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Written Answers

Monday 14 January 2013

Agency Workers Regulations

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 4 December (WA 142–3), whether the Agency Workers Regulations apply in the Channel Islands; and whether they are satisfied that employers based in the Channel Islands of teachers working in the United Kingdom are offering such workers permanent contracts of employment that exempt them from obligations regarding equal treatment in pay and pensions. [HL4059]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Agency Workers Regulations extend to Great Britain and do not include the Channel Islands. The fact that a temporary employment agency is not based in Great Britain does not prevent the Agency Workers Regulations applying to agency workers who are supplied to work for a hirer in Great Britain. The application of the regulations will depend on the circumstances of each case.

The Agency Workers Regulations are enforced by individuals. The Government have provided guidance regarding the exemption from equal treatment provisions on pay (and holiday pay), often known as Swedish derogation contracts. These types of contracts were used by businesses before the implementation of the Agency Workers Regulations. The regulations and guidance were designed to provide businesses and individuals with the flexibility to choose the type of contact to suit them.

Care: Care Leavers

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that teenagers leaving care organisations receive necessary support.[HL3889]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: Improving support for care leavers is a key priority for the Government. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, recently launched the Charter for Care Leavers, which was written by care leavers themselves supported by the Care Leavers Foundation. This summarises young people’s statutory entitlements and makes clear the core expectations, values and intentions around good corporate parenting. We want all local authorities to sign the charter and to discuss it with their local children in care council.

Edward Timpson has written to all directors of Children’s Services, not only encouraging local authorities to sign the charter, but also to take action in a number of areas. These include paying a suitable setting home allowance which covers local costs with a recommended

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minimum of £2,000 and ensuring that care leavers are always enabled to live in safe, secure accommodation that they are happy with.

The department is currently funding the National Care Advisory Service to run the From Care2Work programme, designed to improve employment opportunities for care leavers. We are currently about to tender a new contract to continue the programme in 2013-15.

Climate Change

Questions

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 8 November 2012 (WA 224–5) stating that the statistical model used for global temperature was a linear trend with an autoregressive process, on what basis was that model chosen rather than an autoregressive integrated model.[HL4413]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 8 November 2012 (WA 224–5) stating that the statistical model used for global temperatures was a linear trend with an autoregressive process, what is their assessment of the likelihood of this model having superiority to a driftless third-order autoregressive integrated model in measuring and forecasting global temperatures.[HL4414]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The statistical trend model chosen for any time-varying quantity depends on specialist understanding of time series analysis and the physical realism of various models, given the complexities of the system studied.

The Met Office chose a relatively simple linear trend plus 1st order autoregressive process (AR1) model to be consistent with that used in the fourth assessment report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) for assessing changes in observed near-surface temperatures.

Many more complex statistical models are available for this type of analysis, including the driftless, third-order autoregressive integrated model. As reported in the scientific literature, the trend results generally differ little between simple and more complex models. It is acknowledged that linear trend plus AR1 may somewhat overestimate statistical significance in some cases but that more complex models are not as transparent and often lack physical realism in the case of temperature data.

Drugs

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of their decision not to set up a Royal Commission on drug policy, whether they will undertake a thorough review of current drug policy by other means. [HL4363]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Drug usage remains at its lowest level since records began and people going into treatment today are far more likely to free themselves from dependency than ever before.

But we are not complacent. We are continually looking at new ways of reducing demand, restricting supply and promoting recovery. We will be considering the recommendations from the Home Affairs Select Committee’s drug inquiry report and will respond in due course.

Education: English Baccalaureate

Question

Asked by Baroness Coussins

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will reconsider allowing the Languages NVQ to count towards school performance points for the English Baccalaureate.[HL4347]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The English Baccalaureate list of qualifications is currently limited to GCSEs, accredited and approved versions of established iGCSEs and AS-levels taken before the end of key stage 4. The make-up of the English Baccalaureate will be kept under review in the context of our proposals to reform qualifications at the end of key stage 4.

