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Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, as I understand it, the authority from which the individual enters the youth justice system will be designated as their home authority. I suppose it is possible that a number of authorities could fight over the opportunity to be the home authority for a young person, but I do not think that has necessarily been a problem. I am very happy to look at this question and to come back to the noble Viscount in writing.
(a) information provided under section 562E by a local education authority as to the level of P's literacy and numeracy skills;
(b) any other information provided under section 562E by P's home authority (within the meaning of Chapter 5A of Part 10) for the purpose of assisting a determination such as is mentioned in subsection (5)."
(a) the provision makes special provision in relation to detained persons, or a description of detained persons,
(b) the application of the provision in relation to detained persons, or a description of detained persons, is excluded by provision made by this Act, or
(c) the provision has effect in relation to detained persons, or a description of detained persons, subject to modifications made by this Act."
(a) any information provided under section 562E by a local education authority as to the level of the person's literacy and numeracy skills;
(b) any other"
(2) The host authority must arrange for the level of the detained person's literacy and numeracy skills to be assessed as soon as reasonably practicable after the beginning of the period during which the person is detained in that accommodation.
(4) The "current level" of a detained person's literacy and numeracy skills is the level of those skills at the beginning of the period during which the person is detained in the relevant youth accommodation in question."
Lord Ramsbotham: My Lords, as always I am enormously grateful to the Minister for the care that she has taken in answering. I am particularly grateful for the offer that she made in her opening and closing statements to return to Amendments 51 and 52 at Third Reading, suggesting that she might be able to amend them. In a way, that takes some of the wind out of the sails of these things. The fact that she is prepared to do this demonstrates her realisation that all around this House is a sincere concern that we are in danger of passing legislation that would not do as well as it ought for those covered by the Bill.
The noble Baroness mentioned that a special educational needs assessment takes 16 weeks. I accept that and I hope that during the dialogue we can discuss the proven test done by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. This was trialled in young offender establishments for two years and, as I have said many times in the House, was reported by the University of Surrey. It has also been successfully repeated by the Probation Service in Leeds with people under intensive supervision orders. It is quick and effective and although it is not 100 per cent detailed-you will never get 100 per cent-it identifies all the problems that we are looking at under the heading of learning difficulties and learning disabilities. As far as the Auftragstaktik, I think it is essential to have in the Bill something on which the statutory guidance can be based. Let us have something simple and clear and the guidance flows from it.
Finally, I am enormously grateful that the guidance will be signed by the two Ministers because it is hugely important. We should remember that when we are talking about special educational needs and learning difficulties, a third ministry comes into it because the Department of Health is responsible for the speech and language therapists who have to carry out this
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Lord Elton: My Lords, the noble Baroness said that she was firmly committed to putting in guidance a requirement on the governor to co-operate in making it possible for the local and host authorities to discharge their functions. Those presently responsible for delivering the service appear all over the Bill, and I am not satisfied that the governor, who must make it possible, is merely the subject of guidance. I would like to test the opinion of the House.
In section 509AB(3) of the Education Act 1996 (provision of transport etc for persons of sixth form age in England: matters to which LEAs must have regard) after paragraph (b) insert-
"(ba) what they are required to do under section 15ZA(1) in relation to persons of sixth form age,"."
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, in moving government Amendment 62, I will also speak to government Amendments 63 to 66. As noble Lords will be aware, we are committed to ensuring that local post-16 transport arrangements work in the interests of young people and adult learners. I am grateful to noble Lords for their contribution to our work in this area and in particular to the noble Lord, Lord Low, who is in his place, and to colleagues at Skill for their assistance. I am pleased to say that we are bringing forward further amendments to address the issues, as we committed to do in Committee.
