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28 Jan 2009 : Column 648W—continued

Beverley Hughes: We have provided, through our Local Authority Readiness Assessment (LARA) system, a wide range of guidance both for local authorities and local and national partners that covers legal, technical and operational issues. For example, we have issued
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guidance under section 12(12) of the Children Act 2004, which sets out the key statutory requirements of section 12 and the Children Act 2004 Information Database (England) Regulations 2007. We have also issued guidance that covers project management and communications, the use of enhanced Criminal Record Bureau (eCRB) disclosures as part of an individual’s application to become a ContactPoint user and guidance on shielding records on ContactPoint.

We announced, in August 2008, that ContactPoint would be deployed from January 2009. We are on track to deploy the first phase from that date and will continue to keep Parliament informed of key developments.

Local authorities have been undertaking work with relevant local partners to identify children whose records may need to be shielded on ContactPoint. For the purpose of shielding only, ContactPoint will be deployed to all local authorities in England from January 2009. Wider ContactPoint functionality will be deployed first to the ContactPoint early adopters. The early adopters are 17 local authorities and two national partners, whose purpose is to test deployment and experience operational processes in a real environment. This will allow the national ContactPoint team to evaluate the processes and make any necessary adjustments, prior to full deployment of the system to other local authorities and national partners.

The 17 early adopter local authorities are Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Cheshire, Cumbria, Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Sefton, St. Helens, Stockport, Warrington and Wigan. Two national partners, Barnardo’s and KIDS, are also early adopters.

All local authorities and national partners have been required to work through a series of detailed ‘readiness assessment’ checks and satisfy specified threshold levels, before progressing to the next stage. They are also completing monthly assessments of their progress. Early adopter local authorities have all completed nine readiness assessment checks to date. Other areas will complete a further readiness assessment before being accredited to grant ContactPoint access to users.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families who is responsible for entering children’s data into the ContactPoint database; and whether such individuals are required to have had a Criminal Records Bureau check before their appointment. [249010]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 19 January 2009]: ContactPoint will be populated from existing national and local data sources. The persons and bodies who are required and those who are permitted to supply information to ContactPoint are set out in the Children Act 2004 Information Database (England) Regulations 2007. Securing data directly from existing practitioner systems will avoid the need for double data entry on the part of practitioners. Where direct data feeds are not possible, practitioners may be required to enter the information directly into ContactPoint by logging on via a secure web link or indirectly via an authorised user.

Everyone with access to ContactPoint, including operators and administrators, will be subject to stringent security checks, including enhanced Criminal Records Bureau clearance which will be renewed every three years.


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Children: Day care

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment, based on the local authority childcare sufficiency assessments, he has made of the adequacy of standards of childcare achieved; and what recent steps the Government has taken to ensure that local authorities meet requirements to provide childcare services by 31 March 2008. [251902]

Beverley Hughes: The Government are committed to the highest possible standards for all child care providers. The Childcare Act 2006 outlined the regulatory regime which is being enforced through a programme of regular inspection against published criteria by Ofsted.

The Childcare Sufficiency Assessments published by each local authority are helping to identify and address any gaps in the provision of child care appropriate to the needs of working parents and those looking to work in their areas. The Government provide support to local authorities through Government offices in meeting the requirement to secure sufficient child care in the area, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Children: Obesity

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what initiatives the Government has introduced for children of pre-school age to reduce childhood obesity in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) Tees Valley and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland. [249829]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy, published in January 2008, set out the Government’s plans to reduce obesity, initially focusing on children. Every child should grow up eating well and enjoying being active and we want parents to have the knowledge and confidence to make this happen. There is no single, simple solution to reducing rates of overweight and obesity and therefore the Government are taking action on a number of fronts.

At a national level, the Government are promoting healthy eating and physical activity. The updated Child Health Promotion Programme was published in March 2008. It prioritises obesity prevention and physical activity by promoting positive parenting during pregnancy and the early years of children’s lives. We are working to support as many mothers as possible to breast feed and to continue to breast feed for longer—helped by children’s centres, health and other services, all promoting healthy weight. The Healthy Start initiative provides free vitamin supplements, vouchers for milk, fruit and vegetables for low income pregnant women and children up to age four.

The introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage for 0 to five-year-olds means that all early years education providers must promote the good health of children, by providing healthy, nutritious food and active play. The Play Strategy, launched in December 2008, sets out how Government will invest £235 million over 2008-09 to 2010-11 to develop play facilities for children of all ages. Ofcom have introduced restrictions on advertising foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) to children.


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At a local level, primary care trusts, working with local authorities, are responsible for co-ordinating work to tackle childhood obesity. PCT plans, developed alongside local authority Children and Young People’s Plans, will feed into local area agreements agreed with the Government offices. Local areas will develop and implement their own initiatives based on local needs and circumstances. 130 LAs have chosen to include in their local area agreement at least one child obesity indicator from the National Indicator Set.

Middlesbrough is also one of the nine towns that have been awarded healthy town status as part of the Governments £30 million Healthy Community Challenge Fund. The money will be used to build on existing work and test out ideas on what further action needs to happen to make physical activity and healthy food choices easier for people.

All this is supported by the Change4Life movement at a national and local level which aims to help families eat well, move more and live longer and which is initially focused on families with young children. Change4Life is working with a range of commercial and voluntary sector partners, signing up to play their part and deliver concrete commitments to change both nationally and locally.

