Clause 16

Part of Further Education and Training Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 12th June 2007.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships) 12:45 pm, 12th June 2007

The Minister says that the Government are advancing self-regulation and, to draw attention to the specifics of this amendment, it is critically important that we are bold and brave about taking the necessary steps to ensure the kind of freedoms that I have described. It is not appropriate to maintain the level of bureaucracy. The Government have abolished one body and added another with a role in managing, regulating or controlling FE colleges during the hon. Gentleman’s tenure. I am not sure that shows the kind of determination that I want to see in respect of the Foster recommendations.

We need to be much bolder and braver about allowing for a system which is diverse, subject to much greater levels of local accountability and is less directly managed from the centre. If one follows through the combination of Leitch and Foster and moves to a demand-driven system with a heavy emphasis on local economic activity and need, with deregulated colleges we could have a system in which colleges were responsive and imaginative in the kind of partnerships that they form to deliver the skills agenda, to which this side of the Committee is committed and which the Government are grudgingly and hesitatingly following us towards.