From 2014, qualifications will only be included in the key stage 4 performance tables if they meet the rigorous assessment criteria outlined in the technical guidance document that was published in the Wolf review consultation response on 27 October 2011. As none of the language NVQs submitted met those criteria, they will be removed from the approved list of qualifications beyond 2013. It would not be possible to review this decision without undermining a fair and equitable approval process. Awarding organisations will however, have the opportunity to submit qualifications for inclusion in the 2016 performance tables. Further details will be published on the department’s website in due course.

Forced Marriage

Questions

Asked by Baroness Uddin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultation they will undertake prior to drafting legislation criminalising forced marriage.[HL4150]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received from women’s organisations about the likely impact of the proposed forced marriage criminal law; and what assessment they have made of those representations.[HL4151]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): We have published the Government's response to the public consultation on whether forced marriage should be made a criminal offence. This can be found on the Home

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Office website here: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/forced-marriage/forced-marriage-response?view=Binary.

Government Departments: Coalition Agreement

Question

Asked by Lord Ryder of Wensum

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress the Department for Education has made since May 2010 in respect of commitments relevant to it in the coalition agreement.[HL3360]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The coalition priorities for which the Department for Education is responsible are stated in its business plan. The detailed steps the Government are taking to implement their agenda are contained within the structural reform plan section of each department’s business plans. The DfE business plan has six coalition priorities: increase the number of high quality schools and introduce fair funding; reform the school curriculum and qualifications; reduce bureaucracy and improve accountability; train and develop the professionals who work with children; improve support for children in the foundation years; and improve support for children, young people and families, focusing on the most disadvantaged.

Between May 2010 and the end of October 2012, the Department for Education completed 116 structural reform plan actions, with another 46 actions still to be completed by the end of 2015. Monthly updates for the 2012 business plan are published on the No 10 website: http://transparency.numberl0.gov.uk/business-plan/15.

Government Departments: Policy Tsars

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 12 November (WA 278), which policy tsars have been appointed by the Prime Minister since the 2010 general election.[HL3542]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: As was the practice under previous Administrations, the Government value receiving advice from a wide range of sources including appointing unpaid policy experts on an informal, rolling basis. Although a central list of appointments by this or previous Administrations is not maintained and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost, details of the most recent appointments can be found on the Number 10 website.

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Government Departments: Publications

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which (1) newspapers, and (2) periodicals, were purchased by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for use by Ministers of that department in each of the past two years for which figures are available.[HL4054]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Ministers offices in Defra have received one or more of the following newspapers and periodicals in the two years to 14 December:

Country Life;

Daily Express;

Daily Mail;

Daily Mirror;

Daily Telegraph;

the Economist;

Ends Report;

Farmers Guardian;

Farmers Weekly;

Financial Times;

Fishing News;

Forestry and Timber News;

Forestry Journal;

the Guardian;

The House;

the Independent;

Poultry World;

Private Eye;

the Sun; and

the Times.

Health: Diabetes

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken to ensure a consistent approach by schools towards children with type 1 diabetes. [HL4353]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Department for Education does not provide specific information to schools in relation to diabetes or any other condition that could affect pupils. In line with the increased autonomy that is afforded to schools, we fully expect them to understand and be aware of individual children’s needs. Schools should work closely with parents/carers and have a clear procedure, set out in their health care plan, with which staff are both familiar and comfortable.

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Higher Education: Degree Programmes

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of students enrolled on degree programmes at (1) universities, (2) university colleges, (3) colleges of higher education, and (4) further education colleges, dropped out of their programmes in (a) 2010–11, (b) 2011–12, and (c) to date in 2012–13.[HL4398]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) publishes information on non-continuation and non-completion rates for undergraduate students as part of the performance indicators for higher education (HE) in the UK. Non-continuation rates are not available grouped by provider type, though statistics are available for individual higher education institutions. Latest figures refer to students who started courses in the academic year 2009-10 and are available at the following link: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2064 &Itemid=141.

Figures for students starting courses in the 2010-11 academic year will become available from HESA in March 2013.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) published comparisons of non-continuation rates for entrants to higher education at further education colleges and higher education institutions in the academic year 2008-09 in its report Widening Participation and Non-Continuation Indicators for Further Education Colleges, which was published in September 2012. The report is available at the following link: http://www.hefce. ac.uk/pubs/year/2012/201220/.

An update to this research will be published by HEFCE in early 2013, and will include entrants to higher education courses in the academic year 2009-10.