Children: Protection

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress his Department has made in its communications campaign on children's safety; and if he will make a statement. [247010]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: One of the key commitments of the Staying Safe: Action Plan was to launch a major communications campaign on children's safety. This commitment was supported with a £9.0 million investment over the CSR 2008-11. It covers all safeguarding priorities in support of PSA 13 (to Improve Children and Young People's Safety) and is aimed at both the children and young people's work force and the general public.

Since April 2008, we have been working across government and the third sector to strengthen and promote messages that promote the safety of children. Such initiatives include a national home safety campaign, a campaign to reduce cyber-bullying, information to schools to help promote fire safety, and support of the established BERR campaign to reduce accidents using fireworks.

We are currently undertaking preparatory work to widen our communications approach for 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions his Department has had with Reading Local Education Authority on the level of protection it provides for vulnerable children. [248866]

Beverley Hughes: In response to Reading’s Joint Area Review and 2008 Annual Performance Assessment, Department for Children, Schools and Families officials have held discussions with representatives of Reading borough council, including with the director of children’s services, the chief executive and the lead member for
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children’s services, to explore the issues raised in the Joint Area Review report and discuss improvement measures for the council’s safeguarding services for vulnerable children and young people. As a result of those discussions, the Department and Reading borough council are commissioning a package of tailored external support which will begin in February, to support necessary improvements in the council’s services.

Departmental Cost Effectiveness

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether the target for annual efficiency gains by 2007-08, referred to on pages 107-108 of his Department’s Annual Report, was achieved. [247201]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The former DFES 2004 Spending Review Efficiency target of £4.35 billion was overachieved with gains of £4.57 billion reported in the 2008 Autumn Performance Report (published December 2008). Within the report there is full disclosure of how the gains were achieved.

Departmental Data Protection

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of contractors and suppliers to his Department has reported compliance with the Government’s security standards following publication of the report, Data Handling Procedures in Government, and the accompanying document, Cross-departmental Actions: Mandatory Minimum Action, on 25 June 2008. [245310]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Since 1 July 2008 all new contracts with contractors have included appropriate clauses to ensure that they are compliant with the Government’s security standards. We are also assessing contracts that were let prior to 1( )July 2008 to address any security issues. An answer to the percentage question could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Departmental Higher Civil Servants

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many bonuses were awarded to senior civil servants working at his Department and its agencies in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008; and how much was spent on such bonuses in each of those years. [249853]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Department was created on 28 June 2007. Since then 80 bonuses have been awarded for the performance year 2007/08 worth a total of £780,000.

The Department has no agencies.

Departmental Supply Estimates

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to which budget he has allocated the £2,500,000 moved from non-voted unallocated provision for Sure Start in his written ministerial statement of 25 November 2008, Official Report, column 49WS, on departmental expenditure limit (2008-09). [251423]


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Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The non-voted unallocated provision was transferred to voted provision. The £2,500,000 was allocated to ‘Sure Start Current Grants not through Local Authorities’ in Request for Resources (RfR) 2 Line A.

Education Maintenance Allowance: Kent

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the reasons are for the time taken to make education maintenance allowance payments in Kent in 2008-09. [251689]

Jim Knight: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) who operate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). Mark Haysom the LSC's chief executive, will write to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in both Libraries.

Education Maintenance Allowance: Wansdyke

Dan Norris: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many residents of the Wansdyke constituency were in receipt of education maintenance allowance during 2007-08. [251833]

Jim Knight: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) who operate the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). Mark Haysom the LSC’s Chief Executive, will write to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in both Libraries.

Education: Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the ranking of Newcastle upon Tyne Local Education Authority in relation to the other local education authorities in the results of the most recent national challenge measurement of achievement at GCSE was; and what bids for funding in respect of the national challenge he has received from Newcastle Local Education Authority. [251766]

Jim Knight: Newcastle has 18 per cent. of its schools attaining fewer than 30 per cent. 5 A*-C including English and mathematics. When ranking local authorities according to percentage of schools below the 30 per cent. threshold in proportion to all schools in local authorities, Newcastle upon Tyne local authority has the 43(rd) highest proportion of schools below the threshold. However, this ranking is relatively insensitive for those authorities with a small number of schools, since a single institution may represent a large proportion of the authority’s schools.

Newcastle upon Tyne has received £380,000 of National Challenge funding. This funding will support schools below 30 per cent., help those in danger of falling below and consolidate recent improvements.

GCSE: Cleethorpes

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of eligible pupils passed five or more GCSEs at grade A* to C in Cleethorpes constituency in each of the last 10 years. [252784]


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Jim Knight: The information requested is shown in the following table.

Pupils( 1) at maintained schools located in Cleethorpes constituency passing five or more GCSEs or equivalent( 2) at grade A* to C, 1998/99 to 2007/08
Cleethorpes parliamentary constituency

Number Percentage

2007/08(3)

968

62.5

2006/07

930

59.9

2005/06

830

53.6

2004/05

755

48.9

2003/04

776

48.0

2002/03

645

43.1

2001/02

694

45.2

2000/01

673

44.2

1999/2000

632

43.1

1998/99

638

42.9

(1) Figures for 2005/06 onwards are based on pupils at the end of key stage 4. Data for previous years are based on pupils aged 15 years old at the start of the academic year.
(2) From 1998/99 includes GNVQ equivalences and from 2003/04 other equivalences approved for use pre-16.
(3) Figures for 2007/08 are based on revised data.

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