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Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in the multi-party Sudan People's Initiative since its announcement in July 2008; and what discussions officials in his Department have had with the government of Sudan regarding this initiative. 
Gillian Merron: The Sudan Peoples Initiative (SPI) on Darfur was launched in Khartoum on 16 October 2008 and followed with further discussions in Kenana on 18 October. Officials from our embassy in Khartoum attended these events and continue to discuss the ongoing process with all the parties. Michael ONeill, UK Special Representative for Sudan, discussed the prospects for the initiative in Khartoum on 20 October. We welcome all constructive initiatives towards peace in Darfur under the overall leadership of the UN-African Union Chief Mediator for Darfur, Djibril Bassolé.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the government of Sudan on the arrest of Ali Kushayb; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: We are aware of reports that Ali Kushayb has been arrested in Sudan and could be tried by the Government of Sudan. We continue to call on the Government of Sudan to co-operate fully with the International Criminal Court over the two existing arrest warrants, which includes one for Kushayb. We hope Kushaybs arrest is a step towards this. There can be no impunity for crimes committed in Darfur.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many telephone lines serviced his private office at the end of each of the last five financial years; and how many serviced the office on 22 July 2008. 
Gillian Merron: As at 22 July 2008, there were 22 telephone lines recorded in use, covering the Foreign Secretary, Private Secretary, clerical staff, special advisers and fax machines. Information is not available for the last five years.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will inform the incoming President of the United States of the Government's opposition to the death penalty. 
Bill Rammell: The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, and the US is aware of our stance. The UK raises our opposition to the death penalty in the US with the appropriate authorities in both bilateral dialogue and through the EU. We will continue this policy with any future Administrations until the practice of capital punishment is abolished throughout the United States of America.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he has taken to assist local authorities in preventing children in their care becoming involved in crime. 
The vast majority of looked after children do not commit offences. However we recognise that as a group they are more likely to be subject to a final reprimand or warning or convicted of a crime than other children. To support local authorities as responsible corporate parents to do all they can to prevent looked after children becoming involved in crime, we have issued a range of materials. In 2005 the Government funded the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) to produce a handbook for local authorities on reducing offending by looked after children with practical examples setting out how authorities might work with partner agencies
to reduce offending by looked after children. We also supported the National Children's Bureau to research and publish Tell Them Not to Forget About Usa guide to practice with looked after children in custody. A copy of this was sent to every director of Children's Services and to every youth offending team manager.
Following our White Paper Care Matters and the Children and Young Persons Bill receiving Royal Assent, we will be revising guidance to local authorities which will include information about local authority responsibilities for preventing offending by looked after children and, about their responsibilities for establishing the necessary relationships with youth justice professionals so that, when looked after children do offend, plans are put in place to support the child to prevent re-offending.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2008, Official Report, column 482W, on children: databases, whether details of children of hon. Members are to be (a) excluded from and (b) shielded on Contact Point; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: The Children Act 2004 Information Database (England) Regulations 2007 specify that Contact Point will hold basic identifying information on every child and each participating young person, ordinarily resident in England.
Records of some children, whose circumstances may mean that they, or others, are at increased risk of harm (for example, those fleeing domestic violence), may be subject to shielding, whereby any details which could give an indication of their whereabouts, will be hidden from users view. The decision to shield will be taken on a case-by-case basis and will be based on the level of threat posed if their whereabouts were to become known. Such a decision can only be undertaken by a local authority which is under a duty to consider the views of the person to whom the record relates, the views of their parent or carer, and of any schedule 4 or schedule 5 body (as specified by the Children Act 2004 Information Database (England) Regulations 2007), involved with the child or young person.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of employees in his Department (a) are on a flexible working contract, (b) are on a job share employment contract and (c) work from home for more than four hours a week. 
