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Baroness Blackstone: I do not know the answer to that question. Again, I shall be very happy to write to my noble friend and give her that information.

Baroness Blatch: The noble Baroness, Lady David, pre-empted a question that I believe was left begging at the end of the Minister's explanation. It seems that the only way that the new arrangements can be delivered along the lines explained by the noble Baroness will be by the wholesale redefinition of job descriptions. If that is the case, and all the transfer arrangements come into play, people will have to be given the opportunity as to whether or not they wish to retain their existing job description. If they do not have the option of

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retaining their existing job description, then the choice is a stark one: it is either not to work at all or to be absorbed in the new arrangements under a totally different job description.

5.45 p.m.

Baroness Blackstone: The noble Baroness is quite right, there will be new job descriptions for people working for the Connexions service. I can reassure the many hundreds of thousands of people who currently work for the Careers Service and for those parts of the youth service that will become part of the Connexions service, that those kinds of arrangements will be put in place. I expect that the vast majority of them will be able to obtain jobs. After all, we will need more--not fewer--people to operate the Connexions service once it is fully implemented than are currently employed in the various organisations which will be absorbed into it.

Baroness Blatch: The noble Baroness makes my point. We are talking about needing a very large additional number of people. I was making a technical point. If job descriptions change, other pieces of legislation come into play. People cannot be made to accept a new job description. They have been employed on one job description and one set of terms and conditions; if that changes as a result of the new arrangements under the Connexions service programme, I simply pose the question--as did the noble Baroness, Lady David--which pieces of legislation will be invoked?

The noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, referred to the numbers of people employed in the present system. As a result of these changes we expect to employ a great many more. It is a very big change. That makes it necessary that we should have some assurance about funding and the resources to be made available. The noble Baroness has said that half the Careers Service would change.

Baroness Blackstone: Perhaps I can help the noble Baroness. I said that something like half the funding provided for the Connexions service will come from existing expenditure on the Careers Service. I did not say that half the Careers Service would change. That is a quite different point.

Baroness Blatch: Unless I missed something, the noble Baroness said that half the funding will disappear. The vast bulk of the funding is used to pay specific Careers Service personnel for doing specific work, and if the specific job descriptions change then half the Careers Service will change. If the funding is not being used to fund the Careers Service, as it is at the moment, and it is going to be changed--I am not arguing about that--then there is a technical issue to be addressed. Removing half of the funding will remove at least 50 per cent of its capacity to pay for the service it has been providing up until now. Perhaps the noble Baroness can explain.

Baroness Blackstone: We are not removing half of the funding; we are absorbing the entire Careers

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Service into the Connexions service. I was asked about the financial resources available to the Connexions service. In answering, I said that something like half the total amount that we will be spending on the Connexions service will come from the existing Careers Service budget. I hope that I have made myself clear. I am totally confused by what the noble Baroness said.

Baroness Sharp of Guildford: I, too, am still somewhat confused. I understand that the Minister is saying that, in effect, the Careers Service becomes the Connexions service. She has given an assurance that the existing duties under the Careers Service will remain as they were. It is quite clear that those whose needs are the greatest--as the Minister put it--come top of the social inclusion agenda.

There are a number of problems here. There is not enough slack in the current Careers Service. I know that the Government propose to take on more people in the Connexions service, but nevertheless, at present neither the Careers Service, let alone the youth service, has slack in it if one wants to continue the current provision of services to schools, which we do. The letter that the noble Baroness, Lady David, read out from the headmistress of Skipton Girls' High School indicates clearly that schools are not good at providing careers advice to pupils and that they need the help of careers advisers who are trained to help them, particularly with guidance. There are many pupils, as it were, not included in the social exclusion agenda who need guidance on their choices in relation to GCSEs, A-levels and going on to university. The Careers Service helps enormously with those choices. Schools cannot manage without those services.

So far as I understand it, the Government now propose to divert those services. Many of those people will need retraining. I agree entirely with that policy, but there is a need for new resources.

Baroness Blackstone: I rise to intervene because an unfortunate misunderstanding is developing in the Committee. I am rather surprised that the noble Baroness is raising the issue again, because I have already made it clear to my noble friend Lady David that there is no sense in which the Government intend to change the provision of important careers advice for pupils and students at school or in FE colleges. That service will continue to be provided, but, unlike in the past, it will now be under the auspices of the Connexions service.

The duty to provide careers services to all people in full or part-time vocational education includes young people and remains a statutory duty on the Secretary of State. All that Clause 99 does is to empower the Secretary of State to provide some additional services

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which will build on the duty to provide careers advice. That duty remains. As a result, there is in fact no repeal of any duty.

Baroness Blatch: I am even more confused. Perhaps we may analyse what the Minister has said. She said that approximately 50 per cent of the present funding of the Careers Service--

Baroness Blackstone: I shall try once more to explain. I said that the resources on which the new Connexions service will draw will be wide ranging. Some will be new money, which will of course have to be debated with the Treasury in the usual way in the Year 2000 spending review. I cannot anticipate the amount. Some of it will be money currently spent by existing services which are to be absorbed into the Connexions service. I hope that I have made that clear. The Careers Service will comprise a large part of what is absorbed and will therefore make up a substantial part--probably around half--of the funding for the new organisation. The services provided in the shape of guidance and advice to schools will continue.

Baroness Blatch: No further light has been thrown on the matter. The Careers Service currently in existence has extremely tight funding for its remit. Its employees have job descriptions. They know what their aims and objectives are. As we have already heard from the noble Baroness, Lady David, schools are quite certain about the service which they receive from the Careers Service. Our understanding is that under the new system it will be absorbed into the new Connexions arrangements and around 50 per cent of the funding will be pooled. If that 50 per cent--not the 100 per cent of the funding, because I understand that the entire Careers Service is to be absorbed into the new system--

Baroness Blackstone: I really am surprised by my failure to communicate. Obviously all my years of experience as a university lecturer are not standing me in good stead. I shall try to spell out yet again what I have said. One hundred per cent of the funding for the Careers Service will go into the new Connexions service, which will amount to about half the funding available to that service. I cannot go any further than that. I have tried to make myself clear. I hope that the matter is clear to other Members of the Committee, even if it is not clear to the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch.

Baroness Blatch: If the Minister reads Hansard, the very first reference to the 50 per cent funding was a rather different explanation from the one given just now. I shall analyse what the Minister is saying now: the Careers Service will be absorbed under the new Connexions arrangements and 100 per cent of its funding will represent 50 per cent of all the funding that will be needed. That will not be enough.

Baroness Blackstone: I have already explained to the noble Baroness that that is only part of the funding

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that will be available. I have explained that we are seeking further funding from the Treasury in the current spending review and that a number of other services will be contributing to the Connexions service, which means that further funding will be available. The noble Baroness may not believe that that is enough, but there is never enough money for anything. There is not enough money for 1,000 different services, but in the real world there will always be a limit. At some point the noble Baroness will discover what the total available funding will be, but I cannot give her the figure today.

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