» Tuesday, February 7, 2006


Asked for further clarification about local authority community schools, and whether, given what the Prime Minister had said that there would now be an automatic bias against the local council, the PMOS said: no. What the White Paper still retained was the distinction between commission and provider, i.e the local authority would not be able to decide that it should have the ability to build a school. Secondly, however, it was also right to say that the key principle in the White Paper was choice, and therefore, part of the choice, if it wished, was for the authority to be able to put forward a community school. Equally, however, it had to be clear that that school met the criteria in terms of standards, qualifications, and the overall quality of provision that was necessary. At the end of the day, it would be for the adjudicator to decide between the different options in any one area. Therefore, the adjudicator could decide what was the right solution.

Put that was it not rather a "catch-22" situation, as the local authority could only hope to meet some of those criteria if it had the cash from central Government in the first place, the PMOS said that what the local authority could do was reflect the needs in a particular area. How well it did so would undoubtedly be part of the judgment that the adjudicator finally made.

Asked how was the adjudicator appointed, the PMOS said in the same way as at the moment.

Put that with the extended powers that lasted three years, was there no democratic overvision of this, the PMOS said that he was not sure that the democratic accountability argument changed whether the adjudicator’s guide would last one year or three.

Asked again who appointed the adjudicator, the PMOS said he thought it was the DFES.

Put that if the adjudicator was appointed by the Government, it would not be independent, the PMOS said he had not heard of anybody challenging the independence or objectivity of the adjudicator to this point, and nobody was seriously suggesting otherwise.

Put that the Prime Minister was asked at the Liaison Committee this morning about publishing some documents regarding the experience in other countries, the PMOS said we would look and see what was possible in that area.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Search for related news

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