There are currently five employees who have a formal home-working contract and work more than four hours a week from home. Over 60 per cent. of employees do have broadband access to the Department's systems through authorised encryption and agree home working arrangements with their line managers. Records of the hours worked each week are held locally and could be aggregated only at disproportionate cost.
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Alternative provision covers all school age pupils attending a school not maintained by an authority for whom the authority is paying full tuition fees, or educated otherwise than in schools and Pupil Referral Units, under arrangements made by the authority.
The information on pupils in Pupil Referral Units and in alternative provision as at January of each year is shown in the following table. Many pupils stay only a short time in Pupil Referral Units or other alternative provision and so the total annual number of pupils who receive some alternative provision is higher, but we do not collect this information.
|Number of pupils in alternative provision( 1) , position as at January 1999 to 2008|
|Number of pupils in pupil referral units||Number of pupils in alternative provision( 2)|
|(1) Excludes dually registered pupils.|
(2) Alternative provision covers all school age pupils attending a school not maintained by an authority for whom the authority is paying full tuition fees, or educated otherwise than in schools and Pupil Referral Units, under arrangements made by the authority.
Pupil numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
School Census and Form 8B
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on the education facilities available for young offenders in young offender institutions; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: The Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Ministry of Justice are jointly responsible for policy on education for young offenders. Both Departments worked with the Home Office to produce the Youth Crime Action Plan (July 2008), which included considering the issues affecting education for young offenders and developing commitments to bring improvements. The preparation of this strategy included a range of trilateral discussions between Secretaries of State and Ministers, and these discussions will continue as the Action Plan is implemented.
Beverley Hughes: Regulations require that fostering service providers, including local authorities, must take all reasonable steps to ensure that no form of corporal punishment is used on any child placed with a foster parent. Foster carers must enter into a foster care agreement confirming that they will not administer corporal punishment to a child placed with them.
National minimum standards for fostering services state that fostering service providers should give foster carers clear, written information that corporal punishment is not acceptable and that this includes smacking, slapping, shaking and all other humiliating forms of treatment or punishment.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when his Departments review of drug and alcohol education will (a) start and (b) be completed; who will carry it out; and what it will cost. 
Beverley Hughes: The Departments review of the effectiveness of delivery arrangements for all drugs education (including alcohol) began in January 2008. The reviews findings and recommendations and the Governments response were published on 23 October 2008. The report and the response can be found at:
The review was conducted by an independent advisory group of experts, whose details are given in the report. Advisory group members gave their time freely, with the only cost for the review being that travel expenses were reimbursed, this came to a total of £3,659.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many local children's safeguarding boards have undertaken a review of their local procedures, policies and training programmes to ensure that the needs of deaf children are recognised and met, as recommended by the Department of Health's 2005 report Mental Health and Deafness: Towards Equity and Access. 
Beverley Hughes: Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) coordinate local work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and ensure the effectiveness of that work. This includes ensuring that deaf children are effectively safeguarded and supported. Government have encouraged LSCBs to engage widely within their communities to build a full picture of safeguarding priorities to inform the activity of their member organisations and partners.
In February 2006 the DCSF issued practice guidance for LSCBs on Safeguarding Disabled Children which specifically addressed the needs of deaf children. The practice guidance is being updated and will be published in spring next year. We have also encouraged those with specific expertise in this area to work with the LSCBs, including the National Deaf Children's Society, the NSPCC, the British Society for Mental Health and Deafness and the UK Council on Deafness.
In close collaboration with local authority and other partners, the DCSF is also undertaking a stocktake of LSCBs to develop recommendations that will help all LSCBs perform at the level of the best. The stocktake will report in spring 2009.
Mrs. Maria Miller:
To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average occupancy rate of (a) Sure Start childrens centre nurseries, (b) maintained nurseries and (c) private, voluntary and independent nurseries was in (i)
England, (ii) each region and (iii) each local authority area in each of the last five years. 
|Table 1: Occupancy rates for England from 2005 to 2007|
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