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1 Mar 2010 : Column 975W—continued

Departmental Travel

Mr. Watson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will publish the travel guidance issued to staff of each of his Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies. [314926]

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Mr. McFadden: I have approached the chief executives of the Insolvency Service, Companies House, the National Measurement Office and the Intellectual Property Office and they will respond to my hon. Friend directly.

Travel guidance issued to the staff of the Department's non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

For travel guidance issued to NDPB staff, the chief executive of each body should be contacted. A list of the Department's NDPBs can be found at the following link, under BERR's and DIUS's public bodies directories 2009:

Letter from Gareth Jones, dated 26 February 2010:

Letter from Stephen Speed, dated 26 February 2010:

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 26 February 2010:

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Letter from John Alty, dated 1 March 2010:

Early Retirement

David Simpson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of (a) males and (b) females who have taken involuntary early retirement in the last 12 months. [313647]

Mr. McFadden: The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), estimates that five people in the Department have taken involuntary early retirement in the last 12 months but further details cannot be given on the grounds of confidentiality.

Flexible Working: Carers

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people have applied to their employer for flexible working arrangements to assist them with their caring responsibilities in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [317336]

Mr. McFadden: The new employment rights introduced in April 2003 gave parents of children under six and disabled children under 18 the right to request flexible working; this was extended to carers in April 2007 and parents of children aged 16 and under in April 2009. There are no requirements for either employers or employees to notify the department when requests are made to work flexibly. The department does not have the requested information for the past 12 months, nor does the department have evidence on the number of requests accepted or rejected by carers since 2007.

However, the department conducts periodic sample surveys to estimate the proportions of employees making requests to change their regular working hours and the proportion of such requests accepted or rejected. The most recent employee survey (Third Work Life Balance Employees' Survey) was conducted in 2006, before the implementation of the extension of the right to request to carers. Table 1 presents the findings from the 2006 Survey.

Employees with parental responsibilities (defined as having dependent children aged under 19): in 2006, 20 per cent. of working parents (employees with dependent children undue nine years old) had made a request to change their regular working pattern during the previous two years, and 80% of requests had been accepted.

Employees with adult caring responsibilities (defined as looking after sick, disabled or elderly adults): in 2006, 26 per cent. of employees with adult caring responsibilities had made a request to change their working pattern, with 79 per cent. of requests accepted (11 per cent. rejected).

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Table 1: Request made to employer to change how they work at some point over previous two years, employees; Outcome of request by parental status and adult caring responsibilities

Request made to change how regularly worked during the previous two years( 1) Requests accepted by employer( 2 ) (fully and partially) Request declined by employer( 3)

All employees




Employees with dependent children(4)




Adult carers(5) (employees)




(1) Over the last two years, have you approached your current employer to make a request to change how you regularly work for a sustained period of time
(2) Was your request to change the way you regularly work agreed to?
(3) Not all requests had an outcome by the time of the survey
(4) Parental status is defined in the survey as having dependent children aged 18 or less;' Adult carers are defined as people who look after adults who are sick, disabled or elderly, whether they live with the carer or not
Third Work-Life Balance Survey 2006. ( 2,081 employees across Great Britain)

Fujitsu: Industrial Disputes

Mr. Benyon: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has received representations on the recent dispute between Fujitsu and Fujitsu employees on redundancies, levels of pay and company pensions policy. [314710]

Mr. McFadden: The Department has received a small number of letters about the rationalisation programme announced by Fujitsu Services last August, and the related dispute with some of its employees. The resolution of a dispute is a matter for the parties concerned, with the assistance of ACAS available, where both parties request their intervention.

Further and Higher Education: Admissions

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many places there were in (a) further and (b) higher education institutions in academic year 2008-09. [319177]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 26 February 2010]: In 2008/09 academic year (provisional), 4,756,600 learners participated in Learning and Skills Council funded learning (excluding Higher Education and school sixth forms).(1)

In 2008/09 there were 2,005,845 students enrolled at English Higher Education Institutions (including the Open University).(2)

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Further Education: Finance

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will take steps to simplify the arrangements for funding of colleges; and if he will make a statement. [319159]

Kevin Brennan: As set out in "Skills for Growth" (November 2009), the Government are committed to simplifying the further education (FE) and skills landscape. We will reduce the number of separate publicly-funded agencies, and the funding and monitoring of FE colleges will be undertaken through a simpler and lighter touch approach.

From April 2010, the Skills Funding Agency will have responsibility for allocating and delivering funding to colleges to support the training of adults (aged 19 and over). Each college and training organisation funded through the Skills Funding Agency will have a single contact point through their account manager.

From 2010/11 academic year there will be greater flexibility for colleges and training organisations in managing post 19 funding within budget streams.

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