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23 Feb 2004 : Column 179Wcontinued
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of places in (a) further and (b) higher education provided to (i) asylum seekers and (ii) their children in the last year for which figures were available. 
23 Feb 2004 : Column 180W
Alan Johnson: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) estimate that about 41,000 asylum seekers participated in LSC funded further education in 2001/02. It is not possible to identify how many learners were children of asylum seekers.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Spending Review 2002 ensured that we are able to continue to support the Skills for Life strategy to enable 1.5 million adults to improve their literacy and numeracy skills by 2007. Over £1.6 billion has been made available to deliver the Skills for Life strategy for the three years to 200506 across Government Departments.
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many adults he plans should participate in basic skills training in each year from 2003 to 2006; and what the figures were for each year from 1997 to 2003. 
(26) Includes an estimated component due to incomplete enrolment data.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff in his Department have been (a) investigated, (b) suspended, (c) dismissed, (d) prosecuted and (e) convicted for involvement in benefit fraud in each of the last six years; and what amounts were involved in each case. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: One member of staff from my Department (formerly The Department for Education and Employment) was investigated and suspended for allegedly claiming benefit while working during this
23 Feb 2004 : Column 181W
period. Following an investigation the Department was satisfied that there was no benefit fraud involved. We do not have records of the amounts involved.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many cases of parents gaoled for shaking their babies to death are to be reviewed in the light of the Angela Cannings appeal judgement. 
Since the release of Angela Cannings by the Court of Appeal and its published judgment, the Attorney General has instigated a number of measures. A total of 258 convictions over the last 10 years for the murder, manslaughter or infanticide of a child under two by its parent have been identified. Of those, a total of 72 relate to persons still serving a custodial sentence. These will be accorded the utmost priority. Currently, some 365 boxes of evidence relating to 52 high priority cases have been recovered from central storage and dispatched to CPS areas for them to conduct an initial review. The remaining high priority cases are being recovered from the areas themselves.
Once the review becomes fully under way, the offences comprising the 258 convictions and the issue at trial will become clearer. Once that stage has been reached and more information is known on these cases it will be possible for me to write further to you with additional information.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children have been removed from their parents following a younger sibling's death, without evidence that one of the parents was responsible beyond reasonable doubt for the death of the first child, in the past 10 years. 
23 Feb 2004 : Column 182W
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of time Connexions personal advisers have spent with young people from each socio-economic class, broken down by Connexions partnership. 
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what examinations and assessments of existing services for young people were carried out in each region before Connexions partnerships were established; and what the nature of such assessments was. 
Margaret Hodge: All Connexions partnerships were subject to a rigorous assessment process before "going live" to ensure they were ready to provide a high quality service. As part of developing their business plans, partnerships were expected to undertake a local needs assessment to draw out the key needs of young people, the extent to which existing provision met those needs, and to identify gaps in services.
|Connexions partnership||200405 allocation|
|M. Keynes, Oxfordshire and Bucks||10,595,357|
|Kent and Medway||13,144,292|
|East of England|
|Cambridgeshire and Peterborough||5,981,683|
|Bedfordshire and Luton||5,070,064|
|Essex, Southend and Thurrock||12,848,412|
|Wiltshire and Swindon||4,979,619|
|West of England||8,089,632|
|Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole||5,060,675|
|Cornwall and Devon||12,513,950|
|Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin||3,841,302|
|Birmingham and Solihull||13,045,649|
|Coventry and Warwickshire||7,199,993|
|Hereford and Worcester||5,652,538|
|Lincolnshire and Rutland||5,413,738|
|Yorks and the Humber|
|York and North Yorks||5,392,793|
|Cheshire and Warrington||6,850,581|
|Tyne and Wear||11,667,484|
23 Feb 2004 : Column 183W
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research has been carried out into the proportion of young people who are aware of the Connexions service in each partnership area, broken down by (a) ethnicity, (b) age and (c) gender. 
In 2002, the Youth Cohort Study found that 51 per cent. of young people were aware of a Connexions service in their area. Of those, slightly more females said they were aware of a Connexions Service in this area (53 per cent. compared to 50 per cent. of males). Just over one-third of non-white respondents claimed awareness (36 per cent.) compared with 53 per cent. of white respondents.
In 2003, a customer satisfaction survey of 16,000 young people found that awareness of Connexions was generally high. 92 per cent. of both male and female respondents contacted said they had heard of the service. For minority ethnic groups, awareness levels were 88 per cent. compared with 93 per cent. for white respondents. Young people aged 1617 had the highest levels of awareness (94 per cent.), followed by 13 to 15-year-olds (92 per cent.) with those over 18 (89 per cent.) being the least aware of the service.
