Is the Lyndale School call in going to the wrong Wirral Council committee?
Labour’s Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services) explaining at a Wirral Council Cabinet meeting why he thinks the Cabinet should agree to consultation on closure of Lyndale School
The start of this story goes all the way back to my teenage years when a Labour government was elected in 1997 having used the slogan “education, education, education” during their election campaign. A few years after being elected, Labour’s Estelle Morris, a Minister in the Department for Education and Employment brought in legislation called The Education (Parent Governor Representatives) Regulations 1999. As explained in the explanatory notes, “These Regulations make provision for representatives of parent governors at maintained schools to be included in the education committees of local education authorities” and “Regulation 10 sets out the voting rights of a parent governor representative. Such a person may vote, broadly, on any matter related to the local education authority’s schools and pupils, save that he may not vote on the determination of the authority’s budget.”
Two years after these regulations became law, there was a judicial review case involving them Transport and General Workers Union and Hilary Hollington v Wallsall Metropolitan Borough Council  EWHC Admin 452. Wallsall Metropolitan Borough Council’s Education and Community Services Committee had voted eleven to nine to outsource the school meals service to P Martin & Sons (Trefonen) Limited which had previously been provided by the Council’s Direct Services Labour Organisation. The parent governor representatives (numbering three) had been told at the meeting that they couldn’t vote on the catering contract decision, but had wanted to vote against contracting the service out. If the parent governor representatives had been allowed to vote the result would’ve been different.
The result of this case was that the High Court Judge in the case quashed the decision of the committee and granted a declaration that the contract between Wallsall Metropolitan Borough Council and P Martin & Sons (Trefonen) Limited was void. Wallsall Metropolitan Borough Council (as the losing party) had to pay the other sides’ legal costs of £15,649.83 and permission to appeal was denied.
Wirral Council is a local education authority and its Wellbeing Policy and Performance Committee has the legal minimum of two parent governor representatives (with voting rights on education matters). The Church of England diocese representative is currently vacant but it also has one Roman Catholic representative with voting rights.