Previous Section Index Home Page

6 Oct 2008 : Column 472W—continued

Children in Care

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of children in (a) foster care, (b) children's homes, (c) residential special schools and (d) juvenile secure establishments in England in the last 12 months (i) saw a family member at least once a week in that period and (ii) had no contact with their family in that period. [221778]

Ed Balls: We do not collect figures on the level of contact that children in foster care, children's homes, residential special schools or juvenile secure establishments in England have had in the last 12 months with their family. However, Paragraph 15 of Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989 places a duty on the local authority in respect of all looked after children to promote contact between the child and his/her parents, friends, relatives and others unless this is not reasonably practicable or consistent with the child's welfare. Rule 29(2) of the Secure Training Centre Rules and Rule 39(2) of the Young Offender Institution Rules provide that the governor shall ensure that special attention is paid to the maintenance of such relations between a trainee and his family as seem desirable in the best interests of the trainee.

Children in Care: Health Services

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to maximise the beneficial effects of the NHS operating framework for 2008-09 on the health and well-being of looked-after children. [223944]

Beverley Hughes: The NHS Operating Framework outlines a clear expectation that PCTs will pay particular attention to access for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. This should include looked after children. The framework is underpinned by guidance including the guidance on Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) which states that looked after children should be taken into consideration when identifying the future health and wellbeing needs of local populations. The framework also states that the Healthcare Commission will specifically consider access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) provision when carrying out performance assessment of NHS bodies. The beneficial effects of this framework will be maximised by ensuring that the forthcoming statutory guidance on the health of looked after children reinforces the framework’s commitments and outlines exactly how health bodies should ensure that looked after children lead healthy lives. We will also maximise the beneficial effects by seeking to ensure that the data generated to measure the national indicator on the emotional and behavioural health of looked after children is used by local authorities and health bodies to inform how they ensure timely access to high quality mental health services for these children.

Children: Communication Skills

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of children who have received a pre-school assessment of speech and language in the last 12 months were referred for speech and language issues. [223980]

6 Oct 2008 : Column 473W

Beverley Hughes: The Department does not collect this data. The importance of early identification and assessment featured strongly in the recently published report of the Review of Services for Children and Young People (0-19) with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, undertaken by the hon. Member for Buckingham (John Bercow)—a copy of which can be accessed at

The Government have welcomed the Bercow report and have announced an investment of £12 million to help enable action to be taken forward in the areas it highlighted. Later this year, we will produce a detailed action plan setting out how we will implement the Bercow recommendations, over what time scale, and how we will allocate the funds we are investing.

We have also introduced the Early Years Foundation Stage framework to help practitioners and teachers in early years settings meet the learning and development and needs (including speech and language) of all children. Through additional investment of £40 million, we have also introduced the “Every Child a Talker (ECAT)” programme—which will give practitioners easier access to training and materials so that they are better equipped to support children’s early language development, including identifying potential delays and disorders early on.

Children: Databases

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 25 June 2008, Official Report, columns 25-27WS, on data handling procedures, if he will commission a privacy impact assessment for the ContactPoint database. [222189]

Beverley Hughes: We have no plans to commission a privacy impact assessment for the ContactPoint project which is currently in testing phase. Our preferred approach is to continue our ongoing engagement with the Information Commissioner's Office and with children, young people, parents and carers both at a national and a local level, to ensure that any concerns about privacy are addressed and that the benefits that ContactPoint will bring are fully explained.

It is important that children, young people and their families have confidence in the way ContactPoint protects
6 Oct 2008 : Column 474W
their privacy. That is why the data held on ContactPoint will be minimal to enable it to fulfil its purpose - to provide a quick and easy way for practitioners to find out who else is working with the same child.

ContactPoint will contain no case information—for example, school attainment records or medical case notes—nor will it include subjective opinions, comments or observations about a child or their parents.

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the reasons are for the delay in the implementation of ContactPoint; and what the cost to the public purse of (a) that delay and (b) implementation in full will be. [223744]

Beverley Hughes: The Government have always been clear that they would take a steady, staged approach to developing ContactPoint including subjecting the system to rigorous testing.

Recent testing of the system has highlighted some usability issues that we want to resolve before we embark on testing the ContactPoint system with users. In order to address these issues thoroughly, I decided not to start Early Adopter deployment in October 2008 as planned. It is both prudent and sensible to take a little more time to ensure the system is ready before we deploy it to local authorities and national partners.