23 Feb 2004 : Column 184W
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what qualifications and training Connexions' personal advisers are expected to have on (a) working with young offenders and (b) health matters; and what proportion are trained to this level within each area partnership. 
Connexions Personal Advisers are drawn from a broad range of professional backgrounds including youth justice, social work, probation, youth work and career guidance. To be fully qualified Connexions Service personal advisers are required to have an NVQ level 4 or equivalent in a relevant professional discipline and have undertaken Connexions specific training.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of Connexions' personal advisers within each area partnership have (a) a Qualification in Careers Guidance, (b) NVQ Level 4 in Advice and Guidance, including specified units and (c) a Diploma in Careers Guidance. 
In our guidance to Partnerships we require that any Personal adviser responsible for providing young people with in-depth career guidance must hold a Qualification in Career Guidance, NVQ4 in Advice and Guidance (including specified units) or the Diploma in Careers Guidance. Connexions Partnerships are responsible for ensuring that this requirement is met.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of Connexions personal advisers within each area partnership are qualified to give guidance on all advisory services. 
Margaret Hodge: To be fully qualified, Connexions PAs are required to have a NVQ level 4 or equivalent in a relevant professional discipline and have undertaken Connexions specific training in delivering a wide range of support services to young people. Connexions training equips personal advisers to recognise the boundaries of their existing professional competence and refer to specialist services where necessary.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what safeguards exist to ensure that young people are given in-depth advice only by properly qualified Connexions personal advisers. 
Margaret Hodge: The safeguards are through training and supervision. Connexions personal advisers are either qualified to NVQ level 4 or equivalent in a relevant professional discipline or they are actively working to a level 4 qualification. They are also required
23 Feb 2004 : Column 185W
to complete or be actively working towards Connexions specific training which equips them to recognise the boundaries of their own professional competence.
Margaret Hodge: Connexions partnerships are required to put in place a complaints procedure, which is the primary mechanism for all complaints from parents and clients. Should complaints not be resolved at that stage, the local Government office and Connexions teams within DfES investigate and provide support both to the public and partnerships to continually improve the level of service Connexions provides to clients and their families.
Partnerships are required to have strategies to ensure young people are involved in the design, delivery, evaluation and continuous improvement of the service. This, in part, ensures the number of complaints is reduced. They must respond positively to any complaints made by young people and are required to publish a Youth Charter explaining what Connexions is and offers; its standards of service; and how to complain.
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Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of Connexions personal advisers within each area partnership has undergone Criminal Records Bureau checks. 
Margaret Hodge: Although Connexions Partnerships provide us with the numbers of personal advisers they have recruited, they are not required to provide data on the numbers who have been subject to List 99 and Criminal Records Bureau checks. To do so would serve no purpose as it is a legal requirement for employers to ensure that personal advisers have been subjected to completed List 99 checks before they can come into direct contact with young people. We also require Partnerships to ensure a Criminal Records Bureau check is completed for all Connexions staff working with young people.
Margaret Hodge: It is not possible to provide the information requested. Connexions advisers offer a broad range of advice on many issues. We do not ask them to account for their time by category of advice.
Margaret Hodge: In October 2002, we published our first strategy for engaging the Voluntary and Community Sector [VCS] in Connexions. We have made considerable progress since then in working with the VCS:
An updated strategy, "Involving the Voluntary and Community Sector in Connexions: Strategy and Guidance 200405" will be published later this month. This document was developed jointly with the VCS and is endorsed by the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services.
23 Feb 2004 : Column 187W
From April 2004, Connexions Partnerships will also be required to work with local VCS partners and other organisations to develop a clear and systematic local strategy for the involvement of the VCS in service design, planning, delivery and evaluation.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assistance is provided to voluntary organisations by Connexions in (a) ensuring staff undergo Criminal Records Bureau checks, (b) applying for funding and (c) ensuring they fulfil requirements. 
Margaret Hodge: Connexions Partnerships are required to ensure enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks are completed for all staff they recruit, including those who are employed through a subcontractor or voluntary agency. Connexions Service Partnerships are encouraged to provide assistance to voluntary organisations when they apply for funding and are committed to keeping procedures simple. Partnerships are able to provide grant funding and in-kind support to voluntary organisations who might otherwise be able to engage with Connexions.
|Connexions Partnership||Number of young people who have a Connexions Card|
|Bedfordshire and Luton||8,502|
|Birmingham and Solihull||4,075|
|Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole||3,816|
|Cambridgeshire and Peterborough||6,318|
|Cheshire and Warrington||4,507|
|Cornwall and Devon||18,267|
|Coventry and Warwickshire||7,877|
|Essex, Southend and Thurrock||14,304|
|Herefordshire and Worcestershire||1,434|
|Kent and Medway||19,560|
|Lincolnshire and Rutland||6,986|
|Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire||6,938|
|Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin||3,015|
|Swindon and Wiltshire||5,429|
|Tyne and Wear||18,897|
|West of England||8,738|
|York and North Yorkshire||3,721|
23 Feb 2004 : Column 188W
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young people used Connexions Direct, on average, in each of the last six months broken down by (a) age and (b) ethnic origin. 