Housing Benefit

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of recipients of housing benefit in pilot projects where the rent was paid to them and not directly to their landlord were assessed as not being able to manage regular rent payments.[HL4112]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): DWP will be releasing a pack which will contain initial findings from the demonstration projects later this month. This information will be supplemented by more detailed analysis, in particular an interim report by our external evaluation team of the emerging lessons from the projects is expected to be published in spring next year and a final report is expected to be published in the autumn of 2013.

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Ibrahim Magag: Disappearance

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Statement by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 8 January about the disappearance of Ibrahim Magag, why the letter sent to Mr Speaker was not also sent to the Lord Speaker.[HL4400]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Security Minister wrote to Mr Speaker on 31 December 2012 as we wanted to inform him of the ongoing police operation, and limits to what Government would be able to say on 7 January 2013, when it was anticipated this issue might be raised during Home Office Oral Questions in another place.

As the House of Lords was not back from recess until the following day (Tuesday 8 January 2013) it was not considered appropriate to inform the Lord Speaker of a matter only affecting business in another place.

Marriage: Same-sex Civil Marriage

Question

Asked by Lord Higgins

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the form of words they propose should be used in same-sex marriage civil ceremonies together with a copy of the comparable form of words used for same-sex civil partnerships.[HL4277]

Baroness Stowell of Beeston: Civil partnerships are formed simply by signing the register; they do not require spoken vows. Same-sex couples who have a marriage ceremony will make spoken vows. The vows spoken as part of a same-sex marriage ceremony will be the same as for an opposite-sex marriage ceremony, with men being referred to as husband and women being referred to as wife.

Planning

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to review the current planning exemption that allows bank branches to be converted to betting shops without planning permission as both are deemed to be engaged in financial services. [HL4436]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Both banks and betting shops belong to the same use class under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. A conversion from one to the other is not development for planning purposes, and as such no planning permission is required. My department published a consultation paper NewOpportunities for Sustainable Development and Growth Through the Reuse of Existing Buildings last year,

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which sought views on whether there is a case for making changes to the order’s definitions. We are now considering the responses to that consultation.

Schools: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the extra £1 billion allocated in the Autumn Statement to the establishment of new free schools will have an impact on the existing allocation for maintained schools.[HL4099]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The department is due to announce school capital allocations by the end of January 2013. At a national level we expect those allocations to be broadly in line with the previous annual capital allocations announced in both 2011-12 and 2012-13.

The £980 million announced by the Chancellor in the recent Autumn Statement to support the creation of new school places is additional investment and further detail about how local authorities can access this funding will be announced in the new year.

Schools: National Curriculum

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to consult the teaching unions on (1) the broad school curriculum, and (2) administration matters.[HL4048]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government are fully committed to working closely with teaching unions on all aspects of education reforms. The Department for Education’s bi-monthly Education Forum continues to meet and provides the opportunity for Ministers, officials and all relevant organisations to discuss the department’s priorities that impact on the workforce in schools.

We are in the process of reviewing the national curriculum, which forms part of the broader school curriculum, and will be consulting on our proposals in the new year.

Schools: Sport

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend that all schools should keep records of curriculum time devoted to school sport, progression of those children taking part in school sport, and measures to improve the quality and range of physical education and school sport both within and beyond the curriculum.[HL3754]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: As part of their programme of reducing administrative burdens on schools the Government no longer require schools to

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record information about pupils’ participation in physical education and sport in school. Schools are, however, required to publish details of their curriculum for each subject.

The Secretary of State for Education is currently considering a range of measures to improve school sport and will make an announcement shortly.

Schools: Teachers

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to reduce the drop-out rate of trainee teachers of modern languages.[HL3686]

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Baroness Garden of Frognal: The new financial incentives we have introduced are attracting the top graduates to train as teachers in subjects such as modern foreign languages (MFL). Data show that trainees with a 2:1 or higher are more likely to qualify and become teachers than those with 2:2 or below.

From September 2012, trainee teachers are required to pass the literacy and numeracy skills tests before they enter ITT courses instead of sitting them during the course. This will reduce the number of trainees dropping out of courses or failing to achieve qualified teacher status because they fail the tests.