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Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what expenditure his Department has incurred in countering social exclusion among young people (a) who have a disability, (b) who are lesbian, gay and bisexual, (c) from minority ethnic groups and (d) from rural areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: As we showed in the recent Childrens Plan, the policies and programmes we now have in place are designed to make England the best place in the world for children to grow up and meet their potential.
Aiming High for Disabled Children will provide a total of £430 million to local authorities in new investment in disabled childrens services during 2008-11 and additional funds to PCTs, to underpin delivery of a radical reform in services for disabled children and families. The Government want all disabled children to have the best start in life and the ongoing support that they and their families need to fulfil their potential;
Guidance to address bullying in schools Safe to Learn: embedding anti-bullying work in schools which includes specific guidance on tackling racist and homophobic bullying. We plan to add further guidance, in the spring, on how to tackle the bullying of disabled children. We have asked the Anti-Bullying Alliance and National Strategies to work with local authorities and schools to ensure the guidance is effectively influencing practice in schools. In the current year, we are spending £1.7 million on a range of anti-bullying initiatives and all of our programmes specifically look at how schools can prevent and tackle all forms of prejudice-driven bullying;
We are fully committed to narrowing and ultimately closing the gap in progress and attainment between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers. We have introduced targeted initiatives aimed at addressing specific areas of minority
ethnic underachievement and to enhance mainstream and specialist provision in schools. We are confident that the targeted programmes for specific groups which are already under way, together with the mainstream programme of personalised learning, will enable us to make substantial further progress to address underachievement. Raising the academic achievement of minority ethnic background pupils is a key priority for the Department;
We have provided £2 million to help fund a Schools Linking Network. This enables schools in different contexts and locations work together to share practice on inclusive teaching and develop opportunities to promote understanding of the issues experienced by children in different parts of the countryurban, suburban and ruralso promoting social inclusion. This network has been developed in response to the findings of Sir Keith Ajegbos review of Diversity and Citizenship in the Curriculum and the report from the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, chaired by Darra Singh; and
Through Aiming High for Young People, our 10-year strategy for positive activities, we have set out a range of commitments to improve young peoples life chances through participation in positive leisure time activities and improved services. Supported by an investment of £679 million over the 2008-11 period, Aiming High focuses on helping all young people, but with extra support for those who need it most.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what support is available through the Connexions Service to assist young people who stammer into employment; and what training is given to staff in the service on the best ways of assisting such young people. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 5 February 2008]: Through multi-agency working, Connexions provides integrated information, advice, guidance and access to personal development opportunities to help remove barriers to learning and progression and ensure young people make a smooth transition to adulthood and working life whatever their personal circumstances.
If a Connexions personal adviser (PA) considers that a young person may have a range of support needs, they would use the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) to determine this. The CAF is a voluntary, holistic assessment of strengths and needs, which helps the PA to agree with the young person and their parent(s)/carer(s) what action needs to be taken and which agencies/practitioners should be involved.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the (a) Youth Opportunity and (b) Youth Capital funds; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 4 February 2008]: The Youth Opportunity and Capital Funds (YOF and YCF) were established in April 2006 as complementary, universal, funds operating under a single management framework.
The funds have demonstrated how innovative and creative young people can be when they are empowered to participate in decision making, delivering a wide range of high quality projects and activities that have resulted in over 500,000 young people benefiting from positive activities.
The research found that the funds were meeting their objective to give young people a voice through consultation and control over resources. Local authorities had involved young people in the design and development of the funds, with young people involved as decision-makers. Projects funded have included, sporting, cultural and educational activities, improvements to local youth facilities and the purchase of specialist equipment, providing young people with opportunities they would not have otherwise had.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what (a) first-class and (b) other flights he has taken since 28 June 2007; and on each occasion (i) how many staff travelled with him and (ii) what the cost of the travel was. 
Mr. Woodward: The Northern Ireland Office has offices in Northern Ireland and in London. Ministers and officials travel regularly between the two locations, according to business needs and security considerations.
Since 1999 the Government have published on an annual basis, a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total of all ministerial travel overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which of his Departments agencies use the (a) 0845 and (b) 0870 telephone codes for customer enquiries; how many 0845 or 0870 telephone codes each agency uses; and how much revenue was generated by each of these codes for each agency in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2007, Official Report, columns 1472-73W, on elderly abuse, what the criteria are for dealing with assaults on the elderly by means of (a) non-sanction clearances and (b) charge/summons. 
1. a crime (i.e. notifiable offence) has been committed and recorded; and
2. a suspect has been identified and has been made aware that they will be recorded as being responsible for the crime; and
3. there must be sufficient evidence to charge the suspect with the crime; and
4. that one of the agreed clearance methods detailed in the following table applies.
1. Taken into consideration
3. Summons issued
4. Adult caution
5. Adult informed warning
6. Juvenile informed warning
7. Juvenile restorative caution
8. Juvenile prosecutorial diversion
1. Under age
2. Complainant declined to prosecute
3. No prosecution directed
4. Offender died before proceedings
Mr. Woodward: The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), excluding its agencies and NDPBs and Public Inquiries, can only provide spend on recruitment agencies from the financial year 1998-99. The figures shown in the following table include both the costs for appointing staff to the Department and the salaries paid to these temporary staff members.
|Financial year||Recruitment agencies costs (£)|
Recruitment agency staff are only employed when appropriately skilled permanent staff are not available
to fill posts. Such appointments are closely monitored with regard to the continuing need.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2008, Official Report, column 181W, on intimidation, on what date the formal complaint of bullying was reported in his Department. 
Mr. Woodward: Pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2008, Official Report, column 181W, on the number of cases of bullying reported in the NIO in the last 12 months, the single formal complaint referred to was reported on 9 May 2007.
Mr. Woodward: In addition to the time spent in Northern Ireland, I undertake NIO business in Parliament, in the Northern Ireland Office, London and elsewhere. As a member of the Cabinet I have additional duties including Cabinet and Cabinet Committee meetings and attending Parliament at Westminster.
Mr. Woodward: The disclosure of some of the information requested, including details of internal or interdepartmental meetings with Ministers or officials, would be prejudicial to the effective conduct of public affairs.
The information that can be disclosed is set out in the following table. In addition to those functions listed, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regular meetings with political parties, local politicians, the Minister of State, internal and external stakeholders and his officials.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many complaints of (a) sexual harassment and (b) sexual discrimination have been made by staff in his Department in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 29 January 2008, Official Report, column 181W, regarding training provided for NIO staff on appropriate behaviour in the workplace. This training also deals with different types of discrimination, including on the basis of gender. In addition, in accordance with section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, all personnel policies affecting staff are screened to ensure that they do not have an adverse effect on any of the nine groups specified under the legislation, which include gender.
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