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Social Security: Data Protection

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures he has put in place to prevent information stored on the social security database being transferred without authorisation to representatives of the media in the last two years. [188212]

Mr. Timms: The Department is required to follow the Data Protection Act in the way it handles personal data, in particular the Seventh Principle which places requirements on organisations to ensure that

Transferring information from any of the Department's databases to a third party without authority is prohibited by the Department's rules. The Department has in place an extensive range of measures in order to comply with the Data Protection Act.

State Retirement Pensions: Inflation

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of linking the basic state pension to the rate of inflation with effect from 2009; and if he will make a statement; [189019]

(2) what estimate he has made of the average increase in the value of the basic state pension following its linkage to the rate of inflation in each of the next three years. [189020]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government currently have a commitment to annually increase the basic state pension by 2.5 per cent. or the retail prices index (RPI), whichever is higher. During the next Parliament we will re-link the basic state pension to average earnings. Our objective, subject to affordability and the fiscal position, is to do this in 2012, but in any event at the latest by the end of the next Parliament.

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The standard rate of basic state pension for the current financial year 2007-08 is £87.30. In 2008-09 it will increase in line with the RPI to £90.70.

The estimated level of DWP expenditure on contributory basic state pension is set to rise from £47.2 billion in 2007-08 to £49.9 billion in 2008-09, £52.7 billion in 2009-10 and £54.8 billion in 2010-11 (in cash terms).

Welfare to Work: Finance

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what proportion of the resource departmental expenditure limit will be allocated to his Department’s welfare to work programmes for each of the years of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review period; [195080]

(2) what the total estimated expenditure incurred by his Department was on welfare to work programmes in the year 2006-07; [195081]

(3) how much (a) was spent and (b) is projected to be spent on contracted employment programmes for (i) 2006-07, (ii) 2007-08, (iii) 2008-09, (iv) 2009-10 and (v) 2010-11. [195082]

Mr. Timms: Employment Programme spend in 2006-07 was £952(1) million. Employment Programme spend in 2007-08 is forecast to be around £1,026 million.

Our recently published ‘Three Year Business Plan 2008-11’, provides figures for planned expenditure on Employment Programmes in CSR 07.

Planned expenditure on Department for Work and Pensions Employment Programmes
Expenditure (£ million) Proportion of DEL expenditure ( percentage )










We anticipate that up to 70 per cent. of this expenditure will be contracted to voluntary and private sector organisations.

Winter Fuel Payments: Greater London

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people received a winter fuel payment in (a) Richmond Park constituency, (b) the Royal borough of Kingston-upon-Thames and (c) Richmond-upon-Thames borough in the most recent period for which figures are available. [194244]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information is in the following table. We expect the numbers to be similar for winter 2007-08.

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Winter fuel payments made in winter 2006-07

Richmond Park constituency


Royal borough of Kingston-upon-Thames


Richmond-upon-Thames borough


1. Figures rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Parliamentary constituencies and local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory.
Information directorate 100 per cent. data.

Children, Schools and Families

Abuse: Telephone Services

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the volume of calls to helplines funded by his Department following the news reporting of past events at Haut de La Garenne; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of capacity to meet demand. [194415]

Kevin Brennan: The Department closely monitors volumes and subjects of calls received to its helpline. To date there has not been an increase in the volume of calls made to the Department's helpline as a result of the news reporting of past events at Haut de La Garenne. The helpline operates a flexible resourcing system which enables capacity to be quickly increased when required. I believe this to be adequate to meet demand.

After School Clubs: Morecambe and Lunesdale

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to encourage the development of breakfast clubs in schools in Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency. [194779]

Beverley Hughes: Providing access to activities before school, including breakfast clubs, is a part of the extended schools core offer. We are committed to all schools providing access to the core offer of extended services by 2010, with at least half of all primary and a third of secondary schools doing so by September 2008.

The core offer comprises a varied menu of activities in primary and secondary schools; high quality child care 8 am to 6 pm 48 weeks a year in primary schools; parenting support; swift and easy access to a wide range of specialist support services such as health and social care; and wider community access to ICT, sports and arts facilities, including adult learning.

The Training and Development Agency works closely with local authorities and schools to help them deliver a range of services and activities beyond the school day. They also support ContinYou to develop a range of initiatives that have promoted, improved and measured the impact of breakfast clubs. This includes running a national Breakfast Club Award scheme, conducting research into breakfast club provision, producing guides and resources for breakfast club staff, and setting up the only UK website dedicated to supporting breakfast club development.

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Children: Autism

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of special educational needs co-ordinators have specialist training in supporting children with autism; and if he will make a statement. [194189]

Kevin Brennan: Given the range of continuing professional development undertaken by special educational needs co-ordinators, it is not practicable to collect and record centrally specialist training undertaken in relation to children with autism. We are funding the Autism Education Trust which aims to improve autism provision and promote effective practice and training in meeting autistic children's needs.

The Department is working with the Training and Development Agency for Schools on the development of a national framework for accrediting newly appointed special educational needs co-ordinators in schools. We envisage that national training arrangements will require knowledge of the main types of SEN, but it is too early to comment on the precise shape and nature of the arrangements; further consultation and development work is needed.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of children in mainstream education were autistic at the latest date for which figures are available. [194190]

Kevin Brennan: Information from the School Census shows that, in January 2007 in England, there were 18,820 pupils with autistic spectrum disorder in maintained primary schools (0.5 per cent. of those on roll in maintained primary schools) and 11,760 such pupils in maintained secondary schools (0.4 per cent. of those on roll in maintained secondary schools). These figures refer to those pupils at school action plus and with a statement of special educational needs who have autistic spectrum disorder as their primary need. They exclude pupils in general hospital schools and dually registered pupils.

