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19 Dec 2006 : Column 1882W—continued

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 28 November 2006, Official Report, column 509W, on private finance initiatives, what his Department's total contribution was towards repayment during the total length of the contract for each project listed in the table placed in the Library. [110079]

Jim Knight [holding answer 18 December 2006]: PFI contracts for the delivery of schools are contracts between local authorities and private sector contractors and the Department is not party to them. The Department does not contribute directly to the unitary charge (which covers the cost of the managed service provided as well as the cost of capital repayment) paid by the local authority to the contractor during the duration of the contract.

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his Answer of 28 November 2006, Official Report, column 509W, on the private finance initiatives, and the table deposited in the Library, what the (a) total cost of repayments and (b) period of repayments is for each project listed. [109223]

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Jim Knight: The table deposited in the House Library includes the information which the Department holds. As I said in my reply of 28 November, the Department does not hold complete detailed information on the total cost to local authorities of such contracts. In any event, the payments made by local authorities to private sector contractors not only cover the repayment of the capital invested but also pay for the managed service provided. The information we have provided in the table placed in the House Library has been estimated by the Department on the basis of returns from the local authorities concerned, and some of the returns are incomplete. Generally, school PFI contracts are for a period of between 25 and 30 years.

Public Finance Contracts

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total liability to his Department would be in circumstances of immediate termination of all (a) public/private partnerships and (b) public finance initiative contracts. [109299]

Jim Knight: The Department for Education and Skills is not party to any current public/private partnerships nor any private finance initiative contracts.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) public-private partnerships and (b) private finance initiative contracts have been entered into by his Department; what assets were transferred to the private sector as part of each deal; what the value of these assets was; what the total cost is of each contract; and what estimate was made of the cost to his Department of traditional procurement over the life of each contract. [109339]

Jim Knight: The information is as follows:

(a) The Department has only entered into one public-private partnership (PPP) agreement, in July 2001, which was with Capita Business Services Ltd. for management and delivery of the Connexions Card. The PPP Agreement budget was £108.8 million (originally £109.7 million) for the period September 2001 to December 2008. However, the Department announced on 9 June 2006 that the Connexions Card scheme was to close early. The PPP Agreement was terminated on 5 August 2006.

Ownership of Departmental assets was not transferred to Capita. The public sector comparator calculation made at the time showed that the cost of the Connexions Card PPP was likely to be in the mid range of estimated costs of a comparable traditional procurement. But this was not the key factor in deciding to use a PPP; more important was the ability of a partner organisation to manage, develop and implement complex smart card technology and also have commercial expertise to negotiate rewards and discounts associated with the Connexions Card.

(b) The Department itself has not entered into any private finance initiative contracts.

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Pupils: Exclusions

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what sub-categories of exclusions are included in the figure listed under “Other” for exclusions in London referred to in his answer of 18 April 2006, Official Report, columns 176-78. [108474]

Jim Knight: Schools and local authorities select from the following list which category best describes the reason for exclusion.

Sub-categories of these twelve reasons for exclusion are not collected centrally. The 'other' category should be used when the reason for exclusion is not adequately described by the other eleven categories given in the list.

Rural Support

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what programmes of support his Department makes available to rural areas; and what the cost of such programmes is expected to be in 2007-08. [108248]

Jim Knight: The Department for Education and Skills continues to work closely with Defra and the Commission for Rural Communities to support the delivery of education in rural areas.

The General Sure Start Grant (£1.5 billion in 2007-08) supports the delivery of Sure Start children's centres, extended schools and sufficient quality child care across the country including rural areas. Allocations to local authorities for Sure Start children's centres and extended schools include rural weighting to take into account the higher costs of delivering services to dispersed rural communities.

We recognise that local schools are at the heart of many rural communities. Guidance to School Organisation Committees on the presumption against the closure of rural schools has been strengthened.

School Nursing

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made towards developing a national programme for best practice in school nursing. [105369]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I have been asked to reply.