We expect to meet the cost of full implementation from the existing budget, which remains unchanged at £224 million, since it was announced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Stretford and Urmston (Beverley Hughes) in December 2005.

Children: Day Care

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 1 July 2008, Official Report, columns 823-24W, on children: day care, how many senior managers on average a local authority nursery had at the most recent date for which figures are available. [223762]

Beverley Hughes: The Childcare and Early Years Providers survey collects information on staff type in childcare and early years providers. Table 1 shows the total and average number of senior managers working in full day care settings, by type of ownership of the setting in 2007.

Table 1: Number of senior managers in full day care providers, by ownership of provision, 2007

Private Voluntary Local authority School/college Other Total

Total number of senior managers







Average number of senior managers per setting







Numbers by type of ownership may not sum to the total due to rounding.

Children: Disadvantaged

Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children assessed as being at risk of exclusion are entered on school registers as educated off-site and B-code; and how many hours per week of education such children receive on average. [222835]

Beverley Hughes: We do not collect data on B-codes (i.e. children at an approved educational activity off-site) from schools because this code does not mean that the pupil is absent from education for that session. The concept of “at risk of exclusion” is rather subjective, and therefore not subject to precise measurement, so we therefore do not collect statistics of children at risk of exclusion and cannot give figures for children at risk of exclusion educated off site.

6 Oct 2008 : Column 475W

Children: Nutrition

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps the Government has taken to assist schools to encourage parents to provide healthy meals for children. [224288]

Beverley Hughes: The School Food Trust (SFT), on behalf of the Department, is taking a number of steps to assist schools to encourage parents to provide healthy meals for children. The SFT parent's forum is an electronic message board where parents can communicate with each other about school food. Access to the forum is via

The SFT has also produced a booklet and a leaflet especially for parents and carers, which clearly lays out what the standards on school lunches mean and how parents can play a part in transforming school food. In addition the SFT has information and guidance on how to prepare healthy and varied packed lunches including some menu ideas and case studies.

‘Let’s Get Cooking’ is a network of cookery clubs for young people and parents funded by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the School Food Trust in partnership with well-known organisations with experience in food skills and campaigning, including the Prince's Trust, Business in the Community, Magic Outcomes and the Improvement Foundation. The aim of ‘Let's Get Cooking’ is to give children and non-cooking parents of all ages the skills and confidence to cook nutritious and tasty meals from scratch, outside of school hours. More information can be found at

Children: Obesity

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent steps the Government has taken to address childhood obesity. [222677]

Beverley Hughes: In the six months since the £372 million ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: a Cross Government Strategy for England’ was published there has been substantial progress. The progress newsletter ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: 6 months on’, was published on 23 July 2008.

The newsletter highlights the steps forward for the next six months across all five themes of the strategy:
6 Oct 2008 : Column 476W
children, healthy growth and weight; promoting healthier food choices; building physical activity into our lives; creating incentives for better health; and personalised advice and support for all.

Children’s Centres

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of children’s centres were operated by organisations other than the relevant local authority in each year since such centres were introduced. [223981]

Beverley Hughes: Local authorities, working with their partners through children’s trust arrangements, are responsible for the delivery of the Sure Start Children’s Centres in their local area. However we encourage them to involve voluntary, private and independent organisations both in managing children’s centres and as service providers in order to harness the best of all sectors in delivering quality services for children. Information is not collected centrally on how many and what proportion of Sure Start Children’s Centres are run by organisations on behalf of local authorities.

Children’s Centres: Lincolnshire

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children's centres there are in (a) Cleethorpes constituency, (b) Great Grimsby constituency, (c) North East Lincolnshire and (d) North Lincolnshire; how many are planned to be opened in each area; how much was spent on such centres in each of the last three years; and how much will be spent in the next 18 months. [222783]

Beverley Hughes: There are currently (a) two Sure Start Children's Centres in Cleethorpes,(b) nine Centres in Great Grimsby, (c) 12 centres in North East Lincolnshire with a further two planned and (d) 11 centres in North Lincolnshire with a further one planned.

The two centres planned in North East Lincolnshire are currently at the initial public consultation stage with the local authority looking at sites in Old Clee, Humberston and New Waltham, which fall within the Cleethorpes constituency.

Details of expenditure and expenditure are given below. It is not possible to provide a break-down of these figures for an 18 month period as information is not collected using this timescale.

Expenditure (£) Allocation

2004-06( 1) 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 Total

North East Lincolnshire

























North Lincolnshire

























(1) 2004-06 was a two year spending period.

Next Section Index Home Page