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26 Feb 2009 : Column 1064W—continued

The equipment failure reporting system (EFRS) is the mandated system for equipment users to report failures, such as accidental damage, maintenance related failures and breakdowns, or the failure of an item fitted to the vehicle. It does not incorporate the results of subsequent investigations and therefore does not differentiate between what might later prove to have been a problem caused by operator error or damage sustained as a result of operations. Nor do these data record the severity of a failure which might have no discernible impact on operational capability or safety. It is not possible using EFRs to distinguish how many of the EFRs in the ‘Others' section were as a result of training, and some of the EFRs raised in Iraq and Afghanistan may have been during in theatre training rather than during the conduct of operations.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many services personnel have experienced (a) heatstroke and (b) other heat exhaustion illness in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan in each year since 2005. [257695]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence records instances of heat illness as part of its monitoring of climatic injury. Heat illness has traditionally been divided into heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but in practice it is difficult to define the division between the two. Heat illness is therefore used to cover the full continuum of illness ranging from mild symptoms such as muscular weakness, headache and excess fatigue to more serious outcomes such as collapse or coma.

The following table shows the instances of heat illness, among UK service personnel, that have required attendance at a Field hospital for Operation Telic since 2005 and Operation Herrick since reporting began in August 2006:

Op Telic Op Herrick













These figures were provided by the Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) and extracted from the Operational Emergency Department Attendance register (OpEDAR).

This table updates the figures given in a previous answer on 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 640-41W. Where a change in numbers has occurred this has been due to subsequent validation by DASA of the OpEDAR dataset.

These figures provide an indication of instances of heat illness.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to make a decision on the acquisition of the low initial rate production aircraft for the Joint Strike Fighter. [257683]

Mr. Quentin Davies: We will make a decision once the formal contract negotiations, in which we are closely engaged, for these aircraft are complete and we have been able to judge affordability within the present planning round. I will inform the House once these negotiations have concluded and a decision has been made.

Land Mines

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence at which of his Department's properties in Scotland (a) land mines and (b) cluster bombs are stored. [258119]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Anti-vehicle land mines (bar mines) are stored at the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency's (DSDA) Longtown explosives storage facility at Eastriggs in Dumfries and Galloway.

No cluster munitions are stored on MOD property in Scotland. Inert training versions of the BL 755 bomb, that contain no explosives or bomblets, are stored at DSDA's Glen Douglas facility in Argyll and Bute, awaiting disposal.

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Pakistan: Military Aid

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel are currently deployed in Pakistan; in which roles; and if he will make a statement. [258849]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There are currently 23 UK military personnel based in Pakistan. UK personnel undertake a variety of roles, including training and liaison. In addition, some personnel undertake diplomatic duties and fill exchange posts.

Peacekeeping Operations

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) maximum, (b) minimum and (c) average cash allowance awarded to civilian staff in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan was in each of the last two years. [258751]

Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 25 February 2009]: The information requested is as follows.


The maximum monthly allowance for the last two years is £8,250 before tax for a civil servant based in Basra. The minimum payment for the same period is £5,000 for a civil servant based in Baghdad.


The maximum monthly allowance for the last two years is £8,000 before tax for a civil servant based in Lashkar Gah. The minimum payment for the same period is £4,750 for a civil servant based in Kandahar.

Information on the average cash allowances awarded to civilian staff in operational theatres is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

MOD civil servants, unlike members of the armed forces, deploy into Iraq and Afghanistan on a voluntary basis to provide specialist support to UK armed forces. They are usually deployed for a six-month period during which time they are required to work long hours, live and work in austere conditions alongside their military counterparts and be exposed to dangerous conditions.

Such conditions are recognised through a system of taxable operational allowances which are reviewed on a regular basis. The total sum payable to individuals will vary. It is dependent on both their grade and their location.

Children, Schools and Families


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families from which (a) duties and (b) obligations imposed on maintained schools and their employees some or all academies are exempt; and if he will make a statement. [258222]

Jim Knight: It is not only education law which applies to maintained schools and their employees. There is a wide range of legislation which applies to such schools to a lesser or greater extent. It would therefore be a massive, and ongoing, task for the Department to compile such a list, and to try to establish it would incur a disproportionate cost.

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Academies are accountable through their funding agreements and legislation. This includes duties under equalities, procurement, employment and health and safety law, all of which are applied to maintained schools in the same way.

Nevertheless, in relation to education law, the regulatory framework applied to academies is lighter touch than the framework applied to maintained schools. This is because we wish to give academies flexibility in the way they are run in many areas—e.g. curriculum content and delivery (although, since 2007 all new academies have to follow the national curriculum for English, Maths, Science and ICT), organisation of the school day, pay and conditions of teachers—in order to help break through entrenched educational failure and low aspiration. Through offering innovative solutions towards tackling educational under-achievement academies are making significant strides towards improving the attainment of children within our most educationally disadvantaged communities. In 2008, the 36 academies which have been open long enough to have results in both 2007 and 2008 have seen an increase of 11.5 per cent. in the number of pupils at the end of key stage 4 gaining five or more A*-C grades at GCSE and equivalent. This is more than twice the otherwise impressive increase of 4.6 per cent. seen nationally.

