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27 Nov 2007 : Column 376Wcontinued
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions he had with the Scottish Executive on the allocation of additional funding to Scotland for expenditure on disabled children and their families arising from the Government's response to the 2006 review of support for disabled children and their families, Aiming High for Disabled Children; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 26 November2007]: No discussion between the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and Scottish Executive Ministers has occurred on this matter.
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales should receive settlements which reflect the increased CSR settlement for education and children's services in England announced at the time of the 2006 Budget. As part of this settlement, the Department has allocated £340 million to improve services for disabled children in England. This is equivalent to an increase of £34 million, £11 million and £20 million respectively for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. However, it will be up to the devolved Administrations to decide how much of their overall allocation should be directed to services for disabled children.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average length of time was which children whose safety had been identified as a possible cause for concern were required to wait for an initial assessment by social services in each local authority in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Kevin Brennan [holding answer 19 November 2007]: Data are not currently collected on the length of time children wait for an initial assessment by childrens social care services. Data are collected on what proportion of initial assessments are completed within the target timescale which is seven working days of children being referred to childrens social care. The figure for 2006-07 was 68 per cent. within the target timescale.
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what practical information and guidance will be given to local authorities to enable them to achieve good practice in relation to the new performance indicators for safeguarding children. 
Kevin Brennan [holding answer 22 November 2007]: The Government will provide guidance to local authorities on the operation of the national indicator set. It is now consulting on the detailed definitions of the set to ensure that the methodology for measuring individual national indicators at a local level is sound. The consultation seeks views on the methodology, frequency of reporting and data source of each individual indicator. The consultation can be accessed from:
In addition, on 20 November the Government published the second phase of the operational guidance to support the negotiation of local area agreements (LAAs). It explains how local strategic partnerships can use their local vision, evidence and the radically streamlined national indicator set to develop their LAA. It highlights the importance of engaging with councillors, communities, voluntary groups and businesses to agree shared priorities, a timetable for implementation and the new, more flexible arrangements for performance management and area based grant. The guidance is available on:
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether all local authorities will be required to comply with all the new indicators for the local authority performance framework on safeguarding children. 
Kevin Brennan: All top tier local authorities and their strategic partners will have to report back at least annually on their performance against all 198 cross-Government indicators in the new national set, which was published on 11 October 2007.
In addition, each area will agree with Government up to 35 improvement targetsplus the 16 statutory education and early years targetsdrawn from indicators in the national set. Local areas may also set themselves an unlimited number of local targets which will not be subject to central performance monitoring and which need not be drawn from the national indicator set.
From 2009 performance against all 198 national indicators will be published each year by the Audit Commission, as part of the inspectorates' comprehensive area assessment of local authorities. This will also report on each local authority's direction of travel and use of resources and will assess risks in the area.
To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what steps are being taken by (a) the Childrens Workforce Development
Council, (b) the Training and Development Agency and (c) the Childrens Workforce Network to define competencies for the childrens work force on supporting children with speech, language and communication difficulties; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the web portal developed by the Childrens Workforce Development Council to assist the childrens work force support children with speech, language and communication difficulties; 
(3) what assessment has been made by the Childrens Workforce Development Council of the merits of including speech, language and communication in (a) the Qualifications and Credit Framework and (b) the Integrated Qualifications Framework; what discussions his Department has had with the Childrens Workforce Development Council on including speech, language and communication into these frameworks; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: The Childrens Workforce Network is working together to consider the needs of children and young people with a range of disabilities including speech, language and communication. A key part of this work is embedding the common core for children, young people and families in all qualifications which support the childrens work force. The common core sets out the skills needed to communicate effectively with children and young people.
The Childrens Workforce Development Council (CWDC) is also working with the Network to consider future action to ensure that the work force has the right skills and qualifications to meet the needs of children and young people with disabilities. The Training and Development Agency has developed new National Occupational Standards for Supporting Teaching and Learning in schools which were developed in consultation with practitioners and include a specialist unit Support pupils with communication and interaction needs.
The Integrated Qualifications Framework (IQF) is currently in its testing phase and will not be fully operational until 2010. A suite of generic cross sector qualification units, based on the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge has been developed for the IQF. It is currently available as part of the test and trial of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) being developed by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. CWDC is working with partners, including DCSF and DIUS, who has responsibility for the QCF, to consider what else needs to be done to address the needs of children and young people with disabilities.
CWDCs web-based portal was launched on 26 September. It was developed with support from a wide range of partners and has been welcomed by practitioners. It is too early to say what impact it will have on the work force but CWDC is now working with partners to assess its use and consider how it can be further developed to ensure that the work force has access the right training and qualifications.
The Government have commissioned a review of services to children and young people with speech, language and communication needs, led by the hon. Member for Buckingham (John Bercow). It is examining work force issues in this area. The hon.
Member will produce an interim report in March 2008 and a final report, including recommendations to the Government, in July 2008. Contributions to the review can be made at:
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his most recent estimate is of spending on the Common Assessment Framework for each year from 2007-08 to 2015-16; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: The Common Assessment Framework process is part of the wide range of reforms under the ECM agenda, and so the costs are not identified separately. The allocation for ECM implementation is £63 million in 2007-08. This is part of the Childrens Services grant (2007-08: £193 million).
