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5 May 2009 : Column 46

Two questions were asked about funding. Funding will go to the Young People’s Learning Agency and then to the host authorities. We are considering how best we can ensure that the funding designated for education in custody is spent on that and how we get equality of spend across the system. We will work closely with all the partners to agree a model for how we can make that happen. In England, the funding will flow from central Government to the YPLA to the host LEAs, which will then use it to secure education and training for juveniles in custody. In Wales, it will be slightly different—the funding will be re-routed from the Youth Justice Board’s budget to the Welsh Assembly Government and then distributed to host LEAs, which will receive additional funding to carry out their new responsibilities of securing education and training in juvenile custody.

Mr. Stuart: I am trying to understand this process. I thought that the home authority was going to play a role, but obviously not—the money will flow between the YPLA and the host authority. Will the allocation to the host authority be based on a standard assessment of need, and to what extent can that be constrained by the budgetary position of the YPLA?

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: We are looking forward to agreeing that model as we bring it forward. The home LEA is involved because the Bill proposes that host LEAs should be able to recoup the cost of SEN provision from home authorities, because they are not providing it while the young person is in custody. We need to get the model right and ensure that all the partners are involved.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead, East and Washington, West (Mrs. Hodgson) is a seasoned campaigner on behalf of young people with SEN. Her Bill was very important because, as she rightly says, information flows are vital.

Rob Marris: Can my hon. Friend assure me that the YPLA, which will be the funding body for the host authority, will have sufficient funds? Will it be charged with the responsibility of providing a higher per capita annualised figure for the education of a young person in the secure estate than the average figure for what one might broadly term a regular secondary school student, so that extra moneys will go into the education of young people in the secure estate, many of whom, although they do not have statemented special educational needs, have what we might call, in lay terms, particular educational needs, often in catching up with the basic three R’s?

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I cannot give my hon. Friend an assurance on whether that average is right without having the figures in front of me. It is certainly something that we are looking into. We expect that host LEAs will receive additional funding to carry out these responsibilities. I cannot comment on the figures that he quoted, which are from five years ago. I undertake to write to him with the information. [ Interruption. ] I have just seen that the amount of funding that the Government give to local authorities for the education and training of young people in custody will be based on a per-bed price that is agreed centrally by national partners at the start of the commissioning process. Funding for special educational needs is relative to the child, which is why we have to get the model right to ensure that they get the appropriate amount.

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I hope that hon. Members will agree that the new clauses are an improvement, and that the whole Bill is an improvement, for young people in custody. We hope that if we can get education and training right, that will prevent the reoffending that hon. Members have mentioned.

Question put and agreed to.

New clause 14 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 15

Detention of child or young person: local education authorities to be notified

‘After section 39 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (c. 37) insert—

“39A Detention of child or young person: local education authorities to be notified

(1) Subsection (2) applies where a youth offending team becomes aware that—

(a) a child or young person has become subject to a detention order and is detained in relevant youth accommodation, or

(b) a child or young person who is subject to a detention order has been transferred from one place of accommodation to another which is relevant youth accommodation.

(2) The youth offending team must as soon as practicable notify—

(a) the home local education authority, and

(b) the host local education authority,

of the place where the child or young person is detained.

(3) Subsection (4) applies where a youth offending team becomes aware that a person has been released having immediately before release been—

(a) subject to a detention order, and

(b) detained in relevant youth accommodation.

(4) The youth offending team must as soon as practicable notify the following authorities of the release—

(a) the home local education authority;

(b) the host local education authority;

(c) any other local education authority in whose area the youth offending team expects the person to live on release.

(5) Nothing in this section requires a youth offending team to notify a local education authority of any matter of which the authority is already aware.

(6) In this section—

“home local education authority”, in relation to a child or young person, means the local education authority which is the home authority in relation to that person within the meaning of Chapter 5A of Part 10 of the Education Act 1996 (persons detained in youth accommodation);

“host local education authority”, in relation to a child or young person who is detained in relevant youth accommodation, means the local education authority for the area in which that person is detained;

“young person” includes a person who is aged 18;

and references in this section to a person subject to a detention order and to relevant youth accommodation have the same meanings as they have in the Education Act 1996 (see section 562(1A) of that Act).”’.— (Sarah McCarthy-Fry.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

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New Clause 21

Further education corporations in England: co-operation and promotion of well-being

‘(1) The Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (c. 13) is amended as follows.

