Clause 22 - Roles of the Secretary of State and the National Assembly

Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 3rd April 2001.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of John Randall John Randall Opposition Whip (Commons)

I confess to being slightly confused. Subsection (8) states that the ``Appropriate authority'' is, for England, the Secretary of State and, for Wales, the National Assembly. The explanatory notes, however, state on pages 19-20 that the clause

``gives the Secretary of State or, as appropriate, the NAW the power to direct an LEA or school'' and then that it

``gives the Secretary of State the power to direct LEAs and schools in England and Wales''.

What is the reason for that difference? I am sure that it must be obvious, but I would be grateful for clarification.

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Employment) (Employment and Equal Opportunities)

I shall have to read the clause and the explanatory note. It may save the Committee's time if I respond in writing. On first reading, I do not understand the hon. Gentleman's problem, but may be able to help if he can explain it again.

Photo of John Randall John Randall Opposition Whip (Commons)

I am sorry for being obtuse; it was not deliberate. It seems to me that the Secretary of State deals with matters regarding England and the National Assembly for Wales deals with matters in regard to Wales. The explanatory notes, however, seem to give the Secretary of State the power to direct LEAs and schools in both England and Wales.

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Employment) (Employment and Equal Opportunities)

I may be able to help. There are two different powers: the planning duty is a matter for the Secretary of State for Education and Employment and for the National Assembly of Wales; a failure to comply with a tribunal decision is a matter for the Secretary of State only. I hope that that assists the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Tim Boswell Tim Boswell Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Education and Employment)

I think that that was exactly the point made by the hon. Member for Bridgend. One is a reserved matter, and one devolved, and that is why there is a difference in the explanatory notes. However, the Minister may still want to give the matter more leisurely consideration.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 22 ordered to stand part of the Bill.