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Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, in considering this amendment, I should first like to reassure the House that we have already stated categorically in the regulatory appraisal published alongside the Bill that the impact of this legislation will be evaluated progressively over the two years following implementation. We shall also wish to look at the interaction between the provisions and the New Deal. At this stage I cannot give my noble friend details of the actual structure of the piece of research that will be undertaken, but I can assure her that it is important that we look at this interaction and we shall do so.
I can also confirm that the legislation will be implemented only as and when resources are available, and the costs and numbers of participants are expected to phase in. We are continuing to listen to the views of key partners, especially employers, but also local authorities, so that the legislation can be implemented in a way that is both sensible and flexible, and guidance can be given on best practice.
As this amendment is about the labour market, it may be helpful if I set out the wider context. Comprehensive data for the UK are not available, but the department estimates that there are over 350,000 16 and 17 year-olds in employment or on government supported work based training. Of these, around one-third have already achieved qualifications at level 2, around one-third are already working towards level 2, and around one-third are not receiving any training, or only training below level 2. This last group, totalling an estimated 115,000, is the primary focus of this legislation.
However, this amendment would require the Secretary of State to be in a position to lay a report before both Houses of Parliament 12 months after the introduction of this new employment right. There would of course be some information available from a variety of sources, but it might at that early stage be qualitative rather than quantitative, difficult to aggregate to give a true national picture, and possibly partial. If an evaluation study were to be commissioned to report by the due date, it would need to be in the field some six or nine months after implementation, and that would seem rather too early.
More importantly, many young people exercising their right to time off for study or training will not be able to show at this early stage any tangible outcome or benefit such as a qualification achieved, and it would be quite wrong to send any signal that might try to rush them. The full effect of this initiative will only be felt in the medium to long term, by improving young people's
As your Lordships will be aware, one of the key aims of this part of the Bill is to improve the long-term employability of young people and to give them those opportunities while they are young. My noble friend may be right that this could bring about some changes in the labour market, but such changes are unlikely to be substantively evident within 12 months of introduction. We need to allow time for both young people and employers to take full advantage of this new employment right, which will be implemented both sensibly and flexibly.
I hope that I have reassured both my noble friend and the House that there will be progressive evaluation arrangements as set out in the regulatory appraisal, and that the evaluation reports that are commissioned will be published. I hope that my noble friend will accept these reassurances and will be able to withdraw her amendment.
Baroness David: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that partially reassuring answer. I think it does convey that she is aware of the problem. The local authorities are anxious about this matter, because their social services departments have to pick up the tab if things do not go well. However, I should like to discuss this with the Local Government Association, which wanted this amendment put down, and hope that it will be satisfied with what the Minister said. I see that perhaps there is a problem in getting a response within one year that will be satisfactory and complete. But after my noble friend's reassurances I will, at any rate for the moment, withdraw the amendment.
Page 23, line 3, leave out ("section 16(5))") and insert ("the following provisions of this section)").
Page 23, line 5, at end insert--
("( ) Subsection (2) does not apply to the first regulations to be made--
(a) in relation to the General Teaching Council under section 1(3), or
(b) in relation to the General Teaching Council for Wales under section 1(3) as applied by an order under section 6(1),
and no such regulations shall be made (whether made alone or with other regulations) unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing the regulations has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.").
Page 23, line 5, at end insert--
("( ) Subsection (2) does not apply to the first regulations to be made under section 16; and no such regulations shall be made (whether made alone or with other regulations) unless a draft of the
( ) That subsection also does not apply to--
(a) any regulations in relation to which paragraph (b) of section 16(5) applies, or
(b) any other regulations under section 16 a draft of which has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.").
Page 23, line 13, at end insert--
("(6) Once the General Teaching Council or (as the case may be) the General Teaching Council for Wales have been established, the Secretary of State shall, before making regulations under Chapter I of Part I of this Act, consult the Council to which the regulations will relate.").