Previous Section Index Home Page

Special Needs

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he is taking to ensure greater transparency in the allocation of funds by local education authorities to individual pupils with special educational needs. [101467]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 7 December 1999]: We have taken steps to require local education authorities to publish budget statements which make clear the amounts retained centrally and the amounts delegated to schools to make provision for children with special educational

15 Dec 1999 : Column: 206W

needs, with and without statements. Once budgets are delegated to schools, schools' governing bodies may take decisions on precisely how to deploy the resources available for the benefit of individual pupils. Where extra resources are required to enable a school to make the provision specified in a statement of special educational need for an individual child, the local education authority may provide support from a central resource; devolve funds for that specific child; or in some cases, the schools' delegated budget will already include funds to meet the needs of pupils with statements of special education need.

Teachers (Early Retirement)

Mr. Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what was the average time taken for the Teachers' Pension Agency to process a teacher's request for early retirement on health grounds in each of the last three years; how many such requests have been refused in each of the last three years; and how many of these refusals have been overturned on appeal. [101923]

Mr. Wicks: The administration of the Teachers' Pensions Scheme has been carried out under contract by Capita Business Services since October 1996. Details of the average time taken for the complete processing of ill-health retirement applications are not recorded, but a Statement of Service Requirements (SOSR) attached to the contract has specific targets with regard to ill-health applications. The performance of the scheme administrator is given in the following table. These targets reflect the stages in the process where responsibility for the action rests with the administrator and not with a third party. The number of years for which the information is available reflects the periodic updating of the SOSR.

15 Dec 1999 : Column: 205W


1997-981998-99April-November 1999
To complete the calculation of ill health benefits or short service incapacity grants within 20 days of receiving approval of the application919891.7
Requests for further medical evidence to be made within 5 days of notification--10097.8
To inform applicants for ill health retirement of the decision within 10 days of medical advisers notification----98.9

15 Dec 1999 : Column: 205W

The figures for applications rejected and successful appeals are as follows. Successful appeals usually result from further medical evidence being received.

Number rejectedSuccessful appeals
April-September 1999288(14)3

(14) Does not include appeals still under consideration.

School Transport

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to review arrangements for home to school transport. [102239]

Jacqui Smith: The School Travel Advisory Group is looking into all aspects of school transport and I expect to receive its recommendations early in the new year. In addition, we have a number of initiatives already in place: we have produced guidance for schools on safe routes; we

15 Dec 1999 : Column: 206W

are developing mapping software and a car sharing database for schools' use; we are reviewing the provision of transport for pupils with special educational needs, leading to guidance on best practice for Local Education Authorities; and we have been working with the Department of Health on "Safe and Sound", a competition for schools designed to promote healthier and sustainable school travel.

Data Protection

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what was the outcome of the appeal to the Data Protection Registrar by the National Union of Teachers against his Department using home addresses collected for pension purposes and the General Teaching Council elections; and if he will make a statement. [102773]

Mr. Wicks: The Data Protection Registrar has confirmed that teachers' home addresses can be used for the despatch of pensions information and to form the basis of the electoral roll for the General Teaching Council.

15 Dec 1999 : Column: 207W


Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how much his Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies have spent on external consultants and advisers since May 1997. [102080]

Mr. Wills [holding answer 13 December 1999]: The Department's NDPBs spent £22.062 million on external consultants and advisers. The individual NDPB expenditure is listed on the following table.

Department for Education and Employment--expenditure on consultants and advisers

May 1997 to-dateTotal
British Educational Communications and Technology (BECTa)865
Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)638
Education Transfer Council (ETC)0
Engineering Construction Industry Training Board(ECITB)35
Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)147
Further Education Funding Council (FEFC)2,510
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)2,847
Investors in People UK Ltd. (IIP)4,614
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA)3,800
Remploy Ltd.816
Students Loan Company (SLC)1,612
Teacher Training Agency (TTA)4,174
Advisory Committee for Disabled People in Employment and Training (ACDET)2
Disability Rights Task Force (DTRF)1
National Disability Council (NDC)0
New Deal Task Force (NDTF)0
Race Employment and Education Forum (REEF)1
Skills Task Force (STF)0

Training and Enterprise Councils

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment to what extent the money contributed by TECs to the national legal fund established under the auspices of the TEC National Council is to be used to contest the distribution of reserves and assets upon the winding up of TECs; and if he will make a statement. [102081]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 14 December 1999]: We understand the primary purpose of the legal fund is to seek advice on issues common to all TECs/CCTEs, including the extent of the obligations they have under their contracts with Government. This is a reasonable step rather than each TEC seeking separate advice with the additional costs that would entail. However, we would not expect TECs/CCTEs to use public funds to contest the distribution of reserves and assets.


World Trade Organisation

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education and Employment on the application by the WTO of the principle of free trade to purchases by Governments and local authorities of goods and services concerned with education. [101674]

15 Dec 1999 : Column: 208W

Mr. Caborn: There have not been any such discussions concerning the WTO and Government procurement.

A400M Project

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the proportion of the United Kingdom aerospace industry's projected investment which is accounted for by the A400M airbus military aircraft project. [102392]

Mr. Alan Johnson: My Department does not produce estimates of future investment in the aerospace sector. As my previous reply on 8 December 1999, Official Report, columns 571-72W, explained in relation to the Future Transport Aircraft competition (FTA), we assess the possible impacts of the bids on the UK's industrial and technological capabilities. Since the FTA competition is still at the competitive bidding stage, it would be inappropriate to publish information provided by companies as part of this process.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with the Ministry of Defence over the A400M programme. [102741]

Mr. Alan Johnson: The Future Transport Aircraft (FTA) competition is being run by the Ministry of Defence. The A400M, along with Boeing's C-17 and Lockheed Martin's C130J, is a contender in the competition. My Department is in regular contact with the Ministry of Defence in the consideration of the industrial implications of this procurement. Our assessment looks at the possible impacts of each bid on the UK's industrial and technological capabilities.

Next Section Index Home Page