Government Amendment 65 will allow the Secretary of State to issue statutory guidance to cover not only the new transport policy statement for learners aged 19 to 24 with learning difficulties and disabilities introduced in proposed new Section 508G, but also the wider adult transport duty. Noble Lords will understand that we are already re-enacting the adult transport duty to bring this area of fragmented law together in one place in order to clarify for local authorities our expectations of them, which I hope is an example of the Government promoting simplicity. Statutory guidance will provide further detail to local authorities, helping
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At the Committee stage I also made a commitment to consider further how to make a link between the local authority commissioning duty in Clause 41 and the sixth form and adult transport duties so that local authorities do not consider their transport arrangements, particularly for those aged 19 to 24 with learning difficulties and disabilities, in isolation from their new responsibilities for commissioning education and training provision. It is about linking these provisions. We are moving government Amendments 62 and 63 to make these links. Government Amendments 64 and 66 are technical and consequential amendments. I hope that noble Lords will agree that these amendments address the concerns raised in Committee and will further improve the Bill. I beg to move.
Lord Low of Dalston: My Lords, I am happy to be in a position to assure the Minister that in discussing these amendments, we have entered somewhat calmer waters because they are a cause for celebration and something on which the Government deserve to be congratulated. As the House will be aware, necessary transport to enable learners with learning difficulties and disabilities aged over 19 and under 25 to attend a course for which they already have funding has been a vexed question for some time. Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, in which I declare my interest as president, argued for a duty to be placed on local education authorities to provide transport for disabled learners aged over 19 and under 25 who are pursuing a course of education or training at an institution of further education but who, on account of their disability, cannot use public transport or access private transport to attend the course.
We had already made considerable progress in Committee. Indeed, a correspondent wrote to me after our debate to say that, "It was great to read the Hansard of Monday's debate and see how far you'd got them to move on transport". I am not sure that I would have put it like that because the Government deserve as much credit as I do for the way that they have listened to the argument. He went on to describe the progress made as a classic example of how to secure effective change within the system, and we would all probably agree with that.
The good news does not end there. In Committee, as the Minister has said, we asked for a further small change to the wording of the transport duty in Clause 57 to align it with the general duty on local authorities in Clause 41 to provide enough suitable education and training to meet the reasonable needs of persons in their area of post-school age and under 19, or aged 19 to 25 in the case of those with learning difficulties and disabilities. We also asked for the production of guidance to support the duty and give advice on how to implement it. The amendments that the Minister has introduced deliver both these things, and the Government are to be congratulated on having moved so significantly and responded so comprehensively to the case that has
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It may be a small crumb of comfort to the Government in the face of the broadsides that other aspects of the Bill sustained before the dinner break, but, given what has been achieved with regard to transport for disabled people, I cannot do other than extend a warm welcome to the amendments.
Baroness Garden of Frognal: My Lords, in Committee we raised a number of concerns about transport policy that had been identified by the Association of Colleges. We fully support what the noble Lord, Lord Low, has just said; we are delighted that the Government have accepted the suggested amendment to ensure that students with disability have the same right of complaint about transport issues as 16 to 18 year-olds.
Concerns were voiced that the proposals seemed to link commissioning to transport, as the Minister has indicated, with the intention that local authorities, when drawing up their transport policies, would have regard to the provision that they had already commissioned. The concern was that in reality it would happen the other way round, so that when local authorities commissioned provision they would do so on the basis of transport availability and cost, which could have the effect of limiting student choice. In the Explanatory Notes there is mention of new Clause 15ZA(1), which refers to the duty to secure education. Will the Minister confirm that the measures also include factors such as location and times of that provision, and thereby confirm that student choice will not be curtailed as a result of these amendments? I thank her, though, for the amendments that the Government have brought forward.
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: I am grateful for the supportive comments from the noble Lord, Lord Low, and the noble Baroness, Lady Garden. I am particularly pleased to find myself in calmer waters. I am trying to think of more amusing after-dinner nautical analogies, but I am afraid that I cannot. I will work on that while I am listening to my noble friend take the next lot of debates.
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