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18 July 2006 : Column 322W—continued

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) vacancies and (b) temporary replacements there are for head teachers in (i) rural and (ii) non-rural areas; and if he will make a statement. [84747]

Jim Knight: The information is not available in the format requested.

The following table provides the number of full-time head teacher vacancies and temporarily filled vacancies in January 2006 (provisional), the latest information available.

Full-time head teacher vacancies and full-time temporarily filled head teacher posts in local authority maintained schools in England, January 2006( 1)
All maintained schools Maintained secondary schools

Full-time head teacher vacancies



Full-time temporarily filled head teacher posts(2)



(1 )Provisional. (2 )Temporarily-filled full-time permanent appointments. The definition used is wider than the vacancy definition (bullet points b and c below are in addition to the normal vacancy definition). A post is included in this row of the table: a. where there is no incumbent who is expected to return to the post; b. whether or not filled on a temporary basis, i.e. either without a contract or on a contract of less than one year; c. whether or not advertised; d. where an appointment has been made but not yet taken up. Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Source: Survey of teachers in service and teacher vacancies, (618g).

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many vacancies there were for (a) infant, (b) primary and (c) secondary school (i) teachers and (ii) head teachers in (A) Greater London and (B) the London borough of Bexley in the most recent 12 months for which figures are available. [85987]

Jim Knight: The following table provides the number of full-time primary and secondary school vacancies for head and other teachers in the London Government Office Region and Bexley local authority in January 2005. Vacancies are those that existed at the
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survey date and not for the full 12 month period. Infant school vacancies are included with primary schools and are not available separately.

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Vacancy information for 2006 at local authority and regional level by phase of education will be published in September.

Full-time vacancy( 1) numbers in London government office regions and Bexley local authority by grade and phase of education, January 2005
Nursery and primary Secondary


Head teachers



Other teachers(2)







Head teachers



Other teachers(2)






(1) A vacancy refers to full-time appointment of at least one term’s duration that, on the survey date in January, had been advertised but not filled. Vacancies include those filled on a temporary basis unless filled by someone with a fixed term contract of one term or more. (2) Includes vacancies for deputy and assistant head teachers, ASTs and post threshold and other qualified classroom grade teachers. Source: Annual survey of teachers in service and teacher vacancies, (618 g)

Venture Capital Funds

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many locally based venture capital funds have been set up since 1999. [84790]

Margaret Hodge: I have been asked to reply.

DTI does not operate locally based venture capital funds. To discover the number of funds run by others, including local authorities, would incur disproportionate cost.

The Small Business Service has invested in nine Regional Venture Capital Funds and three Early Growth Funds with a regional focus.

Minister for Women

Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force

Ms Butler: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what progress has been made with the work of the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force. [82484]

Mr. Jim Murphy: I have been asked to reply.

The Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force (EMETF) has met regularly since its inception in 2003. Details of its work to fulfil the recommendations of the Strategy Unit's report, “Ethnic Minorities and the Labour Market” (March 2003), have been presented annually to the Economic Affairs, Productivity and Competitiveness (EAPC) by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and are available at and copies have been placed in the Library.

In 2005, the Task Force was also given responsibility for taking forward the main conclusions of the National Employment Panel's report: “Enterprising People: Enterprising Places” (May 2005). Current priorities include work on the City Strategy; developing an outreach service to focus on non-working ethnic minority partners in low income households; expanding the data and research evidence base; and developing the opportunities presented by the Olympics to raise ethnic minority employment.

The third EMETF annual report will be published later this year and will include the findings of the independent review to be undertaken in the Autumn. The EMETF is supported and advised by the Ethnic Minority Advisory Group (EMAG) which has a membership comprising members of the ethnic minority voluntary, business and training sectors, faith groups, academics and its chair sits on the EMETF.

Constitutional Affairs


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what guidance the Information Commissioner has given to (a) local education authorities and (b) local authorities on the collection and the use of biometric identification, including fingerprint recognition, for the provision of local authority services. [85547]

Vera Baird: I understand that the Information Commissioner has received inquiries from a range of public authorities about the use of biometrics for the delivery of services, and that he has provided guidance in response to the specific inquiries. He has not issued generic guidance on the use of biometric identification.

Care Cases

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps her Department is taking to increase the proportion of care cases being completed in the courts within 40 weeks by 10 per cent. by 2009-10. [85456]

Ms Harman: DCA is working with DfES, the Welsh Assembly, the judiciary, local authorities and other delivery agencies to increase the proportion of cases completed in 40 weeks by implementing the
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recommendations of the “Review of the Child Care Proceedings System in England and Wales” (published May 2006). This work seeks to reduce delay by focusing on seven key areas:

Revised statutory guidance for local authorities and new practice directions/protocols for courts will underpin case management processes.