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As part of “Choosing Health”, the Department has produced a number of publications for school nurses, schools and young people on the modern role of school nurses. The school nursing practice development resource pack, 2006, provides a framework for good practice in school nursing in England. National standards for school nurse training are set down by the regulatory body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

School Playing Fields

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school playing fields there were in (a) May 1997 and (b) the most recent period for which figures are available. [109575]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not held centrally. We requested data on school playing fields from local authorities in 2001 and 2003 but the information provided was not complete and of variable quality, and it was not possible to assess the number of school playing fields.

Since 1997, the Secretary of State has granted consent to 174 applications from local authorities and schools that result in the loss of an area of grassed land that could comprise a school sports pitch of at least 2,000m(2). Of these, 74 related to playing fields at closed or closing schools.

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Schools: Admissions

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school admission appeals there were in each of the last 10 years, broken down by local authority area. [108825]

Jim Knight: The information requested has been placed in the Library.

Skills Bodies

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much has been spent on (a) redundancy, (b) merger, (c) infrastructure charges and (d) equipment costs of reorganisations of (i) learning and skills councils, (ii) training and enterprise councils, (iii) sector skills councils, (iv) the Learning and Skills Development Agency, (v) the Quality Improvement Agency and (vi) the Institute for Learning and Lifelong Learning UK in each year since 1997. [103672]

Bill Rammell: The following table provides information for the organisations by year from 2000-01 to 2006-07. There is no identifiable expenditure in the specified areas for the years 1997 to 2000. Blank boxes in the table also indicate that there is no identifiable expenditure for the organisations in these areas. The notes in the table provide a brief explanation for the organisations.

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19 Dec 2006 : Column 1888W
Learning and Skills Council Training and Enterprise Council Sector Skills Councils LSDA QIA Institute for Learning Lifelong Learning UK
Cost type Redundancies Wind down costs Costs not incurred in the areas specified (a) Infrastructure charges (a) Infrastructure charges Costs not incurred in the areas specified Costs not incurred in the areas specified
(b) Redundancies (b) Equipment costs


(a) 610

(b) 200



(a) 25

(b) 566











(i) Learning and Skills Council (set up in 2001)
The total costs of redundancies are set out above. These are the only costs separately identifiable as being the direct cost of re-organisation.
The figure for 2005-06 includes an accounting provision for the ongoing costs of the LSC’s current Agenda for Change “Theme 7” re-organisation. Most of these costs will be incurred in 2006-07. In addition the 2005-06 accounts include further accounting provisions for the property costs of re-organisation (£18 million) and other related HR and Training costs (£3.4 million).
The 2003-04 redundancy costs were as a result of a major reshaping exercise undertaken at the time by the LSC to increase efficiency, reduce staffing costs, and to ensure that it had the capacity and skills to deliver the targets set.
The redundancy costs in 2001-02 related to costs incurred as a result of the creation of the LSC from the FEFC and the TEC network.
(ii) Training and Enterprise Council (set up in April 1990, disbanded March 2001).
The TECs ceased business on 26 March 2001 and the costs above relate to wind-down costs. These costs were recorded in the TEC/CCTE statutory accounts in 2000-01.
The costs were not presented by TECs in a consistent format and we cannot accurately disaggregate specific redundancy costs.
There are no specific TEC merger costs recorded. The last TEC merger took place on 1 April 1997, when Focus Central London TEC was formed from the merger of CILNTEC and CENTEC. We are not aware of any costs relating to redundancies, equipment costs or infrastructure changes before the TECs were wound down.
(iii) Sector Skills Councils (set up between 2002 and 2005)
Since coming into being between 2002 and 2005 the Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) have not been subject to reorganisations and hence they have not incurred any costs as a result of reorganisation for redundancy, merger, infrastructure charges or equipment costs.
(iv) The Learning and Skills Development Agency (set up in November 2000, disbanded in March 2006).
The costs above relate to the disbanding of the LSDA in March 2006. Its activities have been taken over by the QIA as part of a rationalisation of the quality improvement landscape in the FE sector.
(v) the Quality Improvement Agency (set up in April 2006)
The costs relate to the setting up of the QIA in April 2006.
(vi) the Institute for Learning (set up in 2002)
We are not aware of any costs relating to redundancy, merger, infrastructure or equipment costs of reorganisations.
(vii) Lifelong Learning UK (set up in June 2004)
We are not aware of any costs relating to redundancy, merger, infrastructure or equipment costs of reorganisations.

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