Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill — Independence of Qfqual — 11 Nov 2009 at 19:30
The majority of MPs voted for greater freedom for Qfqual, the qualifications regulator, to act independently from ministers.
Government minister, Iain Wright, explained that the proposed opposition amendment (a), which was rejected, would allow ministers to alter the standards of qualifications through specifying minimum requirements. He said the government wanted to see Ofqual directly accountable to Parliament for maintaining qualifications standards and for ministers not being allowed to "meddle".
The vote was about the wording of a proposed new clause to be added to the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill. The clause, with the alternative words being voted on shown in square brackets, is reproduced below:
- "Effect of determination of minimum requirements
- 1. This section applies in relation to a qualification or description of qualification in respect of which minimum requirements specified in an order under section (Power to determine minimum requirements)(1) have effect.
- 2. Ofqual must perform its functions under sections 130, 131 and 137 in relation to the qualification or description of qualification in a way which secures that the minimum requirements in respect of the qualification or description of qualification are met.
- 3. But Ofqual is not required to comply with the duty imposed by subsection (2) if it appears to Ofqual that complying with that duty would result in the level of attainment (in terms of depth of knowledge, skills or understanding) indicated by the qualification or description of qualification [ not being consistent with | being lower than ] that indicated by comparable regulated qualifications.”
The majority of MPs decided to use the "not being consistent with" wording; which gives Ofqual more freedom not to act on a "minimum requirement order" (an instrument to be set down by ministers and subject to an affirmative resolution in both Houses).
The new clause reproduces part of clause 138. The role of ministers in setting qualification standards was debated intensely when Clause 138 was debated intensely in committee.
-  Amendment sheet, Commons amendments to the Lords amendments.
-  Iain Wright, DCSF Minister , House of Commons, 11 November 2009.
-  Amendment sheet containing Lords amendment 124
-  Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill Clause 138 Public Bill Committee , 26 March 2009, 1:30 pm
The House divided: Ayes 131, Noes 272.
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (No)||Minority (Aye)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||0||101 (+1 tell)||0||52.8%|
|Lab||271 (+2 tell)||0 (+1 tell)||0||78.3%|
|Helen Jones||Warrington North||Lab (minister)||tellaye|