Previous Section Index Home Page

Student Loans

Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will estimate the additional cost as net saving to the Exchequer of increasing the cost of raising the threshold for repayment of income-contingent student loans to (a) £13,000, (b) £15,000 and (c) £17,000 at real interest rates of (i) 0 per cent., (ii) 1 per cent., and (iii) 2 per cent., annually for the years up to 2004-05 assuming student numbers continue on current trends and the proportion of income taken remains at the current level. [136976]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 7 November 2000]: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Connexions Service

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on recruitment and training of personal mentors to date. [137033]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 7 November 2000]: Connexions Partnerships have been issued with guidance, drawing on the innovative work of the Connexions Pilots, to assist them to meet our requirement that they identify in their delivery plans how they will recruit the extra staff required to deliver the service from a variety of backgrounds and sectors and with a range of expertise.

A training programme is being developed to meet the varying needs of the range of people who will become Connexions Service personal advisers, and to ensure that all are provided with appropriate training. One element of this programme, the Diploma of Personal Advisers, is currently being piloted in Connexions pilot areas. Further guidance on the recruitment and training of Connexions Service personal advisers will be issued shortly.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what consultations he has held with the National Youth Agency and the Connexions Service on matters and activities of mutual concern. [137034]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 7 November 2000]: We have consulted widely on the development and implementation of the Connexions Service. The National Youth Agency and other partners in the youth field have been active participants in a number of working groups looking at different aspects of the new service, including the Professional Formation, Inspection and Standards and Involving Young People Working Groups and the Youth Service Transition Group. The National Youth Agency has also taken the opportunity to respond to public consultations.

8 Nov 2000 : Column: 245W

Further Education (Staff Checks)

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what guidance he has issued to further education colleges in respect of police checks for college staff working on school link courses for 14 to 16-year-olds; and if he will make a statement. [135926]

Mr. Wicks: DfEE Circular 9/93 makes it clear that all staff selected for posts which involve substantial unsupervised access on a sustained or regular basis to children under the age of 16 should undergo a police check before appointment.


New Year (Licensing Regulations)

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to deregulate liquor licensing regulations for new year's eve and new year's day. [135576]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Mr. Henderson), on 26 October 2000, Official Report, column 203W.

Secure Training Centres

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment has been made of the operation and success of each of the secure training centres since opening; for each of the centres (a) what percentage of children breached their orders, (b) what percentage of children re-offended during the period of their order, (c) what percentage of children has been reconvicted during the period of their order, (d) what assessment has been made of the provision of education and training, (e) what percentage of staff has experience of working with children, (f) how many and what percentage of the total number of staff have resigned since each centre opened, (g) how many incidents of self harm have been recorded, (h) how many incidents of concerted indiscipline have been recorded, (i) how many assaults on staff have been recorded and (j) what is the total amount of payment reductions for contract failures; and if he will make a statement. [135581]

Mr. Boateng: Each secure training centre (STC) is subject to comprehensive inspection by the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI), who may be accompanied by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons and by one or more of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools (OFSTED), at least once every three years. There are also annual inspections to check that the secure training centre is meeting core requirements. Other inspections, with or without notice, can take place at any time of the year; and each centre is subject to a pre-opening inspection. Annual and triennial inspection reports are placed in the House of Commons Library as they become available.

The Inspectors' reports show that, after significant initial operational difficulties at the first STC, Medway, both it and the newer centres at Rainsbrook and Hassockfield have progressively developed to provide a good standard, comprehensive regime for difficult young juveniles.

8 Nov 2000 : Column: 246W

(a) The Secure Training Order (STO) was available from March 1998 to March 2000. 379 children received STOs of whom 319 went to STCs, and the others to local authority secure units. 20 per cent. of those who went to Medway, 8 per cent. of those who went to Rainsbrook and 4 per cent. of those who went to Hassockfield were returned to custody for breach of STO supervision.

The STO was replaced by the Detention and Training Order (DTO) in April 2000. Information on DTO breaches is not held centrally.

(b) and (c) This information is not collected routinely but research is under way. The report of the Policy Research Bureau into the first year at Medway "Evaluation of Medway Secure Training Centre", released on 4 October 2000, recorded a 67 per cent. re-offending rate for those at that establishment. Wider research commissioned by the Youth Justice Board into DTO re-offending is being carried out by the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO), the Centre for Crimes and Justice Studies and the Policy Research Bureau. Results are expected in March 2002.
(d) Home Office monitors based at each STC ensure that the terms of the contracts including on education and training are met on a daily basis. The SSI's annual and triennial inspection reports are in the Library.
(e) This information is not available. The contracts specify minimum qualifications, skills and experience requirements. All staff receive Home Office-approved training in understanding and dealing with disturbed adolescents.
(f) The number and percentage of staff (custody and teaching staff) who have resigned since each centre opened is as follows:

Medway17 April 199812345
Rainsbrook1 July 19994328
Hassockfield17 September 19994935

(g), (h) and (i) Recorded incidents of self harm, concerted indiscipline and assaults on staff are as follows:

Self harmConcerted indisciplineAssaults(4) on staff

(4) Assaults exclude "pushing and shoving"

(j) To date, financial penalties reflecting contract failures by the Operating Contractor at each STC total £663,240 (Medway); £155,152 (Rainsbrook); and £45,808 (Hassockfield). These cover failure to meet the scheduled opening date of the STC, non-availability of trainee places and failure to deliver specified services.


Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what procedures exist in his Department for a civil servant to report actions which (a) are illegal, improper, or unethical, (b) are in breach of constitutional convention or a professional code, (c) may involve possible maladministration and (d) are otherwise inconsistent with the Civil Service Code. [135491]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 30 October 2000]: Civil servants in the main Home Office and its agencies may raise any matter of concern in confidence with one of several nominated officials. Details of how to do so are notified to all staff from time to time by means of an

8 Nov 2000 : Column: 247W

office notice, which also contains an up-to-date list of the nominated officials. This was most recently circulated on 18 August 2000.

Next Section Index Home Page