Copies of our model funding agreement documentation and a list of some of the key legislative requirements on academies have been placed in the Libraries to illustrate how academies are held to account. Copies of open academies' funding agreements can be viewed on the DCSF FOI website

Academies: Sponsorship

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what measures are in place to support academies in the event that their sponsors become bankrupt; and if he will make a statement. [249434]

Jim Knight: If a sponsor wishes to withdraw involvement, for whatever reason, once an academy has been opened then the academy trust and DCSF would agree the best way forward. The prime consideration would be the needs of the pupils at the academy.

Academy financial sponsorship is of two types. More recent academies have sponsorship in the form of contribution to endowment funds. The income from these funds is intended to be used to enhance students' opportunities and widen the academy's role in its community, but does not contribute to the recurrent costs of providing education. Therefore any shortfall in sponsorship contributions, whilst regrettable, does not produce any need for additional support of the academy concerned.

Earlier academies have sponsorship in the form of contributions towards the capital cost, and in some cases contributions are complete. Where they are not, and a sponsor has difficulty completing payments on time, we will consider on a case-by-case basis what action to take.

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Care Proceedings

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he takes to monitor the activity of local authorities in respect of care proceedings in each year. [258204]

Beverley Hughes: Local authorities are responsible for initiating care proceedings based on their assessment in each specific case as to the likelihood of children facing significant harm attributable to the care provided by their parents.

The Department collects data from local authorities via annual returns once children have become looked after which include care orders, placement orders and emergency protection orders. The Department also receives data on the level of care applications via the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent assessment he has made of the effect of changes in court fees in respect of care applications on numbers of such applications. [258205]

Beverley Hughes: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families has asked
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Lord Laming to consider the key barriers to good safeguarding practice including legal issues as part of his review. This will include the effect of changes in court fees.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many applications for care proceedings were made by local authorities in November (a) 2007 and (b) 2008. [258302]

Bridget Prentice: I have been asked to reply.

The number of public law care and supervision applications under section 31 of the Children Act 1989 in November 2007 and November 2008 are given in the table below. Public law cases are those brought by local authorities or an authorised person (currently only the NSPCC). Figures relate to the number of children that are subject to each application and have been rounded to the nearest 10, and so the sum of the individual components may not equal the total. Please note that 2008 figures remain subject to change, particularly the later months of the year. Data for November 2008 have changed slightly compared to that provided previously, owing to updated data.

Comparisons between single months should be made with caution as the monthly figures are subject to more volatility than those covering longer time periods.

Number of public law care and supervision applications under section 31 of the Children Act 1989—England and Wales; county courts and family proceedings courts

November 2007 November 2008

Family proceedings courts(1)



County courts(2)






(1) There have been data quality issues with figures for family proceedings courts A new method of collection was introduced in April 2007 which has improved the coverage and completeness of data.
(2) Research undertaken on behalf of Ministry of Justice has identified that some cases that have transferred from the family proceedings court to the county court have been incorrectly recorded as new applications in the county court, thus inflating the reported number of new applications through double counting (see Masson et al 2008)
(3) Does not include applications in High Courts
HMCS Family Man and manual returns, as at February 2009.

Children: Databases

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what contingency arrangements his Department has made to be invoked in circumstances where a child's ContactPoint data have been (a) compromised and (b) made public. [252943]

Beverley Hughes: ContactPoint is designed, built, operated and managed to HM Government standards for security and complies with the strict controls imposed by HM Government security policy. Data contained within the system are made available only to those authorised users and administrators who have been subject to vetting and have completed mandatory training.

The ContactPoint system and access to it is constantly monitored. Suspicious network activity is checked and, if the system was thought to be under any form of threat or, if unauthorised access to ContactPoint was detected, the system would be immediately shut down and access denied to all users. Unauthorised or improper access to ContactPoint is treated as the highest priority, requiring immediate response and action by both my Department and the system supplier. Access to the system would not be restored until my Department had been assured that the source of attack or unauthorised or improper access had been located and any mitigating actions had been taken. Following an incident of this type, a full review would take place and prosecutions would be instigated where appropriate.

Where it was suspected that a child's record had been compromised, the individual (or their parent/carer as appropriate), practitioners or organisations working with them would be contacted to ensure that any necessary safeguarding/child protection procedures were initiated.

In the case of any breach of the system we would also inform the Information Commissioner's Office.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether ContactPoint uses name recognition software. [256479]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 12 February 2009]: ContactPoint does not use a name recognition software package. To achieve the best possible results ContactPoint
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seeks to match data using a number of criteria including name. For names, ContactPoint will seek to match both phonetic (e.g. Mohammed/Mohammad/Mohamad) and alternative names (e.g. James, Jim, Jimmie, Jimmy).

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 12 February 2009, Official Report, columns 2236-7W, on children: databases, what formula his Department used to allocate spending to each authority. [258760]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 25 February 2009]: The grant allocations to local authorities in respect of ContactPoint recognised the level of participation of each authority to support the development of ContactPoint. Grant allocations were based on a flat rate per authority with the balance of the total grant apportioned on the basis of child population. The flat rate and total grant varied from year to year according to the Department’s estimate of the costs likely to be incurred by local authorities during the different stages of implementing ContactPoint.

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