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Lords Amendment

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 6th November 2002.

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Photo of Lord Filkin Lord Filkin Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 9:45 pm, 6th November 2002

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord. Perhaps I may address that point first and return to the point raised by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel.

I sought to signal that a whole range of inspection processes gives us confidence that the educational provision and the care in centres will be of a high standard.

I turn briefly to the role of the LEA, which is germane to that question. First, the LEAs will have a role. We shall endeavour to encourage the local education authorities to put themselves forward as bidders to provide education in the centres. We know that a number of LEAs are keen to do so, either individually or in a consortium. We believe that there are great merits in that for all kinds of reasons, as the House will understand. It will be open to LEAs to do that as part of a wider LEA or local government consortium.

The Bill provides absolute clarity as regards the power of local authorities to provide such services in accommodation centres. But even in a situation where the education on site is not provided directly by the LEA, we want to encourage links between the accommodation centre and the LEA. Even at a basic level this can involve the exchange of guidance, best practice or facilitation of visits to a school.

As to Clause 32(3), if an assessment is made that a child's needs are better met outside the accommodation centre, the LEA has a responsibility to ensure educational provision outside the accommodation centre—which is as it should be.