Previous Section Index Home Page

19 Oct 2005 : Column 1049W—continued

Vocational/Academic Education

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research her Department has commissioned into public attitudes towards (a) vocational and (b) academic education; and if she will make a statement. [15500]

19 Oct 2005 : Column 1050W

Phil Hope: The Department has commissioned questions in the British Social Attitude Survey, a major annual independent survey undertaken by the National Centre for Social Research. In surveys prior to 2005 these questions included:

Additional questions were also added to the survey in 2005 to ask:

The National Centre for Social Research publishes the results of these surveys each year. Copies of the published reports are available in the DfES library. The results from the most recent surveys in 2004 and 2005 have not yet been published.

The Department has commissioned the Public Perception of Education in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. This is a survey of the general public of attitudes towards the education and skills system.

Independently, the Learning and Skills Council published the results from a survey undertaken by BMRB. The survey asked respondents in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden whether they thought academic or vocational skills were most important for a career.

Research provides a useful indicator of the general public's attitude on educational issues. The Department is aware that work-based learning is considered of lower status to academic learning. That is why we are introducing specialised Diplomas as part of our 14–19 White Paper reforms.


Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many volunteering positions her Department has offered in each of the last five years. [17871]

Maria Eagle: My Department does not hold data on the number of volunteering positions offered in each of the last five years and could provide the information only at disproportionate cost.

My Department is committed to offering volunteering opportunities to staff and to provide release time to undertake them. We have published a
19 Oct 2005 : Column 1051W
volunteering strategy and as of 1 October 2005, 246 staff members have taken part in volunteering activities in various capacities. Of this number, 102 are school governors and 12 mentors at universities. In addition, 132 staff are participating in volunteering activities in their local communities as part of the Community Service Volunteers initiative in November 2005. Another 44 have been trained as mentors for primary, secondary and university students.

My Department remains committed to volunteering activity and working closely with Community Service Volunteers to increase the number of volunteering opportunities available to staff.

Youth Services

Edward Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much public funding was available for youth services in (a) England, (b) South Yorkshire and (c) Doncaster North in each of the last 10 years. [15067]

Phil Hope: Youth services are funded through the local authority and information about the level of funding is collected by local education authority (LEA) area. This information has only been available separately since 2000. Therefore, I am in a position to give funding levels for the Youth Service in England as a whole, and for the Youth Service within South Yorkshire and Doncaster by LEA area, from that date. However, it is not possible to provide information about Youth Service funding below LEA level in order to show the funding for Doncaster North.
Youth Service funding levels

Financial yearEnglandSouth YorkshireDoncaster LEA
2001–02306,761,6059,668,2171 ,904,340


Serious and Complex Cases

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Solicitor-General pursuant to the answers of 10 October 2005, Official Report, columns 1–2W, if he will list those serious and complex cases in which all proceedings are complete about which the Army Prosecution Authority consulted the Attorney-General since 1997. [17303]

The Solicitor-General: The Army Prosecuting Authority (APA) routinely consults the Attorney-General before directing trial in serious cases where there is joint jurisdiction. For instance a court martial has jurisdiction in cases where a person subject to military law faces a charge before court martial of murder/manslaughter committed outside the United Kingdom. Consequently, before directing trial in cases
19 Oct 2005 : Column 1052W
of murder or manslaughter committed outside of the United Kingdom the APA would consult the Attorney-General as a matter of course.

In cases of offences committed against the criminal law of England and Wales, but committed outside of the United Kingdom and where the defendant has ceased to be subject to military law since committing the offence the APA is obliged by statute to obtain the consent of the Attorney-General before directing trial (section 132, sub-section 3A of the Army Act 1955).

Recently the APA has consulted the Attorney-General regarding allegations of serious offences committed on military operations in Iraq. The Attorney-General has undertaken to inform Parliament when charges are brought in such cases.


Mr. Gibb: To ask the Solicitor-General how many volunteering positions the Law Officers' Department have offered in each of the last five years. [17881]

The Solicitor-General: This answer covers the following Departments for which I am an accountable Minister, namely the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSol), HM CPS Inspectorate (HMCPSI), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO),

Crown Prosecution Service

The CPS supports volunteering in the community. It has a policy in place to encourage staff to share their knowledge, skills and lime, which includes the provision of one day's paid. leave.

In addition, the Department has sponsored 53 staff in the last five years to take part in the Prince's Trust Volunteer Scheme and has just launched a campaign to encourage staff to join the Government Legal Service and Institute of Paralegals Pro-bono Schemes.

The number of staff who undertake voluntary work is not recorded centrally. This information can, therefore, be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


TSol does not offer volunteering positions itself but as a member of the Government Legal Service (GLS) has had a number of staff who have volunteered for the GLS Pro Bono Network, or as a magistrate, school governor or trustee of a charity.

Additionally Treasury Solicitor's Department signed up to the Government's 'Active Communities Challenge' in April 2001, which allows staff one day's paid special leave per year to undertake 'community or voluntary work which is for the benefit of others outside their immediate friends and family'. The take up of this leave allowance in each of the last five years has been;
IndividualsDays total

(24)To date

19 Oct 2005 : Column 1053W


Since 2000 HMCPSI has invited suitably informed members of the public, nominated by national organisations, to join the inspection process as lay inspectors, These inspectors are unpaid volunteers who examine the way in which the CPS relates to the public, through its dealings with witnesses and victims, its external communication and liaison, its handling of complaints and the application of the public interest test contained in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

The numbers recruited per year has decreased as only one lay inspector is needed for each inspection, and the policy is that all lay inspectors to have an opportunity to join an inspection team for two to four days throughout the year.
New lay inspectors inducted

HMCPSI also allows staff to apply for special leave for participating in voluntary service. We currently have one member of staff who is granted two days per year for voluntary work.


The SFO has offered and filled one volunteering position in the last five years. This was in 2003 and as part of the Prince's Trust Volunteer Scheme.


RCPO, as a new Department, has not yet finalised a volunteering strategy but will consider requests under the current provision for special leave.

RCPO does not maintain a central record of special leave.

Next Section Index Home Page