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|Table 2: Full framework apprenticeship completions|
|Full framework apprenticeship completions|
|(1) North East Government Office Region, based on learners home postcode.|
(2) South Tyneside Local Authority, based on learners home postcode.
(3) Jarrow constituency, based on learners home postcode.
1. Figures may not sum to totals due to rounding.
2. These figures represent learners starting an apprenticeship or an advanced apprenticeship. Additionally, there are a very small number of Higher Level Apprenticeships included in the 2006/07 total.
ILR Work-Based Learning data
Mr. Lammy: On 7 August this year Skills Secretary John Denham announced Government proposals to cut red tape around Apprenticeships in response to employers concerns. We will remove unnecessary bureaucracy such as demands to store paperwork for up to six years; multiple inspection visits; and minimise reporting requirements at the earliest possible opportunity. In line with the successful actions of some of Britains leading employers, we will introduce improvements including more efficient use of electronic audit and storage, simpler and faster registration and certification processes, and more streamlined payment and reporting systems. These practical measures will enable more employers to meet their present and future skills needs, unimpeded by time-consuming and costly administration.
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what progress has been made in increasing the number of apprenticeship placements available to young disabled people wishing to acquire skills and employment; 
Mr. Lammy: The proportion of young people starting apprenticeships in England who have learning difficulties or disabilities has been around 11 per cent. for the last three years. However, we are seeing increases in the number of young people with learning difficulties or disabilities who complete apprenticeships as a proportion of all young people who complete Apprenticeships. The proportion rose from almost 8.5 per cent. in 2004/05 to 10.5 per cent. in 2006/07.
World-class apprenticeships plans to expand the number and range of apprenticeships in England include a number of proposals to increase the take-up and completion rates of apprenticeships by learners who are currently under-represented in the programme. We are developing pilots to begin later this yearincluding a
campaign which is London-specificto increase the critical mass of learners in non-traditional occupations to encourage more such applications; and mentoring trials to support atypical apprentices through their experience. A national vacancy matching service, to be introduced from the end of this year, will, for the first time in England, provide data on who is applying for apprenticeships that we will use to focus activity supporting employers and potential apprentices where there is evidence that any particular groups of applicants are not being successful in their applications.
I chair a London Apprenticeship Task Force whose role includes tackling inequalities. I expect those employers, colleges and partners who are current members of the taskforce to represent the interests of young disabled people as they do for all apprentices and potential apprentices.
Mr. Lammy: There are a number of proposals in World-class Apprenticeships aimed at supporting and encouraging small business in taking on apprentices, These included the recently launched sector growth pilots. These pilots are designed to trial a range of support including wage and training subsidies and while this is not exclusively for small businesses, they will be encouraged to bid for this funding. We are also developing proposals set out in World Class Apprenticeships to support SMEs to form their own Group Training Associations to support the delivery of Apprenticeships.
We are developing the Apprenticeship Frameworks to be more flexible and responsive. This will involve relaxing the current arrangements to allow employers to submit their own frameworks for funding, by drawing from a Sector Skills Council bank of qualifications.
We are also working with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, who recently surveyed SMEs to establish how the new National Apprenticeship Service can better meet the needs of employers. The survey focused on, although not limited to, reducing the administrative burden on them. Together we will consider how best to incorporate the recommendations coming out of the survey.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether staff of (a) his Department and (b) its agencies who are entitled to business class or first class air travel are permitted to (i) travel in a cheaper class to the destination and (ii) benefit in monetary terms or kind from the saving. 
The class of air travel which staff may book depends upon grade, the length of time the journey will take, as well as airlines fare structures on various routes. Whether or not a member of staff is entitled to travel first class or business class, all members of DIUS have a responsibility to make appropriate decisions on how to travel and to secure value for money in the use of
travel budgets. DIUS members of staff are permitted to travel in a cheaper class to the destination although any saving would not generate a monetary or in kind benefit for the individual.
