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CPS Direct

Vera Baird: To ask the Solicitor-General what plans she has for CPS Direct. [156335]

The Solicitor-General: A key component of the Government's criminal justice reform is to transfer responsibility for determining the charge in criminal proceedings from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service. This change is embodied in the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The early involvement of prosecutors will ensure that the right charge is put before the court and will help police officers to gather more quickly the evidence the prosecutor will need to prove the case.

To fulfil this new role the CPS will make prosecutors available to provide early advice or charging decisions at any time of the day or night. Daytime cover will generally be provided by local prosecutors based in police stations, but this is not feasible or cost-effective throughout the night. The CPS will therefore provide cover during quieter periods by means of a national telephone-based service known as CPS Direct.

In September 2003, the CPS Direct pilot was launched to provide out of hours cover for police stations in Humberside, parts of West Yorkshire and the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. The pilot uses sophisticated telephony and IT links to connect police officers to prosecutors and is currently staffed by 13 experienced prosecutors working from their homes. They provide cover from 5 pm to 9 am each weekday and for 24 hours a day at the weekend and on public holidays. As at 22 February 2004, the pilot scheme had provided the police with 6,866 written decisions or advices.

Many CPS areas and police forces already have "shadow" arrangements in place ahead of the new statutory provisions and from 1 April 2004, there will be a phased migration to the full statutory scheme. As areas move to the statutory scheme CPS Direct will gradually expand to provide them with out of hours cover. Current forecasts indicate that CPS Direct will eventually require around 80 prosecutors.


Deaf-blind Children and Adults

Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) whether children's trusts will be given responsibility for implementing Social Care for Deaf-blind Children and Adults Local Authority Circular (2001)8; [154640]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The Green Paper "Every Child Matters" set out proposals for the development of children's trusts to integrate children's services and said one of the key services within trusts should be children's social services. "Every Child Matters" also set out that the Government intend to put forward legislation to require directors of children's services to be appointed, who would be accountable for education and children's

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social services and for overseeing services for children delegated to the local authority by other services. We are currently considering responses to the Green Paper and will shortly set out a programme for change for children's services.

Excellence in Cities Programme

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much has been spent on the Excellence in Cities programme in each year since 1998–99; what his estimate is of annual expenditure up to 2005–06; and if he will make a statement. [156585]

Mr. Miliband: Expenditure on the Excellence in Cities programme since 1998 is as follows:


2003/04 (provisional)272,164,265

Estimated expenditure between 2004/05 and 2005/06 is as follows:


Estimated expenditure

These figures reflect the success of this programme and its rapid expansion. They do not include expenditure on the related Behaviour Improvement Programme (BIP) and the Leadership Incentive Grant (LIG) which are overseen by EiC partnerships in EiC areas. Currently the Department invests £65.9 million annually on BIP and £148.5 million annually on LIG. The figures also exclude spending on specialist and beacon schools which, although utilised as part of the EiC strategy, belong to wider national programmes.

The EiC programme now covers 57 whole authority areas as well as 51 Excellence Clusters covering smaller pockets of deprivation.

As well as continuing to expand Excellence Clusters, we are also expanding primary EiC to provide behavioural support and extended opportunities for gifted and talented children in our most deprived primary schools. This help will not be confined to EiC areas but will include all schools meeting the relevant criteria, and will provide the support they need to ensure that their most disadvantaged pupils are better able to access the national primary strategy.

The EiC programme is now paying off. GCSE exam results last year were the best yet for EiC schools. Schools in Excellence in Cities whole authority partnerships improved at more than twice the rate of schools elsewhere with average gains of 2.5 percentage points compared to 1.2 percentage points in non-EiC schools.

There was also a significant impact on behaviour and attendance—with standards again improving fastest in EiC schools.

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Higher Education Bill

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received since 27 January from (a) the Scottish Executive and (b) Scottish universities on the effects of the Higher Education Bill on Scotland. [155476]

Alan Johnson: We have not received representations from the Scottish Executive or from Scottish universities since 27 January. However, my right hon. Friend and I are in regular contact with Ministers in all devolved Administrations and with Universities UK which represents the interests of universities in all devolved nations as well as in England.

Lord Levy

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the purpose was of the education-related meeting attended by Lord Levy on 21 January; who the other attendees were; and if he will make a statement. [157755]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Lord Levy did not attend any meetings with Education Ministers on 21 January.

New Schools

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) value and (b) number of new schools built in each of the regions of England was in the last five years for which records are available. [156957]

Mr. Miliband: We do not hold information about the value and number of new schools that have been built. This information is held locally. We have, however, made available significant support to build new schools and to expand, replace and repair school accommodation. The majority of our support is allocated by needs-related formulae to local authorities and schools, who make individual investment decisions, based on priorities in their asset management plans. Total central Government support for school buildings capital investment over the last five years and for future years is as follows:

£ billion

Pupil Places (Romsey)

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many spare places have been available at the beginning of each school year at each school in the Romsey constituency since 1997–98. [157078]

Mr. Miliband: The number of spare places at each school in the Romsey constituency since 1998 as collected through the annual surplus places survey is set

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out in the following tables. The figures state the position at the beginning of the calendar year rather than the

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school year. We do not have figures for 2002 as there was no surplus places survey in that year.

Romsey primary schools surplus places

School name19981999200020012003
Basset Green Primary School00000
Awbridge Primary School435037504
Knightwood Primary School0200
Braishfield Primary School01007
Broughton Primary School2928212626
Chandler's Ford Infant School6790979259
Merdon Junior School000014
North Baddesley Infant School7747604622
Fryern Junior School7475901012
Romsey Infant School218244460
Romsey Junior School5641353668
Cupernham Junior School12121200
Stockbridge Primary School81912160
Wallop Primary School4123183757
Wellow School383129370
Wherwell Primary School00064
Fryern Infant School3341403727
Hiltingbury Infant School00008
North Baddesley Junior School1041181241340
Hiltingbury Junior School00000
Halterworth Community Primary School001540
Scantabout Primary School1923000
Cupernham Infant School1623416868
Ampfield Church of England Primary School2718211617
Barton Stacey Church of England Primary School6549485630
King's Somborne Church of England Primary School1217292220
Nursling Church of England Primary School17210111
Rownhams St. John's Church of England Primary School00200
West Tytherley Church of England Primary School00113
Lockerley Church of England Endowed Primary School00827
Longparish Church of England Primary School58370
Romsey Abbey Church of England Primary School702110
St. Swithun Wells Catholic Primary School130157507284
Bassett Green Primary School61315771
St Francis Church of England Primary School000820

Romsey secondary school surplus places

School name19981999200020012003
The Mountbatten School060015
The Toynbee School3301100
The Romsey School6850023
Test Valley School80003
Thornden School00000
Cantell School113321324228115
St. George Catholic School for Boys00086

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