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8 Dec 2003 : Column 278Wcontinued
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are being taken to ensure that non-British naval ships docked within United Kingdom waters are not (a) posing environmental problems and (b) a target for potential terrorist activities. 
Mr. Ingram: Foreign warships visiting ports within the UK have to comply fully with the relevant environmental legislation, including EC directives, which are no different for visiting Royal Navy vessels. Comprehensive arrangements are put in place for the routine disposal of all forms of waste and for rapid response to any leak or spill. Foreign nuclear-powered warships are required to produce assurances concerning reactor safety, aspects of design, crew training and operating procedures, and that they will meet their environmental responsibilities.
Force protection for visiting warships is provided by a combination of on-board and external security measures, the former being the responsibility of the visiting nation while the latter rests with the UK as host. Where the visit takes place outside a Naval Base, the external security measures fall under the responsibility of the relevant Police Authority. For visits to HM Naval Bases, the Naval Base Commander has overall responsibility for security arrangements, which are kept under constant review. In each case, a security assessment is undertaken in close consultation with the visiting nation to identify which measures need to be put in place commensurate with any perceived threat. These measures can vary considerably depending on the nature of the visit and the threat assessment at any given time.
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Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost is of (a) establishing and (b) maintaining the recently launched benchmarking website; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Miliband: The new benchmarking site was a joint development between the DfES, Ofsted and the Audit Commission building on the already successful Audit Commission site. It allows, for the first time, for all maintained schools in England to be able to compare and contrast their income and expenditure with other similar schools in a consistent way. The ability to benchmark financial information allows schools to identify areas in which savings in school budgets can be made that can then be reinvested into further improvements or redistributed to areas of greatest educational need. The website will also allow schools and LEAs to identify ways in which to improve performance in education at minimal additional cost.
The cost of designing and building the newly completed Schools Financial Benchmarking website was approximately £220,000. The cost to maintain the website will be just over £10,000 per year. Other costs may be incurred if the application is to be developed further as a result of user feedback.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of (a) technology, (b) sports, (c) arts, (d) languages, (e) engineering, (f) science, (g) mathematics and computing and (h) business and enterprise specialist schools achieved less than 25 per cent. A* to C grades at GCSE in the last year for which figures are available. 
|Special school type|
|Number of schools where less than 25 per cent. of 15 year olds achieved five or more A*C grades at GCSE/GNVQ||11||6||4||1|
|Percentage of schools where less than 25 per cent. of 15 year olds achieved five or more A*C grades at GCSE/GNVQ||3||6||4||1|
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Margaret Hodge: The Queen's Speech said that a Bill will be introduced to improve services designed to protect children. Subject to the outcome of consultation on the "Every Child Matters" Green Paper, this will include proposals for local information systems to enable practitioners to share early information about children and young people where this will enable better safeguarding of children and appropriate services being provided to them and their families.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills who will have access to the proposed database of children in the UK; and what steps he will take to prevent unlawful access. 
Margaret Hodge: Access to the proposed local databases on children would be given to practitioners on a "need to know" basis. We will put in place stringent access and security arrangements to prevent unlawful access.
Margaret Hodge: Subjects on the child database would have access to the information held about them on the system, except where there is an exemption under the Data Protection Act 1998. Subjects would also be able to comment on any information held on the system that was in need of updating.
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create the post of Director of Children's Services, to be accountable for local authority education and children's social services, and a lead council member for children;
require local authorities to set up Local Safeguarding Children Boards which would give those who work with children, for example police and health services, a duty to work together and safeguard and promote children's welfare;
require local authorities to promote the educational achievement of children in care;
make provision to enable information sharing between those who work with children; and
allow for the introduction of a new integrated inspection framework for children's services and appropriate intervention where services are failing.
Margaret Hodge: The consultation on the Green Paper "Every Child Matters" as just finished and we are now analysing the responses in detail. We will continue to discuss with partners how to shape the legislation resulting from the Green Paper and a Bill will be introduced later this Session.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to require Connexions advice centres to be open (a) in evenings and (b) at weekends; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: The opening hours of Connexions advice centres are determined by Connexions Partnerships in response to local need. Connexions Partnerships undertake regular consultations with young people and other partners to ensure that access to services reflects demand. A recent survey of Connexions One-Stop-Shops and Access Points found that over half were open in the evenings or at weekends and a third were linked to the Connexions Direct telephone helpline providing out of hours support to young people. As more One-Stop-Shops and Access Points are opened and Connexions Direct is rolled out nationally there will be further improvements in the availability of services in the evenings and at weekends.
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