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26 Nov 2007 : Column 265Wcontinued
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research he has commissioned into the causes of the recent increase in the number of (a) babies, (b) children and (c) young people taken into care; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: No such research has been commissioned. The numbers of children, by age, who were taken into care(1) in England in each of the past four years were as follows:
(1) Children taken into care are those who became looked after during the course of the year under a care order or were detained for child protection.
|Age on starting to be looked after (years)||Number of children|
1. Only the first occasion on which a child started to be looked after in the year has been counted.
2. Historical data may differ from older publications. This is mainly due to the implementation of amendments and corrections sent by some local authorities after the publication date of previous materials.
SSDA903 return on children looked after.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress has been made by his Department in improving protection for children from sex offenders; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: The safety of children and young people, including their protection from sex offenders, is a top priority. The Department for Children, Schools and Families is working with the Home Office and the Department of Health to introduce the toughest ever vetting and barring system, under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, for all those working with, or seeking to work with, children and vulnerable adults. This will incorporate a robust, independent and expert barring process and will provide a modern and improved vetting service for employers, including parents. Pending the implementation of this new vetting and barring service, we have strengthened existing arrangements in a number of ways. We have extended the range of offences which will result in automatic inclusion on List 99 to include cautions as well as convictions for sexual offences against children. We have strengthened and clarified the requirements for safe recruitment in schools and further education colleges and required better record keeping on recruitment checks from these institutions.
On 13 June 2007, the Home Office published the Review of the Protection of Children from Sex Offenders. This set out a number of actions to help improve the protection of children from sex offenders. Work is underway to put these steps in place.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what departmental assets are planned to be sold in each financial year from 2007-08 to 2010-11; what the (a) description and (b) book value of each asset is; what the expected revenue from each sale is; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: The Department will be publishing an asset management strategy in December 2007, which will provide details of our planned disposals up to 2010-11.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what efficiency savings projects his Department put in place under the Spending Review 2004 targets; on what date each was initiated; how much each was expected to contribute to the target; how much has been saved by each; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: The Department is jointly committed with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), to the efficiency target set originally for the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).
The DfES target is 2.5 per cent. a year over the Spending Review 2004 period. This means being able to demonstrate cumulative gains against our baseline of £1.45 billion in 2005-06, £2.9 billion in 2006-07 and £4.35 billion in 2007-08.
The Department put in place an Efficiency Programme to manage the efficiency gains. Details of this programme and the initiatives which underpin it are detailed in the Efficiency Technical Note which can be found on the Departments website.
The Department reports progress towards our Gershon target in the Departments Autumn Performance Report. This is about to be published in December 2007.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of his departmental staff were previously employed by other departments, broken down by the other departments concerned. 
Kevin Brennan: The Department was created as part of the Machinery of Government changes announced on 28 June 2007. The vast majority of our staff are from the former Department for Education and Skills, with the exception of 40 staff who transferred in from the Home Office as the Respect Task Force, now known as the Youth Task Force and part of Youth Directorate in my Department. This represents around 1.4 per cent. of our staffing headcount total of 2,931 staff.
Mr. Laws: 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. 
Kevin Brennan: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 30 October, Official Report , column 1131W.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what payments his Department and its predecessors made to Geronimo Communications in each year since 1997. 
Kevin Brennan: Details of payments made to Geronimo Communication by the Department and its predecessors over the last nine years are set out as follows:
The data were requested for the last 11 years, however, the Department is only able to supply nine years. The Department is only required to retain financial records and original documentation for six years after the end of the financial year in which the transaction took place.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families was created on 28 June 2007 as a result of a Machinery of Government change and the expenditure recorded above includes those of the two predecessor departments, the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) and the Department of Education and Skills (DfES). The expenditure for 2007-08 will also include any costs incurred by the newly created Department for Universities, Innovation and Skills, where these costs relate to areas formerly the responsibility of the Department for Education and Skills.
James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) when training programmes provided by the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners are expected to begin; 
(2) how much funding his Department has committed to the establishment of the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners. 
Beverley Hughes: The Academy has already begun delivering training programmes. There are two strands. The first, which began in September, is training practitioners across the country in Sure Start Children Centres, Extended Schools, Youth Offending Teams and other local settings, including voluntary and community groups, in skills for working effectively with parents. The second strand, to be offered initially from January 2008, is training practitioners to deliver established evidence-based parenting skills courses.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families has committed a total of £30 million in grant funding to the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners over the three year period, 2007-10. The Academys purpose is to improve the skills of the work force in working effectively with families and ensure there are sufficient practitioners trained to deliver evidence-based parenting programmes. It will map existing parenting support provision across the country in order to identify under-served locations and groups; and conduct research, including evaluating specialist parenting programmes, for example for foster parents.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the levels of numeracy and literacy are among primary school leavers in (a) Romford and (b) the London borough of Havering. 
Levels of literacy and numeracy in primary school leavers are most conveniently measured by the
proportions of children gaining national curriculum level 4 and above in English and mathematics, since this represents the expected national standard. Information on the percentages of 11-year-olds in Romford and Havering achieving these levels since 1997 is provided in the following table. Constituency level figures are not yet available for 2006/07, but will be published on the Department's website in December.
|Key stage 2 level 4+|
Figures for 2006-07 are provisional, all other figures are final.
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