Clause 88

Part of Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 28 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) 2:15, 28 February 2008

In deciding whether or not to approve a material change, the chief inspector must take account of the findings of any inspection carried out to consider the institution’s readiness to make the change, and any other evidence available. To help reassure the  hon. Gentleman, the evidence may include previous inspection reports, information from fire and rescue authorities about fire safety, information from the Health and Safety Executive and the environmental health authority about the suitability of the premises, confidential information received from parents or others, matters referred to in a criminal background check on the proprietor of the institution, and any other evidence received from police or social services departments relating to the unsuitability of any person working at the institution.

Where the chief inspector is satisfied that the institution is likely to continue to meet the regulatory standards once the changes are made, she must approve the change. If she is not satisfied, she must refuse approval for the change to be made. The chief inspector must inform the proprietor of her decision. Information received from bodies such as the fire and rescue service, the HSE and the environmental health agency would routinely be shared with institutions. The amendment would not change current procedures, which would then reasonably allow those institutions to make the necessary changes to conform. However, confidential information from parents, the Criminal Records Bureau, social services or the police would not routinely be shared for obvious reasons. Disclosure to the relevant institution would be determined according to the circumstances of the case. In some cases it would appropriate; in others, it would not.

I do not think we should fetter the discretion of the chief inspector by requiring her to disclose all the available evidence, regardless of the circumstance. I therefore ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw his amendment.