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24 July 2006 : Column 830Wcontinued
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 16 May 2006, Official Report, column 928W, on small business rate relief, how many small firms she estimates claimed relief in 2005-06; and if she will estimate the proportion of small firms who were eligible who claimed the relief. 
Mr. Woolas: This information is not held centrally.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what conclusions on (a) the relative merits of (i) private and (ii) public sector contracts for sports and leisure facilities and (b) the future letting of contracts for sport and leisure facilities she drew from the Audit Commission report Public Sports and Recreational Services. 
Mr. Caborn: I have been asked to reply.
I agree with the report's conclusion that there is no single best practice model for managing local authority leisure services. The report makes clear that both the public and private sector can provide good public leisure services for local communities where councils have taken decisions based on a robust options appraisal. It is important that councils, with support from Government, continue to get better at managing their leisure provision which is why I have asked Sport England to work closely with them in taking forward the Audit Commission's recommendations.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she will take to improve strategic planning in leisure services following the publication of the Audit Commission report Public Sports and Recreational Services. 
Mr. Caborn: I have been asked to reply.
We want to help local authorities to revitalise their leisure facilities and to ensure that the right sports facilities are in the right places. Sport England has already developed a range of strategic planning tools to assist them. These include, among others: the Active Places database, which provides a comprehensive picture of sports facilities across the country; the National Benchmarking Service; a Facilities Planning Model; and a Sports Facilities Demand Estimator. In addition, I have charged Sport England with the task of driving forward work with local authorities to improve the quality of their sports facilities and service delivery. They are creating an Improvement Unit to deliver this.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what research the Valuation Office Agency has undertaken in relation to developing (a) a national property database and (b) a National Spatial Data Infrastructure. 
Mr. Woolas: The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has maintained a national database of properties in England and Wales to enable it to discharge its statutory functions for many years.
The VOA has not researched the development of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 10 May 2006, Official Report, columns 956-57W, on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), when the VOAs communications strategy for the council tax revaluation was (a) submitted to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and (b) last (i) updated and (ii) amended by the VOA. 
Mr. Woolas: The answer given to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 10 May 2006, Official Report, columns 956-7W, explains that a communications strategy was being drafted by the Valuation Office Agency before the postponement of council tax revaluation in England, announced on 20 September 2005.
Working jointly with the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Agency worked on a proposed strategy from late 2003. The draft was last amended in April 2005 and has not been updated since, due to the postponement.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment the Government have made of whether the Valuation Office Agencys Automated Valuation Model holds sensitive personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998. 
Mr. Woolas: The Valuation Office Agencys Automated Valuation Model (AVM) is a processing tool and does not hold data.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many accidents have taken place in establishments for which his Department is responsible in the last 12 months; how many court cases have arisen as a result; how much has been awarded in (a) damages and (b) settlements; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department has received three personal injury claims relating to accidents on its premises, since 1 July 2005. Two of the cases are ongoing and one was settled out of court, at a cost to my Department of £479.99 to cover costs for physiotherapy and damage to personal property.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children whose parents have learning difficulties were adopted in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: We do not collect centrally information on parents of looked-after children therefore figures are not available for the number of children adopted whose parents have learning difficulties.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what advertising campaigns the Department has run between 2000 and June 2004; and what the (a) date and (b) cost was of each. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Departments total spend on advertising campaigns was:
It is not possible, except at disproportionate expense, to provide a more detailed breakdown for actual dates for when each campaign ran, other than detailing the Financial Year within which the expenditure occurred.
The Department runs a number of campaigns in support of our key delivery priorities, in order to inform our target audiences of how they are affected by our policies. All of our campaigns follow the guidelines which govern Government information on issues of propriety and cost.
Every campaign is measured vigorously against specific communication objectives using pre- and post-campaign research, to record shifts in awareness, attitudes, knowledge or behaviour among the target audience(s).
The Department employs tracking research to monitor these shifts over time and, typically, conducts telephone surveys of respondents to advertising campaigns, to monitor satisfaction with the services offered and actions taken as a result of the campaign. It routinely tests the likely effectiveness of different creative approaches on the target audience(s) through market research, as part of the development of advertising campaigns. Lessons learnt from previous campaigns are used to inform future ones.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what steps he plans to take to provide specialist teacher training for the support of children with autism in mainstream schooling; 
(2) what steps his Department is taking to support specialist teacher training for the support of children with autism in mainstream schooling. 
Mr. Dhanda: The framework for teacher training ensures that qualifying and newly qualified teachers, including those who support children with autism in mainstream schools, are aware of their responsibilities to children with special educational needs (SEN) and can plan effectively to meet these childrens needs. Further, in-service training on particular SEN, such as autism, is a matter for schools and local authorities.
In order to be awarded Qualified Teacher Status, all trainee teachers must demonstrate that they understand their responsibilities under the statutory Special Educational Needs Code of Practice, know how to seek advice from specialists on less common types of SEN, can differentiate their teaching to meet the needs of pupils, including those with SEN, and can identify and support pupils who experience behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.
The current standards for teachers are under review. Once revised, it is proposed that they will be strengthened to include a standard which requires teachers to know and comply with current legislation
on well-being of children and young people and one which requires teachers to know and understand the role of others when dealing with children who have special needs and/or disabilities.
Induction Standards require Newly Qualified Teachers to demonstrate that they can plan effectively to meet the needs of pupils in their classes with SEN, with or without a statement, and in consultation with the SEN Co-ordinator (SENCO), can contribute to the planning for individual needs.
The Departments published SEN Strategy, Removing Barriers to Achievement recognised the importance of training and committed us to work closely with the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) to ensure that initial teacher training and programmes of continuing professional development provide a good grounding in core skills and knowledge of SEN. We have commissioned the TDA to carry forward a range of initiatives designed to improve and strengthen the SEN skills and confidence of trainees, newly qualified and established teachers. These initiatives will be implemented over the period 2005-08 at a cost of approximately £1.1 million.
All schools receive a School Development Grant which they are able to use to support improvements in any aspect of teaching and learning. Local authorities may retain a proportion of this grant, under certain conditions, to provide specific training and development of SEN.
In 2002 we published jointly with the Department of Health, Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs): Good Practice Guidance which offered a series of pointers to good practice, including pointers on in-service training. The Guidance advises that,
all those who plan or provide for children with an ASD should have some knowledge and understanding of autism.
Many schools, local authorities and Regional Partnerships have used the Guidance to develop their autism provision. The West Midlands Regional Partnership last month published autism spectrum disorders: training policy and framework to ensure more consistency in ASD training by clarifying the knowledge and skills that courses are aiming to cover. This has been distributed to all the Regional Partnerships.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will publish the most recent review of the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency. 
Phil Hope: The most recent review of BECTA was published in March 2003. Copies of the reports are lodged in the Commons Library and are also available on BECTA's website:
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