Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Queen's speech: Brown's launchpad for a 4th term?

Not too many surprises but plenty to debate, dissect and fall out over. However I also think there is plenty here that will resonate with voters. In summary - not flash, just Gordon.

In true Ofsted fashion I have graded the main bills as follows:

Apprenticeships (draft) Bill (Grade: Outstanding)

Applying in England, this bill is likely to give 16 to 18-year-olds an entitlement to an apprenticeship, in an effort to reduce the number of young people not in education, training or employment. I think the majority of Labour supporters will whole-heartedly support this bill.

Children and Young Persons Bill (Grade: Good)

Gives councils powers to organise children's care in different ways and ensure children do not move schools in Years 10 and 11, except in exceptional circumstances. Says young people should not be "forced out of care before they are ready" and calls for higher standards for those children placed in care.

Citizenship and Immigration (draft) Bill (Grade: requires some improvement)
Will "take forward any recommendations" from the review of citizenship by former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith.

Climate Change Bill (Grade: Outstanding)

This bill creates a legal framework to reduce the UK's carbon dioxide emissions up to 2050 and beyond. It will propose statutory targets to reduce UK carbon dioxide emissions by at least 60% by 2050 and between 26 and 32% by 2020 - as compared with 1990's emissions

Constitutional Renewal (draft) Bill (Grade: Good)

Promises to "rebalance power" between Parliament and the government and give MPs more clout to hold the government to account. Subject to more consultation, the bill will propose giving Parliament powers to ratify treaties and decide whether troops should be deployed. It will also incorporate the findings of the ongoing consultation on judicial appointments and the handling of protests in Parliament Square.

Counter-Terrorism Bill (Grade: requires substantial improvement)

Devil will be in the detail!

Education and Skills Bill (Grade: Outstanding)
Requires all 16 to 18-year-olds to stay in some form of education or training by 2015. Also places a duty on employers to release young people for the equivalent of one day's training a week, while parents and local authorities have a duty to make sure young people participate. Applies to England and Wales.

Health and Social Care Bill (Grade: Good)

Would establish the Care Quality Commission to inspect and intervene in failing hospitals. This combines the functions of the existing Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission. The bill would also bolster professional regulation.

Housing and Regeneration Bill (Grade: Good)

This merges the Housing Corporation, which distributes funds to housing associations to build new social housing, and English Partnerships, which plans housing projects in new growth areas.
It will also implement the recommendations of the Cave Review of Social Housing Regulation, policies responding to John Hills' assessment of social housing and respond to the implications of the recent ECHR ruling on gypsies and travellers. Applies to England and Wales.

Human Tissues and Embryos Bill (Grade: Good)

Would ensure the creation and use of all human embryos outside the body is regulated. The bill also proposes a ban on selecting the sex of babies for non-medical reasons and would recognise same-sex couples as legal parents of children conceived through the use of donated sperm, eggs or embryos. Applies to the whole UK, although there are some provisions involving the changes to legal parenthood in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Bob Deed said...

I think you are a bit generous in grading the 16-18 compulsion bill. There is an well-argued critique on the Reform website http://www.reform.co.uk/website/pressroom/latestbulletin.aspx

On the implementation of the Cave Review and the setting-up of Homes Agency: that is indeed good news for people living in social housing and those who are struggling to afford a home of their own.

Sir James Badger said...

I was wondering who you reminded me of, Mike. Were you by any chance an Ofsted inspector? You might have met me - I was a Prep school head.