All travel undertaken by DIUS staff is undertaken in accordance with the staff handbook and the requirements of the Civil Service Management Code and Treasury guidance set out in Managing Public Money on the avoidance of personal profit from public business.
DIUS has a travel service contract with a travel agent for all flight bookings, the costs being paid centrally. DIUS staff are expected to use the contract, whenever possible, when booking any travel tickets.
DIUS agency, NWML: Staff who are entitled to business class or first class air travel are permitted to travel in a cheaper class to the destination and do not benefit in monetary terms or kind from the saving. In fact they are expected to travel in a cheaper class in all but very exceptional circumstances.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 14 July 2008, Official Report, column 27W, on carbon emissions: Government Departments, how much air mileage incurred through departmental travel was used to calculate the departmental payment to the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund in each year that his Department has participated in the fund, broken down by (a) domestic, (b) short-haul and (c) long-haul flights. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills was created as a result of machinery of government changes in June 2007. The Departments predecessors DfES (Department for Education and Skills, now DCSF) and DTI (Department for Trade and Industry, now BERR) have been participated in the Carbon Offsetting Fund since the 2006/07 financial year and continue to provide this for DIUS. The number of air miles used to calculate the departmental payment for the 2006/07 financial year is contained in their Departments response.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the location is of each office occupied by (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies which has been (i) newly occupied and (ii) refurbished in the last 24 months; and what the floor area in square metres is of each. 
Mr. Lammy: The London base of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills is at Kingsgate House, 66-74 Victoria Street. 5,671 sq m of office space (on a net internal basis) at these premises were refurbished in order to accommodate the Department after it was created in summer 2007. The space was previously occupied by the former Department of Trade and Industry.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what his Department's target time period is for answering correspondence from (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public; what proportion of responses met these targets in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the average time taken was to respond to a piece of correspondence. 
Mr. Lammy: Since the machinery of government changes, and the creation of the Department on 28 June 2007, correspondence has been handled by an interim arrangement which relied on our legacy Departments. The Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) has assisted in the handling of correspondence relating to skills, further and higher education and the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) has dealt with correspondence about science and innovation.
The Department has a target to respond to correspondence from either hon. Members or members of the public within 15 days of receipt. From June 2008 all correspondence has been handled using DCFS' computerised handling system. During the period 1 January 2008 and 31 August 2008, 77 per cent. of correspondence from hon. Members was despatched within target and the average time taken to respond was 14 days. For correspondence from members of the public, 98 per cent. was despatched within target and the average time taken to respond was nine days.
This information has been extracted from the DCSF system and refers to the correspondence DCSF have responded to on DIUS' behalf. Statistics regarding the correspondence handled by BERR on behalf of DIUS are not available.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many pieces of correspondence his Department received from (a) hon. Members, (b) Peers and (c) members of the public in the last 12 months; and what proportion of these received a response within (i) one week, (ii) two weeks, (iii) one month and (iv) a time period longer than one month. 
Mr. Lammy: The information set out in the following table relates to correspondence about higher education, further education and skills issues, and since June 2008, science and innovation correspondence and covers the period 1 January 2008 to 31 August 2008.
|Members of the public||Hon. Members and peers|
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent representations he has received on the performance of his Department in dealing with correspondence in a timely manner; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: As I said in my earlier statement, the Department has a target to respond to correspondence from either hon. Members or members of the public within 15 days of receipt, something we take very seriously, and to date there have been no representations on the timeliness of response.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many complaints his Department has received from (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public relating to the timeliness or substance of his Departments responses to correspondence in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Lammy: Let me repeat again, the Department has a target to respond to correspondence from either hon. Members or members of the public within 15 days of receipt, something we take very seriously, and to date there are no recorded complaints about either the substance or timeliness of responses to correspondence.
James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many notifications (a) his Department and (b) its agencies made to the Information Commissioner following the loss or mishandling of personal information or data since its creation; and what was notified in each case. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance, did not report any personal data-related incidents for the period 2007/08 to the Information Commissioners Office.
I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 25 June 2008, providing the final report on measures for data handling procedures in Government.
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