third party during school hours. That is covered by Amendments Nos. 155A to C. The Bill provides that the governing body of a community, foundation or voluntary school will have control of the premises both during and outside school hours and that the governing body of such a school may transfer to a third party control of the premises outside school hours. The governing body of a foundation or voluntary school may also transfer control of the premises during school hours. The Bill as drafted leaves uncertain the powers of the governing body of a community school to transfer control of the premises during school hours--for example, access to a theatre or whatever.

The amendments will make it clear that the governing body of a community school has the same powers as those which are enjoyed by foundation and voluntary schools: that is, the power to transfer control of the premises to a third party at any time while the premises are under the control of the governing body. Those amendments all deal with that issue.

We consider the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, to be unnecessary as it is already covered by existing legislation. As he says, a local authority has the power to give directions to the governing body of a school about the use of the premises, and the LEA may give such instructions as it sees fit. At present, the governing body may spend its budget share only for the purposes of the school; it may not subsidise non-school activities. If a governing body therefore is directed by the LEA to make the school premises available for non-school activities, under existing provisions the LEA must separately compensate the governing body or else ensure that the school is compensated directly by the user. That will include any additional expenditure on security mentioned by the noble Lord. Guidance is already given on that in existing departmental circulars.

Under the revised local management of schools framework, which we will be discussing, that basic position will remain. In addition, the Secretary of State will have a power under Clause 49(3) to prescribe other purposes for the expenditure of school budget shares. Regulations will allow conditions to be attached and those conditions may include a requirement that costs arising from non-school activities be taken into account in calculating school budgets. Therefore under existing provisions and under the proposed change under LMS which we will be debating on Thursday, we consider that those provisions together cover what the noble Lord intends by the amendment. In the light of that, I hope he will feel able to withdraw it.

Baroness Blatch: Perhaps I can ask one question of the noble Lord. What about the use of schools by

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organisation committees? My understanding is that local authorities could use schools to enable the committees to meet. How would they stand in relation to what the noble Lord has just said?

Lord Whitty: Local authorities using premises for their own non-school purposes would have to compensate the school for the cost of the access. I assume that the same applies to the use of those premises by the school organisation committee. However, I shall take further advice on this matter to ensure that I can give the correct answer. I assume that the same applies as at LEA meetings, but I am not entirely sure.

Lord Lucas: I am grateful for that explanation. I feel sure that the noble Lord will feel able to write to me and point out where these powers are in existing legislation so that I may review the full position in time to table an amendment at Report stage, if necessary. With that nod indicating assent, I have pleasure in withdrawing the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 155A to 155C:

Page 153, line 2, at beginning insert ("Subject to sub-paragraph (2),").
Page 153, line 3, after ("agreement") insert ("with any body or person").
Page 153, line 4, leave out ("school premises outside school hours") and insert ("whole or any part of the school premises").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 13, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 40 and 41 agreed to.

Lord Carter: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved, That the House do now resume.-- (Lord Carter.)

Baroness Blatch: I hope that the Chief Whip will forgive me, but I have another point which I forgot. Someone has changed the system for numbering amendments. I was told by the clerk to the Chief Whip this morning that that had happened. I do not know why that was. The Chief Whip's office apologised for it this morning. It caused confusion earlier when we were discussing amendments. The order is now askew and we do not understand the system. It would be helpful to know whether we can revert to the old system, but if we are to have a new system it would be helpful to have it explained to us.

I was quite surprised when my noble friend Lord Swinfen made remarks about the groupings. I am sorry, but these are important points when we come to the next stage of the Bill. I had my copy of the groupings at about 11 o'clock, but I cannot be precise: it may have been about twenty past eleven. It was always the practice when we were in government that not only both opposition Front Benches had the groupings, but anyone who had an amendment down in the Marshalled List

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was asked whether they would like copies. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Rix, and my noble friend Lord Swinfen did not see the groupings. It may well be that there were others who had tabled amendments. When suggested groupings are circulated it would be helpful for everyone who has tabled amendments to receive a copy.

Lord Carter: It is unusual to have a debate on the Motion that the House do now resume. I certainly

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undertake to investigate. I was told earlier this evening by the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, about the problem with the groupings. I shall investigate that and also the other points that the noble Baroness raised.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

        House adjourned at seventeen minutes before two o'clock.

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