Clause 5 - Unopposed Appeals

Part of Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 29th March 2001.

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Photo of Tim Boswell Tim Boswell Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Education and Employment) 2:00 pm, 29th March 2001

The Minister's statement has been helpful. It substantially repeats the Secretary of State's equally helpful statement on Second Reading, as well as reassurances that were given in another place.

It will, perhaps, not be possible to finalise some details concerning the specifications until the code is produced. However, every Committee member wishes, as far as possible, to clarify the matter. That is our common endeavour. We wish to ensure that situations do not arise in which local authorities are either wilfully vague or—to paraphrase the Minister's injudicious words—shut their eyes and face towards the possibility of receiving advice or of excluding entire categories of applicants or types of provision from a specification. The Committee has almost clarified that matter, and I do not wish to contest the clause.

I am sure that the provision for unopposed appeals will be helpful. However, I want the Minister to confirm that it is intended to address what I might term non-determination of a request for a statement. If an argument were to arise about the content of a statement, the matter would be considered by the tribunal, which might properly make recommendations that were not fully consistent with the wishes of either the parents or the local authority but might be their own choice. Have I understood that correctly?