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2 Mar 2006 : Column 856W—continued


Ministerial Visits

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what official business she undertook on her new year visit to Tunisia. [55246]

Tessa Jowell: None.

Voluntary Organisations (Compact Agreements)

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with which voluntary organisations her Department has a formal national Compact agreement. [50270]

Mr. Caborn: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Paul Goggins) on 27 February 2006, Official Report, column 107W.
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Child Care Provision

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many child care places have closed in each year since 1980, broken down by type. [50797]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 15 February 2006]: We are unable to provide figures for annual closures of childcare places for the period prior to 1998, and cannot provide details of closures of places with child minders for years prior to 2001.

The numbers of places closing each year from 1998 onwards are as shown in the following table:
Full daycareOut of schoolChild minder

The net increase in the stock of each of these types of child care between 1999/2000 and 2004/05 is 253,775 full daycare places, 215,439 out of school places and 11,163 child minder places.

Children's Information Services

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she expects the remit of the Children's Information Services to be extended to provide information for parents of children up to of age 19 years. [53573]

Beverley Hughes: Clause 12 of the Childcare Bill, currently before Parliament, would place an extended duty on English local authorities to provide information on services, facilities or publications which may be of benefit to parents, prospective parents, children and young persons in their area. Children and young persons include all persons up to their 20th birthday. The Bill builds on the current duty in section 118A of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, as amended by section 149 of the 2002 Education Act, to provide information on the provision of child care and related services. Authorities fulfil the duty by running children's information services (CISs). Many CISs are already making good progress in extending their services. We will encourage local authorities to move towards ensuring their information services provide the facilities envisaged in the Bill, so that, subject to parliamentary approval, the full service is ready when the duty comes into force, which is planned for April 2008.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the draft guidance on information sharing for all practitioners who work with children, young people and families. [53579]

Beverley Hughes: Consultation on the draft cross-Government information sharing guidance for practitioners working with children, young people and
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families ran from 23 August to 15 November 2005. A total of 257 responses was received from a wide range of statutory and voluntary bodies and professional and representative organisations. We also consulted with children and young people themselves. We are now refining the guidance in the light of comments we have received and intend to publish the revised guidance in the spring.

Lifelong Learning

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made in introducing a new accountability system for (a) funding, (b) planning, (c) monitoring, (d) audit and (e) inspection arrangements for (i) colleges and (ii) other educational providers in the lifelong learning sector. [53536]

Bill Rammell: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has a statutory responsibility to plan and fund high quality education and training to deliver Government's priorities and targets for post-16 learning and skills. The LSC's agenda for change" published in August 2005 set out proposals for a programme of radical transformation in response to the challenge of developing an effective, efficient and dynamic learning and skills sector. Their proposals, including those for simplifying funding and streamlining data collection and monitoring, have been well received by colleges and other providers in the sector. We have made significant progress by reducing the audit burden on colleges through abolishing the detailed end-year funding claim and reconciliation for most institutions. In addition, the inspectorates introduced a lighter touch inspection regime last year which will further reduce bureaucracy for providers. Building on Success for All" and responding to the challenges set out by Sir Andrew Foster in Realising the Potential" the Government will soon be publishing their own proposals for reforming the sector.

National Service Framework

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the implementation of the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services. [53576]

Beverley Hughes: The National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services is a key element for delivering the Government's Every Child Matters agenda. It will help to deliver the five outcomes: being healthy and staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well being. The NSF is a 10-year programme and by 2014 we expect health, social care and education services to have met the standards set out in it.

Procurement Policy

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures she has taken to improve procurement in the children, young people and families sector; and what savings have been made as a consequence. [53417]

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Beverley Hughes: This Government are committed to improving efficiency and value for money in education and has taken a number of steps to achieve this in the children young people and families sector, including:

We will be measuring efficiency gains from a range of specific initiatives which contribute to our Gershon efficiency target, including those in the children, young people and families sector. These are set out in our Efficiency Technical Note at In most cases, the gains are recyclable at the frontline into other activities rather than being clawed back by the Department. The Department is reporting progress towards our overall efficiency target through existing departmental reporting processes. We reported progress towards our target in the Department's Autumn Performance Report and will report further progress in the Departmental Annual Report which we expect to publish in April.

Student Bankruptcies

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many undergraduate students declared themselves bankrupt in London in 2005. [54707]

Bill Rammell: 48 borrowers with publicly owned student loans, whose awarding local authority is in London, have so far informed the Student Loans Company that they became bankrupt in calendar year 2005. There may be delays between borrowers becoming bankrupt and notifying the Student Loans Company, therefore this figure could increase in future.
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Figures separately identifying borrowers who took out loans as undergraduates from those who took out loans to fund postgraduate initial teacher training courses, are not available.

The Higher Education Act 2004 included provisions to prevent student loans being written off on discharge from bankruptcy. However bankrupt borrowers continue to benefit from the same non-commercial loan terms as other borrowers, with subsidised interest rates and no obligation to repay if their annual income is below £15,000.

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