New Clause 7

Part of Further Education and Training Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:46 am on 14th June 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships) 9:46 am, 14th June 2007

I would be delighted to do so, but I did not want to tire the Committee unduly. I have a list; it is in the report. It comes immediately after the reference to the “galaxy of oversight”. When speaking of a galaxy, Sir Andrew Foster mentions awarding bodies, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the Institute for Learning, Lifelong Learning UK, the Centre for Excellence in Leadership, the Learning and Skills Development Agency and the Quality Improvement Agency, local learning and skills councils, the standards unit of the DFES, sector skills councils, regional development agencies, local authorities, Jobcentre Plus, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Learning and Skills Council, the Quality Assurance Agency, the Adult Learning Inspectorate, which disappeared soon after being criticised by the Government, and Ofsted.

All those bodies are, of themselves, significant. They all do good work. Some are essential to the relationship between Government and further education, and some are vital to improving standards. The problem is the immense overlap between them. Not only is there duplication, but the feeling among FE colleges—the hon. Lady, with her immense experience in these matters must have encountered it as much as I have—is that they are forced endlessly to jump through hoops, sometimes the same hoops by different people, and sometimes for an uncertain purpose.

How often have members of the Committee met FE college principals and senior managers who say that they spend a great deal of their time collecting or collating data, but are not sure why? I suspect that any commercial organisation—and I have no dogmatic reverence for the commercial sector—looking at the matter would want to rationalise the process in the way that Andrew Foster recommended. That is not my analysis; it is his. It is not my report; it is the report that resulted from the Government asking an independent person to consider those matters. The hon. Lady is a perfectly reasonable member of the Committee and of this House, but we might, through this new clause, ask for a report back to Parliament on what the impact of all of this is on the daily life of colleges.