I have tasked the National Measurement Office to provide a measurement infrastructure which supports innovation, facilitates fair competition, promotes international trade and protects consumers, health and the environment.
I have set the National Measurement Office the following targets for 2010-11:
To increase efficiency by reducing by at least 3 per cent. activities which are not directly linked to delivery or staff training.
To supply a customer-focused certification service by completing 93 per cent. of applications in accordance with agreed customer requirements.
To provide a prompt calibration service that completes at least 95 per cent. of jobs (including preparation of certificates) within 15 working days of acceptance of the work and also an average completion time of less than 10 working days.
To provide a legal metrology programme that completes 95 per cent. of the scheduled milestones by their due dates.
To preserve the investment of public moneys by ensuring that the ratio of spend on science programmes to legal programmes is at least as much as when the NMS unit transferred to NMO on 1 April 2009.
To provide a timely metering service by ensuring all meter examiner appointments, manufacturer authorisations/consents and modifications to meter approval and decisions, completes 92 per cent. of jobs within five business days of receipt of all necessary documentation.
To manage the finances effectively by ensuring that the portfolio of metrology programmes is provided within 1 per cent. of the allocated budget.
To manage the Teddington estate finances within 1 per cent. of the allocated budget.
Chief executive to reply within 10 working days to all letters from MPs delegated to him to reply.
to facilitate at least £1,000 million value-for-money improvements (£800 million cashable) for the public sector in 2010-11;
to achieve an overall customer satisfaction level of above 90 per cent;
to make a return on capital employed of 6.5 per cent. over a five year period (April 2009 to March 2014); and
to reduce by 5 per cent. the ratio of internal costs over value-for-money improvements with the out-turn for the same ratio in 2009-10 proportionate to cashable savings.
Explanatory notes on the Bill will be available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office and in the Libraries of both Houses on that day. Copies of the explanatory notes will be available on the Treasury's website.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office and for the Olympics, and Paymaster General (Tessa Jowell): Over the Easter recess, the Cabinet Office will publish "Mutual Benefit: giving people power over public services". The paper sets out the potential for mutuals to stimulate and secure greater citizen participation and engagement in public services.
Following publication, "Mutual Benefit: giving people power over public services" can be downloaded at: www.hmq.gov.uk/media/60217/mutuals.pdf
The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls): On 18 January I asked Sir Roger Singleton, the Government's independent chief adviser on the safety of children, to review the use of the defence of reasonable punishment in certain part-time educational and learning settings to establish the key issues and whether it was an area where we needed to consider a change in the interests of strengthening safeguards for children.
Sir Roger has now provided a report, "Physical punishment: improving consistency and protection", containing his advice and recommendations, for which I am very grateful. I appreciate the extensive work he has undertaken with a wide range of stakeholders and the careful consideration he has given to this complex and sensitive issue.
Sir Roger's main recommendation is that the current ban on physical punishment in schools and other children's settings should be extended to include any form of advice, guidance, teaching, training, instruction, worship, treatment or therapy and to any form of care or supervision which is carried out other than by a parent or member of the child's own family or household. This will resolve the discrepancy whereby a teacher is banned from smacking a child in a school, but the same teacher could administer physical punishment in an out-of-school setting. I believe this is a sensible and proportionate solution to removing this inconsistency.
Secondly, Sir Roger has recommended that the Government should continue to promote positive parenting strategies and effective behaviour management techniques directed towards eliminating the use of smacking. Parents who disapprove of smacking should make this clear to others who care for their children.
Thirdly, he has recommended that the development of appropriate safeguarding policies in informal education and learning organisations should continue to be promoted. Legal changes which flow from adoption of these recommendations will need to be communicated effectively.
The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls): The 19th report of the School Teachers Review Body (STRB) is being published today, covering a range of matters referred to them in October 2009. I am grateful for the careful consideration which the STRB has given to these matters. Copies of the report are available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office, the Libraries of both Houses and at www.teachernet.gov.uk/pay.
The STRB has recommended that revised criteria for payment of allowances to teachers of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) are introduced from September 2010. In addition, it recommends that the two discrete values in use currently should be replaced by a range.
I am grateful to the STRB for these recommendations which will allow teachers of pupils with special educational needs to continue to receive appropriate reward, and subject to consultees' views, I intend to implement new criteria.
The STRB has also made recommendations concerning criteria for appointments to deputy head and assistant head roles as part of a programme of work on which the STRB has previously made recommendations.
I note the STRB's recommendations for criteria for these leadership posts and I agree that this work should be taken into account in developing leadership standards and professional responsibilities for all teachers. I would welcome consultees' views on the criteria.
The following sets out the full set of recommendations from the School Teachers' Review Body and published in the 19th Report (Cm 7836) on 30 March 2010, together with the response from the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. The STRB's recommendations are set out below.
The 19th report of the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) is being published today. It covers the matters referred to the STRB in October 2009. Copies are available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and in the Libraries of both Houses and at http://www.ome.uk.com/STRB_Reports.aspx.
