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Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what procedure his Department follows for dealing with complaints received (a) by e-mail, (b) by post, (c) by telephone and (d) via his Department's website. 
Mr. Simon: All complaints, whether received by e-mail, post, telephone or website are, in the first instance, handled by the Public Communications Unit, a shared service provided by DCSF, who log the complaint and pass the correspondence to the relevant official. The DIUS published procedure is then followed.
Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much has been spent by his Department on advertising in weekly and regional newspapers since its inception. 
Mr. Simon: Since the Departments creation, special advisers at DIUS have attended two training events, though they have done so as speakers to introduce others to their role in the Department, rather than as learners. Specifically, these two courses were corporate member training and a staff development day.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much his Department has spent on (a) conference services and (b) banqueting services in each year since its creation. 
To provide the information requested would incur disproportionate cost. This is because the information is not held in the format requested. It is not possible to disaggregate costs for general training, conferences organised internally and for conferences arranged by outside bodies. Costs for the provision of food at events by a banqueting service cannot be disaggregated between all marketing, conferences and training expenditure.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies paid in end-of-year performance bonuses to (i) all staff and (ii) senior Civil Service staff in 2008-09; and how many such payments were made. 
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what guidance his Department issues on staff claims for travel in first class carriages on trains if there are no seats in standard class. 
Guidance does state that staff in grades Senior Executive Officer (SEO) and above have a formal entitlement to first class travel. However, before travelling, all staff should consider the following issues around the journey ahead:
If they need to work on the train there may be occasions, for example travelling at peak times on a busy route, when first class travel will be less busy and noisy than standard class.
If they intend to eat a full meal on the train and claim reimbursement, they should consider whether they will get a better deal by opting for a first class or executive package which includes meal vouchers.
If they have a disability or a temporary condition, such as a broken limb, first class travel is likely to be more comfortable.
It also states staff should consider their class of travel in advance to take advantage of discounts, route deals and meal availability. If they have booked a seat in standard accommodation but find it is too busy and noisy to work, then they may upgrade to first class.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many (a) review and (b) taskforce projects his Department has commissioned in each year since its creation; what the purpose of each such project is; when each such project (i) began and (ii) was completed; what the cost of each such project was; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Simon: Summary information on taskforces and other standing bodies is available in the annual Cabinet Office publication Public Bodies. Copies of Public Bodies 2008 are available in the Libraries of the House.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much his Department has spent on branded stationery and gifts for (a) internal and (b) external promotional use in each year since its creation. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of office supplies purchased by his Department were recycled products in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of the change in functions of the Learning and Skills Council on the role of specialist independent post-16 colleges; 
(2) what guidance he has given to local authorities on support for the functions of specialist independent post-16 colleges; and if he will direct local authorities to guarantee funding streams for such colleges. 
Independent specialist providers of post-16 education and training play an important role in providing education for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities, often with very specific needs and requirements. We recognise the value of having a diverse mix of high quality providers that ensures that our young people are able to access the right course or provision to help them realise their goals and ambitions. We do not feel it is appropriate to centrally guarantee funding streams for particular institutions. Local authorities will need to work in partnership with each other, providers and young people and their families to assess the level of demand in their area and to commission suitable provision that meets young peoples needs.
Provision has been made in clause 40 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill to require local authorities, when commissioning provision, to take account of the quality of provision being secured and encourage diversity in the range of education and training on offer to support learner choice. In addition, in deciding whether education and training is suitable to meet young peoples reasonable needs, local authorities will be required to have regard to any learning difficulties the persons may have.
We believe that the transfer to local authorities will have significant benefits in terms of a more informed and integrated commissioning of their services leading to better outcomes for learners. Arrangements are being developed, in consultation with stakeholders, that recognise that independent specialist colleges will often work across local authority boundaries and nationally, and consideration is being given to the need to minimise bureaucracy for these and other learning providers. These arrangements will feed into the statutory guidance being developed for local authorities in respect of their commissioning responsibilities which the Young Peoples Learning Agency (YPLA) will publish when it comes into being in April 2010, subject to the passage of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill.
We do not expect the YPLA to be involved in the commissioning of learning provision in the vast majority of cases, although there may be some circumstances where it may need to commission provision directly, for instance:
where a local authority is failing or looks likely to fail in fulfilling its duties under clauses 40 and 47 of the Bill to commission suitable education or training;
with a small number of national providers for whom it may be appropriate to commission at a national rather than local level; and
where the sub regional group (SRG) identifies that they are not yet ready to take on the role.
Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many young people resident in Plymouth, Sutton constituency were in further education (a) in 1997 and (b) at the latest date for which information is available. 
Estimates of participation in education, training and employment in England for those of academic age(1) 16-18 are published annually by the Department in a Statistical First Release (SFR) each June at:
The Department publishes local authority estimates of participation in England as additional tables alongside the national figures, including those for Plymouth local authority. The estimates cannot be further broken down by parliamentary constituency area.
(1) Academic age represents the age at the start of the academic year, 31 August.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what recent research his Department has commissioned on the aspirations of children in secondary school to go on to higher education; 
Mr. Lammy: DIUS recently commissioned research as part of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (Next Steps) and the Youth Cohort Study. This covers over 11,000 16 and 17-year-olds, many of whom are at school and college, and includes questions about their attitudes towards higher education including views of its costs and benefits, intentions regarding applying for places, and awareness of financial aspects, subject preferences and other aspects of higher education. We expect that the report will be published in late June 2009.
In 2006/07, the proportion of 18 to 20-year-olds from the top three socio-economic classes who participated for the first time in full-time higher education was provisionally 39.5 per cent. The proportion from the bottom four socio-economic classes was provisionally 19.0 per cent.
These figures cover English-domiciled 18 to 20-year-olds who are studying for the first time at higher education level at UK higher education institutions or English further education colleges, who remain on their courses for at least six months. Further information is available on the DIUS website:
This Government are fully committed to ensuring every young person has a fair chance of attending university. We are making progress with the proportion of young entrants from lower socio-economic groups going to university increasing steadily, reaching almost 30 per cent. in 2007.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many official meetings the Minister for Skills has had with the Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council in the last 18 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Simon: Both the previous Minister for Skills and I have had regular meetings with the chief executive of the Learning and Skills Council over the past 18 months. As part of the overall accountability framework that includes formal quarterly review meetings on LSC performance, the most recent of which took place on 16 March 2009. We also meet on a regular and frequent basis to discuss a wide range of FE policy and implementation issues.
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much the Medical Research Council spent on research into (a) leukaemia, (b) brain cancer, (c) lung cancer, (d) colo-rectal cancer, (e) breast cancer and (f) prostate cancer in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07 and (iii) 2007-08. 
The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research. The MRC is
currently funding a large portfolio of site-specific and general underpinning cancer research. In 2007/08, the MRCs expenditure on cancer research amounted to £89.5 million.
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