(2) In section 19 (supplementary powers of a further education corporation), after subsection (8) add—

“(9) A further education corporation may provide advice or assistance to any other person where it appears to the corporation to be appropriate for them to do so for the purpose of or in connection with the provision of education by the other person.”

(3) After that section insert—

“19A Duty in relation to promotion of well-being of local area

(1) This section applies to a further education corporation established in respect of an educational institution in England.

(2) In exercising their functions under sections 18 and 19, the corporation must—

(a) have regard, amongst other things, to the objective of promoting the economic and social well-being of the local area, and

(b) in doing so, have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State about co-operation with a view, directly or indirectly, to advancing that objective.

(3) In subsection (2)—

(a) the reference to the well-being of an area includes a reference to the well-being of people who live or work in the area;

(b) “co-operation”, in relation to a further education corporation, means any form of co-operation, including consulting, seeking advice or assistance from, providing advice or assistance to, or collaborating or otherwise participating in joint working with, other educational institutions, employers or other persons (who may be, or include, persons outside the local area).

(4) In this section, “the local area”, in relation to a further education corporation, means the locality of the institution in respect of which they are established.

(5) Nothing in this section is to be taken to affect the operation of section 49A.”’.— (Ed Balls.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls): I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government new clause 22— Targets for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

Government new clause 23— Local Safeguarding Children Boards: lay members.

Government new clause 24— Local Safeguarding Children Boards: annual reports.

New clause 20— Children visited by key workers—

‘After section 16 of the Children Act 2004 insert—

“16A (1) A Children’s services authority shall secure that, when any child who is the subject of—

(a) an investigation under section 47 of the Children Act 1989; or

(b) a child protection plan agreed by the Local Safeguarding Children Board

is visited by his or her key worker, the child shall, if practicable and reasonable in the circumstances, be seen separately from his or her parent or care-giver.
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(2) The key worker referred to in subsection (1) is—

(a) in the case of subsection (1)(a) of this section, the lead social worker appointed by the children’s services authority; and

(b) in the case of subsection (1)(b), the key worker appointed by the Local Safeguarding Children Board.”’.

New clause 29— Chairman of local safeguarding board—

‘A Children’s Services Authority in England must ensure that the Local Safeguarding Board established by it has a chairman who is independent of that authority.’.

Government amendment 18.

Amendment 54, in clause 187, page 100, line 26, at end insert—

‘(ff) a short stay school within the area of the authority;

(fg) a Sure Start Children’s Centre within the area of the authority;

(fh) a representative of an extended school provider with authority;

(fi) general medical practitioners within the area of the authority.’.

Amendment 15, in clause 188, page 103, line 43, at end insert—

‘(6) A Children’s Trust Board must have regard to the need to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child when preparing a children and young people’s plan.’.

Amendment 67, page 104, line 7, at end insert—

‘( ) allocate clear areas of responsibility and accountability for each section of the plan to relevant persons and bodies;’.

Government amendments 19 and 20.

Ed Balls: Over the past few days, people around the country will have been horrified to read that one of the defendants found guilty in respect of the death of baby Peter has also committed another vile and disgusting crime against a small and vulnerable child. There is nothing that we can do to take away the suffering caused by such terrible crimes, but it is our responsibility to do everything that we can to ensure that there are the best possible child protection arrangements—in Haringey and across the country.

In November last year, I asked Lord Laming to provide us with an independent progress report on child protection across the country. In my statement to the House on 12 March I confirmed that we would accept all Lord Laming’s recommendations and set out the immediate action that we were taking to implement them. In his report, Lord Laming concluded that the Every Child Matters reforms provided

However, he also stated that there now needed to be

He challenged us to do more to ensure that leaders of local services accept their responsibility to

As I said in my statement to the House a few weeks ago, in that report Lord Laming made a series of detailed recommendations to ensure that best practice is universally applied in every area of the country, to improve local accountability and to provide more support for local leaders and the front-line work force. Tomorrow we will set out our detailed response to Lord Laming’s report
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and our new vision for the new national safeguarding delivery unit, as well as the first recommendations of our social work taskforce to improve front-line social work practice.