Introduction of the CAF is designed to be cost neutral with minimal implementation costs offset by anticipated efficiencies arising from improved ways of working.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether his Department plans to move any of its offices to Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency. 
Kevin Brennan: There are no plans for the Department for Children, Schools and Families to move any of its offices to Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which items in his Departments budget have been reclassified, according to the classifications in HM Treasurys Consolidated Budgeting Guidance, as a result of the decisions taken in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review; what the (a) former and (b) new (i) classification and (ii) sum budgeted is in each case; and what activity is supported by each item. 
Kevin Brennan: There are two such items that have been reclassified with HMT agreement as a result of the comprehensive spending review (CSR) 2007:
Academies Deliverythe Consolidated Budgeting Guidance (Chapter 4) permits the costs of direct frontline service provision or support activities that are directly associated with frontline service delivery within Departments to be classified as programme expenditure. In keeping with this, the Treasury has agreed to reclassify the costs of the Academies delivery function within the Department which has a value of £3.72 million in 2007-08.
Consultancyas a result of discussions with HMT about the classification of consultancy costs in the light of the 2007 Consolidated Budgeting Guidance (Chapter 4), the Department has reclassified £2.8 million of such costs from programme to administration with effect from 2008-09.
In addition to these two items, the Department is exploring with HMT a case to score as programme some staff early release costs resulting from the commitment
in the comprehensive spending review to deliver real terms savings of 5 per cent. year on year in administration costs. The Consolidated Budgeting Guidance (Chapter 4) permits such payments to be exceptionally scored as programme rather than administration where a case explicitly linked to improved efficiency has been agreed in advance with the Treasury.
The detail of all classification changes will be published in chapter 3 of the 2008 edition of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will take steps to ensure that English wine is served exclusively or at the request of guests at meals, parties and receptions hosted by his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: All public procurement procedures must comply with the EC Treaty. The key principles of the Treaty, from a public procurement point of view, are the free movement of goods and services, and non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality. This legislation is designed to ensure that all public procurement across the European Union is fair, transparent and non-discriminatory.
This means that this Department cannot specify that it will only buy goods (e.g. wine) from a particular country or locality, as that would discriminate against procedures from other EU member states.
However, the Government are committed to increase opportunities for small and local suppliers to tender for contracts, thus increasing competition and securing better value for money. This Department does this by advertising appropriate contracts on Contrax Online and Supply2gov and by reducing bureaucracy in the procurement process.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many people in his Department and its predecessors earned over £100,000 in each year since 1997. 
Kevin Brennan: The numbers of staff earning £100,000 or more for my and predecessor Departments since 2004 is provided as follows. Information before 2004, can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|Number of people|
Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department has spent on (a) citizens' juries, (b) focus groups and (c) other deliberative forms of public opinion research in each month since January 2006. 
Kevin Brennan: The information requested is as follows:
(a) The Department for Children, Schools and Families has conducted five citizen's juries since January 2006. The cost for the first jury in Bristol was £5,7047 inc. VAT. The total costs for the four deliberative debates in London, Leeds, Portsmouth and Birmingham was 467,704 inc vat.
(b) The Department also ran nine focus groups as part of the Time to Talk consultation in Sutton, Birmingham and Sheffield with children aged 11 to 16 to capture their views on the key issues and challenges. The total costs for the nine focus groups was £18,835.25 inc. VAT, this included the facilitation, analysis, and production of a short film of the events. Data on other focus groups since January 2006 are not readily available as we do not classify our research expenditure in this way, so we cannot break it down by these categories. To gather the information in such a way would incur disproportionate costs.
(c) The Department has not conducted any other deliberative debates since January 2006.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many citizens juries were arranged for his Department and its predecessors for each year between 1997 and June 2007; which organisations were commissioned to conduct each citizens jury; and what the cost was of each. 
Kevin Brennan: My Department did not arrange any citizens juries between 1997 and June 2007.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much Department for Children, Schools and Families headed notepaper his Department has bought; and at what cost. 
Kevin Brennan: The number of letter headed note paper purchased for Department for Children, Schools and Families was 281,000 sheets and the total spend was £5,262.35 for the period 28 June 2007 to 20 November 2007.
Mrs. Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will place in the Library a copy of the research his Department has commissioned on (a) the incidence of dyslexia and (b) the ways in which the condition affects families. 
Kevin Brennan: Data have been collected in the School Census since 2004 on the primary types of need of children with statements and at School Action Pluswhere the school involves external support or advice to meet the childs needs. Figures for January 2007 for pupils in schools with a specific learning difficulty (which includes dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia) show that there are 75,920 pupils either with a statement of SEN or supported at School Action Plus. The Department has not commissioned further research into the incidence of dyslexia.
To identify and disseminate best practice in improving outcomes for children with dyslexia, we are working with the British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Action, Xtraordinary People and the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties on the No to Failure Project. This project is supporting schools in three local authority areas to become project trailblazers, where children are being screened for dyslexia and individual specialist tuition is then provided to those who are identified as having dyslexia. The impact of this approach on outcomes is being evaluated. The project is also evaluating the impact of providing specialist dyslexia training for teachers, developing examples of good practice which can be extended nationally, and raising awareness of dyslexia as a learning difficulty. We are providing up to £900,000 funding over three years to support this project.
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