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Lord Northbourne: In the context of what the noble Baroness has just said about the need to recruit 20,000 mentors, it may be helpful for the Committee to know that the national total of full-time local authority staff engaged in direct work with young people today is 3,190. Some are involved in administration and there are also a number of part-time workers. For the full-time equivalent within the local authority sector only, there are just under 8,000 staff today and we are looking for 20,000.

In the context of my Amendment No. 216A, the Government have repeatedly referred to the importance of this Bill extending and enhancing the Government's policies for reducing social exclusion, or to put it positively, for promoting social inclusion. It is in the context of Clause 99 that the services will be provided. If that is part of the intention of that clause, the Bill should say so; but if it is not, I should be most grateful if the noble Baroness can explain why.

Baroness David: My name is attached to this amendment. I come back to what it actually says; namely, adding the words "appropriate to their needs". I do not believe that that was mentioned very much by the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, who gave more or less a clause stand part speech as regards Clause 99.

It is important that young people have advice and guidance appropriate to their needs. How is that to be gained? I come back to the Careers Service. The Secretary of State still has a duty to have such a service. It is wondering what its position is to be in the new regime. How will the duty of the Secretary of State to retain a careers service be carried out under these new arrangements? I have read Connexions, too. I agree that it leaves a great many questions still to be answered. I also understand when the Minister says that it is going to be an evolutionary process. A little more information would set a great many minds at rest, which I hope she can give us when she replies to this amendment.

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Connexions indicates that the new service group is to be focused around personal advisers for people at school. They will often be the learning mentors. They will be appointed and managed by the headteachers, but they will operate as part of the Connexions service. Does that mean that there will no longer be access for all young people to a careers adviser who is based outside the school, and who is in contact with the labour market and able to give impartial advice? The learning mentors inside the school, or the personal advisers, are not likely to be in touch with the labour market which is very important when giving advice to young people. How can we ensure that there is impartial advice appropriate to the needs of young people? That is extremely important. We must try to ensure that that will be so.

The Education Act 1997 ensured that schools would be given access to the Careers Service and therefore to the impartial advice that I have mentioned. Can the Minister tells us whether the Careers Service will be going to the schools as much as it has done before? The heads are very anxious about this. I was telephoned by John Dunton, the General Secretary of the Secondary Heads Association. He said that they are extremely anxious to know exactly who is going to provide the sort of impartial advice that they are now getting, and which I have mentioned.

I have sent a copy of a letter to the Minister from the head of Skipton Girls' High School. She emphasises this anxiety. I shall quote a little from it. She says:

    "Neither I nor my colleagues have any difficulty with the philosophy of inclusion for that sector of young people, but we feel that the new agenda needs extra resource, rather than switching the use of the present resource from main-stream education. The latter policy means that the careers advice and help available for main-stream pupils in main-stream schools will be decimated and, in my own institution, where almost all students go into the Sixth Form, and indeed on to Further or Higher education, it will be practically non-existent. We place an extremely high value on the professional and impartial advice given to our students by the Careers Service".

She goes on to say:

    "If the whole onus for careers advice and support is in future to fall on to the schools, we lack both the professional expertise and the resource to keep our students fully informed and fully prepared at all stages in their school careers".

Therefore, I hope that the Minister can enlighten us a little about all of this.

What will happen to the other services that the Careers Service has provided in the past; for instance, careers library support and careers education to help the careers teachers in the schools? The Careers Service also helps with in-service training. It also manages work experience programmes and placement services. Will these services be sustained under the new arrangements and, if so, how?

Resources are extremely important. Will adequate resources be available to sustain all these services in the light of the considerable resources that will be required by the new Connexions service? It is an extremely important issue.

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As regards planning guidance for learning mentors--the personal mentors--the department says,

    "Effective links to the Careers Service are also needed to ensure young people receive sound advice and guidance on post-school options. The learning mentor role should be recognised in partnership agreements between schools and the Careers Service".

When replying, I hope that the Minister can tell us a little more about it. I am anxious that these young people should have advice on their future training and education appropriate to their own abilities.

The Earl of Listowel: I speak to Amendment No. 216A. When young people, whom one might describe as "socially excluded", take part for the first time in some exciting and stimulating activity such as dry skiing, sailing or rowing, they feel elated and excited to be doing something they would never have imagined themselves doing. It is something which a privileged person might do and they might not think of being able to do it themselves. I hope that those kinds of activity are exactly what the Government have in mind as the purpose of the Connexions scheme. If that is so, and that kind of inclusion is the aim, why not put it on the face of the Bill?

Baroness Sharp of Guildford: I speak to Amendment No. 216 and reinforce the arguments that have already been made. The central issue is resources. We all endorse the Connexions document and the social inclusion agenda set out in Connexions. We recognise the importance of this issue and of getting 160,000 young people who are currently out of education or any form of employment or training, into some form of training leading to employment. We thoroughly endorse that as part of the Government's agenda.

However, a figure of £500 million has been put on that agenda. We assume that each mentor will cost something like £25,000 a year. If there are 20,000 mentors, that will cost £500 million. Where is that money coming from? Does it mean that it is coming from the budgets of the existing youth services, paltry though they are in many cases, and the existing Careers Service? That is what worries us and why we want to have written on the face of the Bill the words "appropriate to their needs" because there are also the needs of other young people other than the socially excluded, who are currently in schools and being serviced by the Careers Service.

Roughly £250 million a year goes to the Careers Service. Is it envisaged that the £500 million, which will be required for the Connexions service, should take all this £250 million from the Careers Service? If so, what about the needs of those who are currently in school or out of school who are being advised by the service? The service is extremely important. What is more, as I understand it, there is a duty on the Secretary of State under the terms of the 1973 Act to provide advice and guidance to help such young people decide on their futures. We need to be quite clear that Clause 99 is about additional powers and that it will not destroy duties that are already there and incumbent on the Secretary of State.

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5.30 p.m.

Lord Hylton: I should like to support both Amendment No. 216 and Amendment No. 216A. It has been known for a long time that there is such a thing as a hierarchy of human needs; for example, it is probably rather useless to provide careers advice if the real problem is something like destitution, homelessness or drugs. All those factors have a bearing on social exclusion and inclusion. That is why I should like to see both the needs relating to social exclusion, as well as its promotion, written into the legislation.

Baroness Blackstone: My noble friend Lady David suggested that we have had a clause stand part debate; indeed, we certainly have. A huge number of different questions and issues have been raised, many of which have absolutely nothing to do with the amendments that have been tabled. However, I shall do my best and try to answer the questions that have been posed.

Baroness Blatch: I take great exception to what the Minister has just said. The way in which the service will be delivered locally depends very much on the questions that we have asked; for example, the networking, the funding, who will be responsible and how people will be recruited. We can secure the appropriate provision only if we understand the mechanisms involved. We know that the Connexions document underpins information that is needed to understand this Bill. I make no apologies for raising these matters; nor, I hope, will other Members of the Committee. It is not a Second Reading debate. We are now talking about the detail of such issues.

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