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Mr. David Jones: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans her Department has to implement the recommendations of the Law Commission on damages for non-pecuniary loss. 
Bridget Prentice: The Law Commission published its report on Damages for Personal Injury: Non-Pecuniary Loss in April 1999. In November 1999 the Government indicated that this was an area of the law which was in the courts independent sphere, and where it had no plans to legislate. That remains the case.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what her policy is on the recognition by the police of decisions reached by sharia courts held in England and Wales. 
Beverley Hughes: The number of children per registered full day care setting place was 1.6 in 2001, 1.5 in 2003 and 1.4 in 2005. 2005 is the latest date for which figures are available. The number of children enrolled is greater than the number of places, as part-time children can share a full time place.
These figures are based on findings from nationally representative surveys of registered child care and early years providers, which are commissioned by the Department. The survey began in 1998 and was repeated in 2001, 2002/03 and 2005. Therefore while it is possible to provide occupancy rates for places in full day care settings for 2001, 2002/03 and 2005 it is not possible to provide the relevant data for 2002 and 2003 separately or for 2004.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many home child carers have been approved since (a) the introduction of the Childcare Approval Scheme and (b) the beginning of 2006. 
Beverley Hughes: The Childcare Approval Scheme (CAS) approves carers who provide care in a childs own home and childminders who care for children aged eight and over. Since the introduction of the scheme in April 2005, 3,443 carers have been approved by the CAS. By 30 November 2006, 2,213 carers had been approved since the beginning of 2006.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many Sure Start childrens centres there are; and what progress has been made towards the 2008 target of 2,500 centres; 
(2) how many childrens centres were established in 2005-06; how many are forecast to be established in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; how many childrens places were available in 2005-06; and how many are forecast to be available in (i) 2006-07 and 2007-08; 
Beverley Hughes: As of 1 December 2006 there were 1,048 designated Sure Start childrens centres. We are on track to meet our 2008 target of 2,500 centres and our 2010 target of 3,500 childrens centres, one for every community.
There were 550 Sure Start childrens centres established in 2005-06. A further 336 centres were designated between April and November 2006 as local authorities completed the roll out of the first phase of the programme. Local authorities are responsible for planning and managing the delivery of childrens centres, and future designation dates are subject to change as they revise their plans. Authorities receive ongoing support and challenge from the Department to ensure their overall targets are met.
We do not centrally record the number of child care places available in childrens centres. Centres in the most disadvantaged areas cannot be designated without integrated early learning and child care for children under the age of five, but local authorities decide how many places can be sustained in a given area. However, we are implementing more sophisticated tracking systems for the second phase of the programme (2006-08) that will provide a clearer picture of services delivered.
There are currently no early years professionals although some people are currently receiving the
training. However, for a childrens centre to be designated it must employ a qualified teacher who spends half their working hours at the centre. The qualified teachers role is to lead the planning, development and delivery of the curriculum and lead on the observation and assessment of young childrens progress.
No assessment to date has been made of the effectiveness of Sure Start childrens centres which are still in the early stages of roll out and it is too early to assess what impact they are having. However, some childrens centres have been developed from earlier Sure Start funded settings such as Sure Start Local Programmes and evaluation of these programmes is under way. Lessons from this research are being used to inform the development of Sure Start childrens centres including the recently published Revised Sure Start Childrens Centres Practice Guidance and Planning and Performance Management Guidance for local authorities and Sure Start Childrens Centres.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many childrens trusts had been established by April 2006; and how many are forecast to have been established by the end of 2008. 
Beverley Hughes: The primary purpose of a childrens trust is to improve outcomes for children through the planning, commissioning and delivery of childrens services across education, social care and health.
All local areas have made significant progress towards this approach. All have completed or are in the process of completing a Children and Young Peoples Plan based on a joint needs assessment. At least 144 local authorities have or are in the process of appointing a Director of Childrens Services with responsibility for bringing together education and childrens social services. Many examples of emerging practice have now been published to facilitate shared learning from the most advanced childrens trusts on areas of childrens trust development such as joint planning and commissioning, information sharing and the pooling of budgets.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills by what mechanism consultancy contracts commissioned by his Department are reviewed for cost-effectiveness; who conducts these reviews; what records are maintained of such contracts; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: I refer my hon. Member to the written response my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills gave on 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 1362W, to his similar parliamentary question about mechanisms to monitor payment of external consultants.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the early support pilot programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: The early support programme operates in 45 Pathfinder local authority areas across the country, and in 2006-07 the principles of the programme are being extended to other local authorities across the country. An independent evaluation of the programme in the Pathfinder areas was carried out in 2006 by a team from the University of Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire. The evaluation found that across the Pathfinder areas, the programme has improved the planning and delivery of services to disabled children and their families, particularly through stronger joint working across those agencies involved in providing care and support for these children. It also highlighted the key challenges that many Pathfinder areas still face in successfully integrating services for disabled children around the needs of the child. As with all pathfinder projects, best practice from the programme will form the basis for extending and embedding the principles of Early Support across the country.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) independent and (b) maintained special schools there were in each year since 1997, broken down by local authority. 
Beverley Hughes: No estimate has been made of the average salary of Sure Start workers in each of the last four years. However, our 2006 survey of early years and childcare providers has, for the first time, identified Sure Start childrens centres as a separate category of provider. Data about the salary levels of those working in childrens centres will therefore be available when the survey findings are published next year.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much Government funding has been spent on Sure Start since 2 May 1997; how many children have participated in the scheme during that period; and how many were participating in the scheme in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Funding for programmes specifically to provide integrated services to pre-school children through Sure Start local programmes and
latterly, childrens centres, began in 1999. Between 1999 and March 2006, £2.1 billion(1) was spent by local partners to set up and run this provision.
Figures for the total number of children who have participated in Sure Start since 1999 have not been collected centrally. The number of children seen by Sure Start local programmes was monitored from 2001, but this data is incomplete as reporting from some programmes was irregular in the early stages. As of 1 December 2006, there were 1,048 designated childrens centres, a figure that includes the vast majority of the 524 Sure Start local programmes established originally. Over 800,000 children under five now have the opportunity to access childrens centre services, significant progress in our target to have a children centre for every community by March 2010.
(1) The total includes 2005-06 expenditure on Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs) and childrens centres which has been estimated using returns from local authorities and SSLPs, and should be treated as provisional. For childrens centres, the expenditure is based on unaudited expenditure returns from all local authorities. For SSLPs, the revenue expenditure is based on received unaudited expenditure returns and an estimate for those programmes where a return has not been received and the capital expenditure on payments made less estimated refunds.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of the child population in Northern Ireland was lifted out of poverty in each of the last five years; and what steps he is taking to increase the rate of uplift. 
Mr. Hanson: Data on child poverty is available only for the years 2002-03; 2003-04;2004-05. Between the first and second years the proportion of the child population in poverty remained the same. On the same measure between 2003-04 and 2004-05 there was a decrease of 2.5 per cent. this equates to around 11,000 children.
Lifetime Opportunities Governments Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Strategy, launched on 13 November includes a commitment to reducing child poverty by half by 2010 with a view to eradicating child poverty by 2020. Here this means lifting 65,000 children out of poverty by 2010, on the way to eradication by 2020.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent on press, public relations and communications work by (a) each (i) health and social services board and (ii) health trust in Northern Ireland and (b) the Health Estates Agency in (A) 2003-04, (B) 2004-05 and (C) 2005-06; what expenditure is planned by each for such work in 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. 
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