Clause 48

Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 21st February 2008.

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Penalty notices: appeal arrangements

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

I beg to move amendment No. 89, in clause 48, page 26, line 27, leave out ‘Regulations may’ and insert

‘The Secretary of State must by regulations’.

The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that regulations are introduced that direct both the procedures for making appeals and the hearing of such appeals. As drafted, the clause says that the Secretary of State “may” make regulations about the procedures for appeals and the powers of the attendance panel in hearing appeals. The Secretary of State could therefore decide not to publish such regulations or lay them before Parliament for scrutiny and debate. The rules relating to appeals and the procedures of the attendance panels could, de facto, be decided by Executive action. On matters that are clearly judicial or quasi judicial, there should be clear rules that are scrutinised by the House in some form. The amendment replaces the word “may” with “must” and I hope it receives the Minister’s support.

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)

I shall try to be brief, in the hope that that does not cause me any trouble. In essence, the argument that I would put to the hon. Gentleman is that it is almost without precedent for the Government to put into law a requirement that the Secretary of State “must” use regulations. It is standard practices that regulations “may” be made by the Secretary of State. I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that it is absolutely the Government’s policy and intention to issue regulations in this case. Changing the text to make the Secretary of State responsible for the regulations would make no difference to the current situation in which he is clearly responsible and will make the regulations.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

Given that explicit and firm assurance that the Secretary of State will make those regulations, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 48 ordered to stand part of the Bill.