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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The NHS Bank has been operating in shadow form this year, overseen by the Department of Health Director of Finance and Investment and four strategic health authority chief executives. The future legal form and management arrangements are still under consideration.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Eighteen hundred copies of each of the draft codes were printed, and 1,000 copies of the draft regulations, with electronic copies also being available via the department's website. The consultation was targeted towards admission authorities, as they would have the most direct interest in changes to the codes and regulations. This is why all local education authorities, as the admission authorities of community and voluntary controlled schools, were consulted, along with a representative sample of foundation and voluntary aided schools, which are their own admission authorities, and a smaller sample of other non-admission authority schools. Representative bodies of all school types were also consulted, as well as numerous national bodies. As part of a drive to reduce the amount of paperwork sent directly to schools, the department routinely consults representative samples, rather than going to every individual school.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The consultation period was shorter than normal as during the passage of the Education Act 2002 we stated our commitment to introducing changes to school admission arrangements from the 200405 academic year. This more compressed consultation schedule was therefore necessary in order to have the codes and regulations ready to come into effect from January 2003, so that the necessary work arising from them could be completed to affect 2004 admissions.
Much of the content of the new codes and regulations had already been the subject of consultation in September 2001 and of further debate during the passage of the 2002 Act. The department supported the paper consultation with a number of meetings around the country, at which over 400 local authority representatives and headteachers were able to give views. The consultation documents were also posted on the department's consultation website.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: All local education authorities were consulted in writing, along with a representative sample of foundation and voluntary aided schools, which are their own admission authorities, and a smaller sample of non-admission authority schools. As part of a drive to reduce the amount of paperwork sent directly to schools, the department routinely consults representative samples, rather then going to each individual school. The documents were also available on the
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The report from the Interdepartmental Childcare Review, led by my noble friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare, is being published today. The key conclusions of the report build on the announcement by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Spending Review statement on 15 July. The increased spending for childcare will lead to:
Changes to the state pension age for women are publicised as part of the current marketing campaign on pensions education for people of working age. This is a multi-million pound campaign which encourages people to plan for retirement and consider the full range of pension options and issues.
The campaign includes a press advert specifically about the change to state pension age for women and we have undertaken direct marketing activity, which includes press inserts and direct mailings targeted specifically at women. These materials all highlight the fact that the state pension age for women is changing.
This activity has taken place since research undertaken in March 2000 which showed that 30 per cent of women aged 18-55 were aware that changes to the state pension age had been made. Since then, as outlined above, there has been considerable further activity to publicise these changes and we have distributed more than 2 million pensions information guides.
The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The Broadcasting Act 1996 sets a 10 per cent target for audio description to be reached by the 10th anniversary of the start of the digital terrestrial television (DTT) service. The Independent Television Commission (ITC) has set interim targets for audio description of programmes on DTT according to the start date of each service.
Baroness Blackstone: There are initiatives at national, regional and local level, including marketing campaigns, rural development programmes and business advice and accreditation schemes, such as Green Lantern in Lancashire.
The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Government's judgment, taking account of all the relevant factors, is that the IRA ceasefire remains intact. However, ceasefires on their own are not enough and there is a need for all paramilitary organisations to move beyond ceasefires and to commit to exclusively peaceful and democratic means.
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