Moved by Lord Watson of Invergowrie
11: Clause 1, page 2, line 21, leave out subsection (6) and insert—“(6) A “local skills improvement plan”, in relation to a specified area, means a plan which—(a) is developed by an employer representative body in partnership with local authorities, including the Mayoral Combined Authorities and further education providers for the specified area, (b) draws on the views of—(i) employers operating within the specified area,(ii) regional and local authorities , including the Mayoral Combined Authorities, within the specified area with specific reference to published plans and strategies which have been developed by these authorities to inform the distribution of funding and prioritisation of resources,(iii) post-16 education providers active in the specified area, including schools, further education institutions, community learning providers, specialist designated institutions and universities,such sources of information on long-term national skills needs as the Secretary of State may specify, and any other evidence, to summarise the skills, capabilities or expertise that are, or may in the future be, required by people resident in the specified area, and(c) identifies actions that relevant providers and other local bodies can take regarding any post-16 technical education or training that they provide so as to address the requirements mentioned in paragraph (b).”Member’s explanatory statementThis amendment would provide for employer representative boards to develop local skills improvement plans in partnership with local authorities, including the Mayoral Combined Authorities, and local further education providers to ensure that they reflect the needs of learners, residents and employers. LSIPs must also consider social and economic development strategies in the local area and long-term national needs which may not apply to local employers.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for her comprehensive responses. It is clear that she has quickly got up to speed on the Bill. However, she said—I think I am quoting her accurately—that local skills improvement plans will not be effective without the involvement of local authorities and mayoral combined authorities, which is essentially what Amendment 11 is about. She went on to say that it can be covered by guidance, which is of course more flexible than primary legislation. I get that point, but in this case I do not really think that it applies.
Proposed new paragraph (a) in the amendment specifically mentions
“local authorities, including the Mayoral Combined Authorities and further education providers”.
It is not likely that any of them will change: there will always be local authorities and FE providers. I do not know about mayoral combined authorities. They have been invented, so they can be dis-invented, but I do not think that is going to happen any time soon. That argument does not serve the Minister well on this occasion.
This is the third time—at Second Reading, in Committee and now on Report—that we have discussed this issue. A lot of noble Lords have indicated their support at each stage. We have a new Minister but I am afraid that we still have the old argument. For that reason, it is time that noble Lords have a chance to express an opinion. I therefore wish to test the opinion of the House on this matter.
Ayes 193, Noes 186.