Children: Day Care

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assistance his Department makes available to single parents to help with the costs of child care. [194782]

Beverley Hughes: This Government recognise that child care costs are a serious matter for some families including lone parents, which is why we are doing more than ever before to make good quality child care and early education accessible and affordable.

We are investing £3 billion per year to support free early education, so all three and four-year-olds, irrespective of the employment status of their parents, can benefit from 12.5 hours of free early years provision for 38 weeks per year. This increases to 15 hours by 2010 and will be delivered more flexibly to meet families’ needs. In addition, we announced in the Children’s Plan an additional £100 million to pilot a free entitlement for 20,000 of our most disadvantaged two-year-olds.

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We provide substantial help (totalling over £3 million a day) through the tax credit system, in providing up to 80 per cent. of child care costs—helping nearly 430,000 families.

Beginning in September 2008, £75 million has been made available over three years, so that 50,000 workless families can benefit from free childcare, allowing parents to access training and move into work.

In addition, Jobcentre Plus have a range of funding available for costs of child care including funds specifically for lone parents, under the new deal for lone parents programme.

The Budget increased the commitment to child care by announcing additional pilots to support new approaches to child care, building on good practice from the additional child care support provided by the £33 million London Childcare Affordability Programme. In addition, the Government will also pilot new child development grants of £200 in 10 local authority areas, payable where parents take up their child care places and have contact with their local Children’s Centre.

The DCSF “affordable childcare” campaign aims to make parents much more aware of the range of provision in their areas and the support available to make child care more affordable. Specific strands of work have been developed for lone parents, which have received good feedback and high response rates. In addition, the budget announced a pilot to place HM Revenue and Customs advisers in children’s centres to provide help with claims for the child care element of the working tax credit, and keeping their awards up to date.

Children: Forced Marriage

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what steps his Department is taking to identify, monitor and protect children vulnerable to potential forced marriage; and if he will make a statement; [194609]

(2) what specific guidance his Department has in place for informing and working with (a) the police, (b) the Home Office, (c) local social service departments and (d) other relevant bodies when schools suspect pupils are vulnerable to offences associated with surrounding forced marriage; and if he will make a statement; [194610]

(3) what arrangements social services departments make to inform (a) the police and (b) relevant schools about the identities of children in care identified as being vulnerable to forced marriage; [194707]

(4) how many children which his Department have assessed as vulnerable to offences associated with forced marriage have gone missing from care in each of the last five years; [194708]

(5) what estimate his Department has made of the number of pupils missing from school rolls who may be vulnerable to offences associated with forced marriage; and if he will make a statement. [194710]

Kevin Brennan: Child abuse is completely unacceptable. We are determined to address all types of abuse and harm to children including forced marriage, domestic violence, child trafficking, and others. All professionals working with or who come into contact
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with children, including those working in health or education, should be aware of how to recognise and respond to safeguarding concerns, including signs of possible abuse or neglect. If they have reason to believe that a child is at risk from harm as a result of a potential forced marriage, they should take action to follow up their concern, involving other agencies as required. This should take place for any child at risk of abuse.

Guidance for relevant organisations and professionals is set out in “What To Do If You're Worried a Child Is Being Abused” (2006), and in “Working Together to Safeguard Children” (2006). “Working Together” is statutory guidance aimed at all individuals and organisations that have responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and sets out the detailed processes that must be followed where there is cause for concern about a child’s welfare. This contains specific guidance on forced marriage.

This Government have created statutory Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) to co-ordinate what local bodies do to safeguard children and to ensure that they are working effectively together. LSCBs draw up local procedures for how agencies, including education, children’s social care, and the police, work together. These procedures often contain specific, detailed sections on identifying and responding to particular types of harm to children, such as forced marriage.

The Children Act 2004 also gave a range of statutory agencies a legal duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Statutory guidance, “Making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 11 of the Children Act 2004”, was issued in July 2005 and updated in March 2007. This is aimed at the police, hospitals, prisons and others covered by the requirement saying what they should do to make sure children are safe.

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) and my Department produced practical guidance for education professionals, “Dealing with Cases of Forced Marriage” in 2005. My Department is currently working with the FMU to revise this guidance and put it onto a statutory footing in the autumn, following a period of public consultation.

The Department has no role in assessing the vulnerability of individual children—local authorities have the statutory function to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their area who may be in need, including looked after children. This includes minimising the risk of children going missing from care, keeping detailed records when children do go missing, and taking steps to address the reasons why an individual child might go missing.

National figures showing the overall numbers of children who went missing from their care placements for more than 24 hours are published at:

All looked after children have a detailed care plan, informed by a full assessment of their needs under the assessment framework for children in need and their families. This assessment includes all the factors that are relevant to safeguarding the child and promoting their welfare, and the resulting care plan sets out the
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information that needs to be shared with other agencies in order to keep the child safe.

Statistics on children missing from education are not collected nationally. We introduced a new statutory duty in February 2007 for local authorities to put robust systems in place to identify any child not receiving a suitable education, and provided guidance on how to implement this duty. I have written to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector to ask Ofsted to provide their view of how well this new duty is being implemented.

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