Clause 17

Part of Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:00 pm on 19 February 2008.

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Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools and Learners) 6:00, 19 February 2008

Clause 17 puts in place the legal mechanisms necessary to enable local authorities and service providers to share information among themselves where appropriate. It is particularly important in resolving the difficulties of tracking young people who move across local authority boundaries. It also enables relevant information to be collected once and used for the two purposes outlined in the clause, and so indicates our intention that that information should be stored in one place rather than two.

I think that there is a difference of opinion between the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton and myself about “relevant purpose” and the importance of guidance in clause 18. As has been said, the information could be used only for the purposes of delivering a Connexions service or for the purposes of delivering on the local authority’s duty to promote the fulfilment of the duty to participate. As far as I am concerned, that is not for enforcement purposes, because people cannot enforce until they have supported, so the transfer of data will be for the purposes of support. Ultimately, young people identified as not participating can be subject to enforcement, but the information is not shared for that purpose, as I have said, because clause 39(5) and (6) say that support has to come before enforcement. On that basis, I urge the hon. Gentleman and the rest of the Committee to support the clause.