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14 Jan 2003 : Column 557Wcontinued
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many departmental minutes issued by her Department were outstanding on 30 November, that referred to public private partnerships as included in Table B14 of the Consolidated Fund and National Loans Fund Accounts; and what their value was. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 13 January 2003]: There were no departmental minutes, as included in Table B14 of the Consolidated Fund and National Loans Fund Accounts, outstanding on 30th November that referred to public private partnerships.
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Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the work being carried out by the Small Business Council to lessen the impact of regulations on small businesses; and if she will make a statement. 
Nigel Griffiths: I am encouraged by the work the Small Business Council does at an early stage of policy development to inform Ministers and officials of the needs and concerns of small businesses, and by the effect this will have on the productivity and profitability of this important segment of the economy.
Nigel Griffiths: Business Link Staffordshire has performed well since April 2001. During the 200102 financial year the Business Link Operator had an average quarterly usage rate 1 above the England average. Working with over 5,000 individual businesses they achieved an annual penetration rate of 15.8 per cent. Overall satisfaction with the service provided was 85.5 per cent. compared to the England average of 81.1 per cent.
The Business Link Operator generally performs well as part of the regional network taking its share of responsibility on regional initiatives and working with the SBS regional team and Advantage West Midlands. They also made a significant contribution with their partners in Staffordshire in response to the foot and mouth outbreak and its resultant effects on farms and businesses.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of the cost of theft and fraud to (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies in 2002. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has (a) to increase the number of specialist sports colleges and (b) to speed up the process of accreditation; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Miliband: There are currently 992 specialist schools in England of which 161 are specialist sports colleges. On 2 October 2002, the Prime Minister announced that there would be 240 new Specialist Sports Colleges by the end of 2005.
On 28 November 2002, Charles Clarke announced that the cap on funding for the expansion of the Specialist Schools Programme has been lifted. This means that any school which meets the required standard will be able to become a specialist school. A new partnership fund will be set up to help schools which have experienced genuine difficulty in raising sponsorship.
The Youth Sport Trust is part funded by the Department for Education and Skills to work with schools seeking to become specialist sports colleges to secure that sufficient high quality applications come forward.
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 7 January 2003]: There is currently one Union Learning Representative in the Department. My officials are working with the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the main Civil Service union, on how best to promote the development of Union Learning Representatives within the Department.
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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is recognised by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, as the sole national body for the accreditation, against international standards, of certification and inspection bodies, testing and calibration laboratories. The Department for Education and Skills will use UKAS accreditation services whenever it is appropriate to do so. For example, we are exploring with the Guidance Accreditation Board, which is sponsored by the Department, the appropriateness of the UKAS accreditation process to its work.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for what reason the consultation paper on admissions did not meet the Government's code of practice on good government recommendations on minimum consultation periods. 
Mr. Miliband: The new Regulations and Codes of Practice were finished later than planned because the Education Act 2002 did not receive Royal Assent until late July. The consultation schedule had to be compressed, to have the Regulations and Codes ready to come into effect from January 2003, so that admission authorities could have regard to them when consulting on their admission arrangements for September 2004. But much of the content was similar to that of September 2001's XConsultation on School Admissions", which had a longer consultation period; and we supported the latest written consultation with a number of meetings around the country, at which over 400 local authority representatives and head teachers were able to give their views on the Regulations and Codes.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will cancel all debts incurred by social work students in the two years leading to the introduction of the Bursary Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: The DfES scheme of remitting student loan debt is restricted to certain teachers for whose recruitment and retention this Department has responsibility. Social work students are in the same position as any other higher education students in repaying student loans. Policy on social work training is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health.
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Administration of the Teachers' Pensions Scheme.
Development of the Connexions Card.
Consultancy Framework Contracts:
Framework contract to provide general management consultancy support and consultancy support for LEA interventions.
Executive Recruitment and Search:
Framework contract to provide executive recruitment services.
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