Actions in the past year which are expected to affect the proportion of cases completed in 40 weeks include;

Chelmsford Court (PFI)

Mr. Burns: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the status is of the Chelmsford magistrates/coroner’s court private finance initiative scheme; when she expects work (a) to commence and (b) to be completed on the building project; and if she will make a statement. [84847]

Ms Harman: The Essex magistrates court scheme, of which Chelmsford is part, continues to be within the programme of new court projects. My Department is still finalising investment plans, as part of the development of a Business and Estates Strategy for Her Majesty’s Court Service (HMCS). A further announcement will be made once spending plans have been agreed with Treasury. In March 2006 HMCS purchased a site for the new courthouse in Chelmsford and outline planning approval has been obtained.

Disputes Resolution

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps her Department is taking to increase the advice and assistance available to help people resolve their disputes earlier and more effectively. [85455]

Vera Baird: In line with the strategy set out in the recent “Getting Earlier, Better Advice to Vulnerable People” document my Department is encouraging closer working among advice leads across Whitehall. This will ensure more effective referral networks are in place so that people get the service they need regardless of their point of access to the system.

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My Department is supporting the Legal Services Commission as it implements its new community legal service strategy. In 2005-06 over 708,000 new civil legal aid cases were started by the Legal Services Commission, the highest at any point since 2000.

The DCA also provides funding to the LawWorks project, which aims to increase the delivery of free legal advice to individuals and communities in need.

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 4 July 2006, Official Report, column 970W, what assumption for planning purposes she has made of the number of incapacity benefit appeal cases (a) by the end of 2006-07 and (b) in each of the subsequent two years. [83882]

Vera Baird: The latest work load forecasts for incapacity benefit appeals are as follows. The Government have recently announced plans to replace incapacity benefit through measures in the Welfare Reform Bill currently before Parliament which could have an impact on those figures.








Special Advocates

Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many statements have been made on behalf of (a) murder and (b) manslaughter victims by special advocates. [84527]

Ms Harman: The scheme applies to such cases where a charge is brought on or after 24 April 2006 in one of the five pilot areas. None has yet come to trial or resulted in a guilty plea.

Culture, Media and Sport

Slave Trade

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to commemorate in Liverpool the bicentenary of the Act to abolish the British slave trade. [86289]

Mr. Lammy: My Department is committing £250,000 per year towards the running costs of National Museums Liverpool's new International Slavery Museum, which will open on 23 August 2007. National Museums Liverpool is a partner in the understanding slavery initiative museums education project, which supports the teaching of slavery in the classroom. National Museums Liverpool are part of the cross government advisory group on the bicentenary, which is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister.

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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether she plans to take steps to (a) regulate and (b) place advertising restrictions on betting operators not licensed in the UK; and if she will make a statement. [86105]

Mr. Caborn: The Advertising Standards Authority is working with the Gambling Commission to draw up new codes for gambling advertising, on which it will begin consulting shortly. The Secretary of State also has reserve powers under the Gambling Act 2005 to make regulations with regard to the form, content, timing and location of gambling advertising. She will not hesitate to use these powers if it becomes clear that self-regulation is not sufficient to protect children and vulnerable people from exploitation. Both the ASA codes and any Secretary of State regulations will apply to all non-broadcast advertising by gambling operators, wherever they are licensed.

Ofcom will continue to set, review and revise standards for broadcast advertising by gambling operators. In doing so Ofcom must consult with the Gambling Commission, and reflect any relevant regulations made by the Secretary of State.

Under the Gambling Act 2005 the Gambling Commission has the power to attach a condition to the licences it issues making provision for how gambling facilities may be advertised or described.

In addition, Section 331 of the Gambling Act prohibits any gambling operator based outside the European Economic Area or Gibraltar from advertising in the UK unless a specific exemption has been made for that jurisdiction under sub-section 331(4).

Historic Environment Sites

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made towards increasing the numbers visiting designated historic environment sites by 3 per cent. by 2008. [85457]

Mr. Lammy: We are working closely with English Heritage, the National Trust and others on a broad range of policies and programmes to increase participation in the historic environment by the priority groups.

Performance is measured by the “Taking Part” survey and interim results indicate that currently 47 per cent. black and minority ethnic people, 58 per cent. of people with limiting disabilities and 57 per cent. of people from lower socio-economic groups have visited at least one type of historic environment site during the past year. Final baselines will be available at the end of the year, but performance against the target will not be assessed until the end of the target period in 2008.

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