Private or public advice - Tomlinson's verdict

17th October 2003 at 01:00
There is a clear disparity between the recommendations of last December's final report of the Tomlinson inquiry into A-level standards and the Government's reaction.

"Requests to QCA from ministers for fresh advice or new work should set out the matters which the advice should cover or the action required, who will have responsibility for subsequent decisions and follow-up action, and which organisations or individuals should contribute to that work, including where appropriate, DfES ministers or officials.

"Such remits and QCA advice to ministers should be published at or near the time when they are issued - unless there are strong reasons why they need to remain confidential."

(Tomlinson inquiry, December 2002) "The substantive work of the (QCA) board is the advice it gives to ministers. Such advice has always been made public once ministers have considered their response.

"Ministers have agreed that QCA can now publish advice at the same time as it is received by ministers if it wishes. The board will decide what advice will be published in this way on a case-by-case basis and it will be made available in a form the board consider appropriate."

(QCA spokesman, October 2003)

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