§ Mr. Wicks
The posts of Chair and Chief Executive of the proposed Learning and Skills Council, and the Chairs and Executive Directors of the Council's 47 local arms were advertised in the week commencing 2 April. Advertisements for these appointments were placed in theSunday Times, the Mail on Sunday, the Sunday Telegraph, the Observer, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Times, the Independent, the Times Education Supplement, the Times Higher Educational Supplement, the Eastern Eye/Caribbean Times, the Nation, the Asian Times/New Nation, and the Voice.
§ Mr. Wicks
The Learning and Skills Bill has received its Second reading in the Commons, thereby indicating Parliamentary support for the principle of the Bill. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has started the recruitment process for the national Chair and Chief Executive and the local Chairs and Executive Directors of the proposed Learning and Skills Council. The successful candidates will not formally be appointed to these positions until after the Bill has received Royal Assent.
Parliamentary approval for expenditure on the Learning and Skills Council will be sought in the Summer Supplementary Estimate for the Department for Education and Employment Vote (Class 1, Vote 1). Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,285,000 will be met by repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund.
This expenditure is required to meet the cost of recruiting for key posts, together with preparatory work on information and business systems, premises and personnel arrangements for future Learning and Skills Council staff. Its urgency arises from the need to have both the Chair and Chief Executive in place as soon as possible after Royal Assent to ensure that public funds are properly protected and to enable their full participation in the planning process to ensure rapid progress to the establishment of the Learning and Skills Council in April 2001.