Clause 12 - Qualifying complaints

Part of Higher Education Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 12th February 2004.

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Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Skills and Vocational Education) 10:15 am, 12th February 2004

Thank you, Mr. Gale. I shall follow your advice.

On amendments Nos. 248 and 249, what is so ironic about the visitor, whose current role in some universities is to deal with appeals against admissions decisions, is that in many circumstances, it is effectively a Minister—either the Lord Chancellor or the Lord President. We are further reducing the Government's capacity to intervene or interfere in admissions decisions by taking the visitor out of the dynamic in terms of the consideration of students' grievances about admissions decisions. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will see that as progress.

The Government have distanced themselves even more from interfering in admissions decisions and have not taken away a right that helps students. I believe that it is appropriate to remove the role of the visitor in that context. By doing so, we shall significantly reduce Government involvement in admissions decisions. I ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.