HC Deb 10 April 1973 vol 854 cc1109-10
1. Mr. Dormand

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what consultations she has had concerning the administration of education under the Local Government Act 1972.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

My Department consulted the associations of local authorities and the staff interests chiefly involved before the issue of circulars Nos. 1/73 and 8/73.

Mr. Dormand

The Act contains no provisions to decentralise the administration of the education services. In those circumstances, is the right hon. Lady aware that the advisory committees, with or without an officer, that are recommended in one of the circulars she men- tioned—circular 1/73—are utterly useless? She will get no responsible people to serve on such committees when they realise that they have no powers. By the same token the Minister might tell us what became of the extra powers that were talked about for managers and governors. The local touch in this most personal of services has been lost under the Act. What does the Secretary of State propose to do about it?

Mrs. Thatcher

I think that the hon. Gentleman is trying to go back on an Act that has already passed through the House. I do not agree with him that people will not serve on advisory committees because they have no executive authority. We find no shortage of people to sit on them and no shortage of recommendations to set them up.