Margaret Hodge: In the past six months (August 2003 to January 2004) Connexions Direct advisers handled an average of 16,000 contacts per month. In addition there were 70,000 visits per month to the Connexions Direct website.
Many young people choose to remain anonymous when they contact Connexions Direct. Of those that chose to provide information, around 14 per cent. were aged 13 to 14, 39 per cent. 15 to 16 and 38 per cent. 17 to 19. Of those remaining around 1 per cent. were under 13 and the remainder were over 19. Information about ethnic origin is not available as reports over the past six months show no disclosure from young people.
Margaret Hodge: All complaints from parents and young people are logged and investigated. If the complaint is during a call or webchat, the Connexions Direct duty manager will take over and deal with it immediately.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much money has been spent on the (a) purchase and (b) rental of buildings by each Connexions area partnership in each year since its establishment. 
23 Feb 2004 : Column 189W
|Partnership||Start date||Purchase of buildings||Rental of buildings||Purchase of buildings||Rental of buildings|
|Bedfordshire and Luton||September 2002||0||0|
|Cambridgeshire and Peterborough||April 2002||0||257,825|
|Essex Southend and Thurrock||September 2002||0||0|
|Lincolnshire and Rutland||April 2001||0||128,177||0||143,298|
|Central London(27)||June 2002||0||0|
|East London||April 2002||0||94,000|
|North London||April 2001||0||0||0||0|
|South London||April 2001||0||0||0||0|
|West London||September 2002||0||24,000|
|County Durham(27)||April 2002||0||0|
|Tees Valley||September 2002||0||0|
|Tyne and Wear(27)||April 2002||0||0|
|Cheshire and Warrington||April 2001||183,037||304,372||53,307||238,600|
|Gtr Manchester||September 2002||0||88,208|
|Gtr Merseyside||September 2001||195,770||242,436||1,324,924||319,245|
|Kent and Medway||November 2002||0||28,000|
|Milton Keynes Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire||April 2001||0||0||0||14,000|
|South Central||September 2002||0||24,500|
|Bournemouth Poole and Dorset||April 2002||0||140,286|
|Cornwall and Devon||April 2001||0||313,000||0||334,000|
|West of England||April 2001||62,000||0||4,000||331,000|
|Wiltshire and Swindon||September 2002||0||10,750|
|Birmingham and Solihull||September 2002||274,356||402,500|
|Black Country||April 2001||0||0||478,000||36,000|
|Coventry and Warwickshire||April 2001||0||0||208,605||360,060|
|Hereford and Worcester||April 2002||0||157,221|
|Shropshire Telford and Wrekin||April 2001||0||88,470||(28)||(28)|
|South Yorkshire||April 2001||0||0||0||18,850|
|West Yorkshire||October 2002||0||0|
|York and North Yorkshire||September 2002||8,647||0|
(27) These are Lead Body Partnerships for which we have separate accounting arrangements that do not require details of rental expenditure
(28) Accounts are not submitted yet
A zero indicates that a Partnership did not incur any expenditure on buildings (e.g. because it took over existing premises). The absence of any figure for 200102 means that the Partnership did not start until 200203
Partnerships' Annual Statutory Accounts
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 12 February 2004]: To be fully qualified Connexions Service personal advisers are required to have an NVQ level 4 or equivalent in a relevant professional discipline and have undertaken Connexions specific training in delivering and brokering a wide range of support for young people. This includes information on drugs and alcohol issues. Connexions training equips advisers to recognise the boundaries of their existing professional competence
23 Feb 2004 : Column 190W
and to refer to specialist services when necessary. In 200304, £1 million has been made available to Connexions Service Partnerships to provide additional training to personal advisers on drugs related issues.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding has been distributed to voluntary organisations through the Connexions service in each year since its establishment. 
23 Feb 2004 : Column 191W
200102 these totalled £2.2 million, in 200203 £10.1 million and in the first six months of 200304 (the latest data available) £4.3 million.
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 12 February 2004]: My Department does not keep any data on the average salaries of Connexions personal advisers. Under their financial memorandum, partnerships are able to set their own salary rates taking account of qualification levels and local labour market factors.
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