In making its recommendations, the STRB was required to have regard to items a to f set out in the remit letter of 8 October 2009. This report covers criteria for posts
in the leadership group, and for special educational needs payments. I am grateful for the careful and detailed attention the STRB has given to these matters. I am inviting comments on the STRB's report and my response to its recommendations by 29 April 2010.
SEN allowances should continue to be paid to teachers working in specified SEN roles but that the present system of two separate and defined SEN allowances be replaced with spot value allowances that fall within a specified SEN range.
The new SEN range start at £2,001 and the maximum be set at £3,954, to be uprated in line with any general uprating of teachers' pay. Schools and authorities should determine the spot values for individual posts, taking account of local context and specified factors.
SEN allowances be paid to those teaching:
in SEN posts that require a mandatory SEN qualification (all settings);
in special schools, and in designated special classes or units in schools and local authorities.
SEN allowances be paid to those teaching in non-designated settings, including PRUs, that are analogous to designated special classes or units where the post:
involves a substantial element of working directly with children with special educational needs;
requires the exercise of a teacher's professional skills and judgement in the teaching of children with special educational needs; and
has a greater level of involvement in the teaching of children with special educational needs than is the normal requirement of teachers throughout the school or authority.
In other exceptional cases, payment of SEN allowances be at the discretion of the school or local authority.
Schools and local authorities set out clearly in their teachers' pay policies the arrangements for rewarding teachers with SEN responsibilities.
I am grateful to the STRB for its consideration of this issue and agree that the two current allowances should be replaced by a range, and the existing criteria revised. I consider that any new criteria should be linked to teaching and learning in all educational settings, and am not therefore convinced of the need for discretion. Subject to consultees' views, I intend to implement revised criteria and an SEN range from September 2010.
Subject to review in any future STRB consideration of school leadership issues, the STPCD-the school teachers pay and conditions documents-be revised to include the following, with effect from September 2010:
Before establishing or making an appointment to any deputy head teacher or assistant head teacher post, the relevant body must be satisfied that:
(i) the post carries a substantial element of whole school responsibility that is not required of all classroom teachers or TLR holders, and
(ii) the holder of the post plays a major role, with full accountability, under the overall direction of the head teacher, in-
(a) formulating the aims and objectives of the school;
(b) establishing, developing and implementing the policies through which they are to be achieved;
(c) managing staff and resources to that end;
(d) monitoring progress towards the achievement of the school's aims, objectives and policies; and
(e) undertaking any professional duties delegated by the head teacher, including, for example: duties that impact on the standards of achievement and behaviour of pupils across the school; duties that involve working with external bodies and agencies; or duties that impact on securing pupils' access to their educational entitlements.
That there should be an additional requirement for deputy head teacher posts to carry a level of responsibility exceeding that expected of an assistant head teacher employed in the same school, including, when appropriate, responsibility for discharging the responsibilities of the head teacher in his/her absence.
I am grateful to the STRB for its detailed consideration of this issue and I welcome the recommendations for criteria for deputy and assistant head posts. I believe that this work should be taken into account in developing leadership standards and professional responsibilities for all teachers. I agree that pay arrangements for the leadership group should continue to be taken forward by the STRB in the course of a future remit. I would welcome consultees' views on the criteria which I will consider when developing criteria for implementation in 2010.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr. John Denham): I am announcing today the implementation of the duty for local authorities to respond to petitions, giving real power to local people to raise the issues they care about with their council and ensuring they receive a meaningful response.
The petitions duty is provided for by chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. The core elements of the duty, ensuring that local authorities must set out in a petition scheme how they will respond to petitions from people who live, work or study in their area, will come into force on 15 June this year. The requirements relating to electronic petitions will come into force on 15 December, reflecting the additional time needed for local authorities to procure, install and test software and to train staff.
To support effective delivery by local authorities, I am publishing today statutory guidance and a model petitions scheme, alongside the Government's response to consultation on draft versions of those documents. A total of 123 responses were received, and a number of changes have been made to the guidance and model scheme to reflect the helpful points that were raised.
The guidance draws attention to a number of areas where the Government expect local authorities to use the strong powers and influence they already have to respond to the issues raised in petitions. Examples include:
On antisocial behaviour-asking the courts to grant an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO); applying to the courts for a premises closure order to close properties where there is persistent nuisance or disorder; making a gating order to restrict access to any public highway to prevent crime or ASB; providing intensive, non-negotiable behavioural support through family intervention projects to perpetrators of antisocial behaviour and their families;
On alcohol related crime and disorder-placing restrictions on public drinking in the area by establishing a designated public place order or, as a last resort, imposing an alcohol disorder
zone. When an alcohol disorder zone is established, the licensed premises in the area where alcohol related trouble is being caused are required to contribute to the costs of extra policing in that area;
On underperforming schools-issuing a warning notice outlining expectations and a time frame for improvement; for schools that have failed to comply with a warning notice or are in an Ofsted category of notice to improve (requiring significant improvement) or special measures, authorities can also appoint additional governors, establish an interim executive board, remove the school's delegated budgets, require the school to enter into a formal contract or partnership or (only if the school is in special measures) require its closure; and
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