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Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he is taking together with (a) Jobcentre Plus and (b) the Department of Work and Pensions to improve coordination of education and training programmes in the post-16 sector. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department and the Learning and Skills Council are working closely with the Department of Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus to implement the proposals outlined in the document entitled World Class Skills: Implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England and the Green Paper entitled In Work, better off, both published in July this year.
There is a joint commitment to provide services to help low skilled people and those disadvantaged in the labour market into sustainable employment and progression in work and in skills. We will give greater ownership and choice to individuals over their training through skills accounts backed up by a new universal adult careers service promoting personal advancement. Jobcentre Plus has a pivotal role in ensuring its customers can access skills training both before and during employment. The LSC is ensuring that its budget is progressively spent on more responsive and flexible training tailored to the needs of the individual and local job opportunities. The LSC and Jobcentre Plus have had joint plans in place since 2005 across England that are reviewed regularly.
Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether any damages have been paid by local authorities to parents in care proceedings because of poor service delivery in the last 12 months. 
(2) how many and what proportion of registered childminders (a) had no qualifications, (b) were qualified to level 1 or 2, (c) were qualified to level 3 and (d) were qualified to level 4 or above in each year since 1997. 
Ofsted does not hold details about the qualifications held by registered child minders. Under the National standards for under 8s day care and childminding, child care qualifications are not a requirement for persons wishing to apply to act as a child minder. All applicants must complete a registration course approved by the local authority within six months of registration. Ofsted monitors child minders to make sure they have attended such a course.
Ofsted have produced figures on the numbers of registered child care providers and places on a quarterly basis from March 2003. Their latest figures were published in their report Registered Childcare Providers and Places, June 2007, which is available on their website,
The Department is committed to ensuring a greater proportion of the work force is qualified to levels 2 and 3 and to encourage continued professional development at all levels. Over the period 2006-08, the Department is funding early years workforce development through the transformation fund. Local authorities can use the fund to boost training at levels 3, 4 and 5 for the work force, including registered child minders, working in the PVI sector.
Local authorities have also been allocated significant funding from the comprehensive spending review (CSR) period to support work force development across the sector, with a clear focus on achieving level 3 qualifications.
Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many posts have been vacant in the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service for more than three months; 
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many civil law suits have been brought against his Department based either wholly or partially on the grounds provided by the Human Rights Act 1998; how many were settled out of court, before a court judgment was delivered; and how much such settlements cost the public purse since 1998. 
Kevin Brennan: The Department does not collect central records of cases brought against it in which grounds contained in the Human Rights Act 1998 have been relied and so the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance his Department follows on the maximum time taken to respond to hon. Members correspondence; and what performance against that target was in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Kevin Brennan: The Cabinet Office publishes guidance for Departments on Handling Correspondence from Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords. MEPs, and Members of Devolved Assemblies. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House and it is also available on the Cabinet Office website at:
The Cabinet Office also publishes on an annual basis, a report on Departments and agencies performance on handling Members and Peers correspondence. This includes the target set by each Department to reply to hon. Members, the number of letters received and the percentage of replies within target. The last report for 2006 was published by the then Minister for the Cabinet Office (Hilary Armstrong) on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 101-04WS.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on what date the transfer of functions order detailing the changes in his Department was laid before Parliament for approval. 
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what contingency preparations his Department made for the possibility of a general election in autumn 2007; and what the costs were of those preparations. 
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 18 October 2007, Official Report, column 1296-7W, on Departments: ICT, what estimate he has made of the cost of extracting the requested data; and what assessment he has made of the merits of extracting the data. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many people were employed by his Department and its predecessor on 1 January in each of the last five years; and how many of these staff were (a) permanent employees, (b) temporary staff and (c) contractors. 
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Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what percentage of employees in (a) his Department and (b) each (i) executive agency and (ii) non-departmental public body funded by his Department are above state retirement age. 
Kevin Brennan: The Department has implemented a number of new and changed policies since 27 June 2007. Ministers have kept Parliament fully informed of these changes. For example, the following have been announced:
a nationwide consultation with teachers, children's professionals, universities, colleges and the voluntary sector, parents, and children and young people themselves to draw up a children's plan for our country;
details of the first five new diplomas and plans for additional Diplomas in Science, Languages and the humanities to increase the options for 14 to 19-year-olds;
a new National Council for Educational Excellence to drive forward the Government's long term aspirations for children and young people's education;
a review of the teaching of maths to be led by Sir Peter Williams, chancellor of Leicester university and chair of the advisory committee on maths education;
a major consultation on children and young people's safety where we are seeking views from parents, children and young people, our partners and the children's workforce;
more rigorous inspection of pupil behaviour with Ofsted to issue strong new guidance to inspectors which will be clear that behaviour by pupils that has a negative impact on learning is unacceptable;
21.9 billion of capital investment allocations to local authorities to raise standards with state-of-the-art classroom, arts, sports and ICT facilities over the next three years;
£150 million assessment for learning training over the next three years to help teachers better track their pupils' progress and personalise their learning to stretch gifted children and help underachieving children catch-up;
a £265 million extended schools subsidy over the next three years to ensure that children from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit from extra out-of-hours tuition and after-school clubs in sport, music and drama.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when his (a) Ministers, (b) officials and (c) special advisers briefed journalists at the Financial Times on his statement on 10 July 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many staff are seconded to his Department from outside Government; from which outside body each has been seconded; and what the length is of each secondment. 
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