§ (1) The powers conferred upon the councils of counties and county boroughs as local education authorities under Section two of the Education Act, 1902 (in this Act called the principal Act), shall include a power to make arrangements, subject to the approval of the Board of Education, for giving to boys and girls under seventeen years of age assistance with respect to the choice of suitable employment, by means of the collection and the communication of information and the furnishing of advice.
§ (2) The council of a county, and the council of a non-county borough or urban district within the county who are a local education authority under Part III. of the principal Act, may, as part of their powers under Part II. of that Act, enter into and carry into effect arrangements or agreements for the co-operation of the council of the borough or district with the county council in respect of the exercise by the county council of their powers under this Act, either—
- (a) By rendering to the county council such assistance as may be arranged or agreed; or
- (b) By exercising within the borough or district, on behalf of the county council, all or any of the powers of that council under this Act;
§ and any such arrangement or agreement may, amongst other things, provide for the proportion in which the expenses incurred under it are to be borne by the councils respectively.
§ (3) The expenses incurred under this Act by any council (whether the council of a county, county borough, borough, or urban district) shall be defrayed as part of the expenses of that council under Section two or Section three of the principal Act, as the case may be, but for the purpose of any limit on the amount to be raised by rates, imposed by either of those sections, no account shall be taken of the amount so raised to meet expenses incurred under this Act.
§ Mr. T. EDMUND HARVEY
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1) after the word "assistance" ["assistance with respect to the choice of suitable employment"], to insert the words "in co-operation with the Board of Trade Labour Exchanges where such exist."
It will be within the recollection of the Committee that at twenty-five minutes past one this morning, when this Bill was read a second time, the hon Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Board of Education was good enough to say that he would consider the insertion in the Clause of the words which would give effect to the intention which I am sure the Department have, that this amended Bill should not set up a rival system to the national system of Labour Exchanges which have been established with the consent of all parties in the House, and to which all parties in the House wish well. This Bill, as drafted, is to give very vague and indefinite powers to local education authorities acting under a scheme to be approved by the Board of Education. It is in the nature, therefore, of a blank cheque given to the Board of Education by this House.
I think it is most important in the interests of the right working of this scheme, to which we all wish well that the House should express its intention that in setting up the new system under this Bill, and giving the education authority the right to give information to children as to the work they may get, that machinery shall be worked in harmony with the already 2581 existing system. That system has only been started a short time, but it has already covered the whole of the country. In Scotland powers such as those which would be set up under this Bill already exist, but are only exercised by a limited number of educational authorities. It works exceedingly well in such places as Edinburgh, but there are other cities which have not chosen to take advantage of these powers. Everywhere we have the machinery of the Labour Exchanges, and it is important that the House when passing this Bill should express its intention that the new authority should be exercised in co-operation with the existing machinery of the Labour Exchanges. It may be said that it is the intention of the Education Department to act in cooperation with the Board of Trade, and that it is unnecessary to insert an Amendment to that effect in an Act of Parliament; but, after all, we know it is possible that friction may exist between different Departments, and I think it is very important therefore that we should, as far as possible, avoid the occurrence of any difficulties like that by making it perfectly clear in the Act of Parliament what the intention of the House was as to how this new machinery should be worked. It is with that view, therefore, that I move my Amendment. If it is accepted Clause I would then read: "The powers conferred upon the councils of county and county boroughs as local education authorities under Section 2 of the Education Act, 1902 (in this Act called the principal Act), shall include a power to make arrangements, subject to the approval of the Board of Education, for giving to boys and girls under seventeen years of age assistance in co-operation with the Board of Trade Labour Exchanges, where such exist,' with respect to the choice of suitable employment, by means of the collection and communication of information and the furnishing of advice." That would prevent overlapping and the creation of other machinery alongside the already existing national machinery.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
My hon. Friend has, I think, exactly the same object in view that we have, namely that there should be co-operation between the Labour Exchange and such local education authorities as undertake the work of assistance in getting employment for children, and such other functions as are contemplated by this Bill. In Scotland we are fortunate enough to have this class of work 2582 done by the education authorities. In England it has been done by some local education authorities for years past. In one town that I know they have done it for twenty years, but some doubts have arisen whether that work, which was done through the master or the mistress or the school attendance officer, was empowered to be done by law. One of the objects of this Bill is to give that power and authority. When we found it necessary to take these steps I put Myself in close communication with the President of the Board of Trade, and throughout the discussions we have had, which necessitated some delay in order to secure the benefit of the growing experiences of the Labour Exchanges, we have established an arrangement securing the very objects which my hon. Friend has in view. I refer my hon. Friend to Rule 6 of the special set of rules with regard to the registration of juvenile workers. Rule 6 is part of the agreement which has been come to between the Board of Education and the Board of Trade. It is as follows:—(1) If any local education authority for higher education which has or may acquire statutory powers for the purpose of giving advice, information, or assistance to boys and girls with respect to the choice of employment or other matters bearing thereon, submits to the Board of Education a scheme for the exercise of those powers, and the Board of Education, after consulting with the Board of Trade, approve that scheme, with or without modifications, the foregoing rules shall, so long as the scheme is carried out to the satisfaction of the Board of Education, apply to the area of that local authority.I think what my hon. Friend was afraid of was the duplication of the machinery for the registration of employment. That is provided against in the second part of Rule 6, which says:Nothing in this rule shall affect the registration at any Labour Exchange of vacancies for juvenile workers notified by employers.These rules were published some months ago. My hon. Friend will see we have provided by arrangement with the Board of Trade against the duplication of machinery which he fears. One reason why it is unlikely to arise is that these arrangements are subject to the control of the Board of Education. We inserted these words at the request of my right hon. Friend in order to make sure that nothing was done in a fractious manner by any local authorities. I do not think that that was in the least likely, but we have inserted these words in order to make sure. My hon. Friend says why not put in the words of his Amendment, but I do not know a single Education Act where any authority is allowed to interfere except the 2583 Board of Education. The Board of Education is the only Department authorised to deal with educational authorities. The proper way to secure control is through the Board of Education, and the safeguard is to be found by the Board of Trade and the Board of Education working in complete harmony, and I can assure my hon. Friends we are working in complete harmony and there is not the least fear that that harmony will be disturbed.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Trevelyan) moved in Sub-section (3) to leave out the following words, "but for the purpose of any limit on the amount to be raised by rates, imposed by either of those Sections, no account shall be taken of the amount so raised to meet expenses incurred under this Act."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. WILLIAM THORNE
I would like to get some assurance from the President of the Board of Education. Is it only children who have gone through the elementary schools that are entitled to this assistance? It will not be given, for instance, to children under fourteen years of age.
§ Clause added to the Bill.
§ Clause 2 added to the Bill.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
May I be allowed to take the unusual course of asking the House to take the Report stage and Third Reading of this Bill now. We are anxious that this work should not be interrupted, and during the next few months the work may be a little hampered unless this Bill goes through. Some of the schemes are being delayed pending the carrying of this Bill through Parliament.
§ Bill reported.