Today, we have tabled three new clauses that will help us to go further towards implementing Lord Laming’s recommendations in this Bill, and I thank Opposition Members for their co-operation in agreeing to the new clauses coming forward on Report. They will introduce new statutory targets for safeguarding and child protection and require local safeguarding children boards to appoint two members drawn from the local community and to publish an annual report on their effectiveness.

New clause 22 will insert a new section into the Children Act 2004 to allow us to introduce the statutory targets that Lord Laming recommended in his report, to ensure that safeguarding and child protection are the top priority in every area. Of course, there is a national role in the setting of those targets, but the vital thing is for local agencies to be consulted on those targets and then to ensure that they are properly driven forward locally. That is why they must take account of local performance and circumstance and why we expect local authorities to consult all local agencies and to propose challenging targets to us. We will bring forward secondary legislation to address the details of how those targets will be set, alongside the review of the range of safeguarding targets, and will publish a new framework in the autumn.

Annette Brooke: I have some concerns about consultation. The Secretary of State has just made it clear that there will be consultation on the details, perhaps following the enactment of the new clauses, but how much has he undertaken in advance of their introduction?

Ed Balls: In preparing his report, which I asked him to begin in December, Lord Laming held a wide range of meetings all round the country with practitioners and professionals. It was on that basis that he recommended the proposed statutory targets. We have obviously consulted our key partners, as well as Opposition Members and Departments, on the fact that we intend to implement that recommendation. When Lord Laming issued his report in March, I said that we would implement his recommendation, and today we are taking the power to do so. The detail of how we will do that—that is, both the content of the secondary legislation and, importantly, the detailed statutory targets—is something on which we will consult over the coming months and in the autumn. There will therefore be a full consultation on how we enact those powers, but the fact that we are enacting them is a consequence of Lord Laming’s consultation and his report.

Government new clause 23 amends the Children Act 2004 to require local authorities to open up the child protection system to greater public scrutiny by ensuring that two members of the general public are appointed to every local safeguarding children board in the country. An important part of our response to Lord Laming’s report was to say that we needed greater transparency and public involvement, not least because safeguarding children is the responsibility of us all, not just professionals. Government new clause 23 will allow best practice to become common practice and will ensure that we can implement that recommendation in a sensible manner.

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In line with Lord Laming’s recommendations, we have already said that we will revise our statutory guidance in “Working Together” to set out our presumptions that the director of children’s services and the lead member for children’s services will always be members of both the children’s trust board and the LSCB. The chief executive and the leader of the council will have an obligation to confirm annually that their local arrangements comply with the law. Government new clause 24 will require the local safeguarding children board to publish an annual report and to submit it to its local children’s trust, in order to provide an honest assessment of how those arrangements are being implemented and ensure that resourcing, organisation and co-ordination issues are being properly addressed by all agencies in the children’s trust, thereby allowing proper and effective scrutiny.

Rob Marris: I display my ignorance here, but I see that the annual report will go to the local children’s trust board. I appreciate that some matters covered may be delicate, but to ensure the scrutiny to which my right hon. Friend has referred, will those annual reports be publicly available, so that people can read what is going on in their area?

Ed Balls: The reports will be public reports, issued by the safeguarding children board. All the experts who are involved in overseeing safeguarding arrangements in an area are on the safeguarding children board. They will report to the children’s trust, which is responsible for ensuring that those responsible in every local area for leading individual agencies—whether the local authority, the police, health services or other agencies more widely—are putting in place both the senior management time and the resourcing to ensure that the challenge of safeguarding is being properly implemented. That allows the children’s trust to ensure that safeguarding is being done properly and it allows the safeguarding board to ensure that individual agencies are playing their proper role. That must happen in public. An important part of our proposed new clauses is opening up the process to proper scrutiny.

Bob Spink: I fully accept the Secretary of State’s good will in bringing forward the Government’s new clauses, which I welcome. However, does he agree that they rely to some extent on his issuing strong guidance and on monitoring performance to ensure that local authorities comply with that guidance? What assurances can he give that he will indeed give that strong guidance and conduct robust monitoring?

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