Children, Schools and Families Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee am ar 28 Ionawr 2010.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

[Mr. David Amess in the Chair]

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools and Learners) 1:00, 28 Ionawr 2010

On a point of order, Mr. Amess, that, I think, will help the Committee. This morning, responding to amendment 181, which provides that pupils and parents would not have a right to monetary compensation where a governing body, head teacher or local authority failed to comply with any element of the pupil and parent guarantee, I said that the ombudsman has a long-standing power to require local authorities to provide financial compensation and that he would be able to do so in relation to a breach of any of the guarantees where it was the local authority’s responsibility to deliver the guarantee. In fact, that is not entirely accurate, and I apologise to the Committee.

The local government ombudsman has a long-standing power to make recommendations to a local authority about how to remedy an injustice sustained by a complainant, and the local authority can, on considering the report, decide for itself whether it wishes to make a payment to the complainant. However, contrary to what I said this morning, under the Local Government Act 1974 the local government ombudsman cannot make an award against a local authority; nor can he recommend directly that it make financial compensation. That is also true of the provisions in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009. On that basis, it is even less likely that a parent could seek to gain compensation from pursuing a complaint through the ombudsman, even in relation to matters such as one-to-one tuition, which are also the responsibility of the local authority. I hope that helps every member of the Committee.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Ceidwadwyr, Southend West

It certainly does, and I thank the Minister for that.