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Baroness Blatch: The Minister said that the Careers Service funding will represent 50 per cent of all the funds that will be needed and that the other 50 per cent will come from new money under the new spending review and from other pooled moneys. The Minister already referred to pooled moneys from the DfEE itself. It will be interesting to know which elements of the DfEE money will form part of the funding. However, if the Careers Service is to provide 50 per cent of all the money needed and the other 50 per cent is to come from other sources, we are in a position to make a judgment about how much 100 per cent will be. One only has to take the cost of running the Careers Service at present to work out what the cost of 100 per cent funding will be.

That equation put to one side, there is a point which the Minister has not answered. She admitted that there will be changes in job descriptions. We need to know technically how that will be managed. Will TUPE be invoked? Will transfer arrangements from other pieces of legislation be invoked? Even if people are persuaded and agree voluntarily to an altered job description, changes will nevertheless take place and TUPE will still apply, just as it will in the case of people who are to move from TECs to work with the learning and skills councils, where they will have a completely different job description. The same will apply, and it would be helpful to have some view about that.

The Minister referred to the 20,000 mentors. She did not say where they would come from, but she said that there was no promise or guarantee that the scheme would apply to all young people in the age group irrespective of need. It would be helpful to know who decides whether they need them. In many cases, young people themselves make those decisions. Will they have individual referral rights? If so, how will they go about the process and how will they know who the mentor is? In the Connexions document, the intention is that the mentor would become extremely knowledgeable about the person. He will get to know him and have an in-depth relationship with him, which will develop to the point where any advice and guidance given to the young person will be all the more effective.

It is important to get those answers, but I do not know whether we shall receive all of them. We have had a muddled discussion, but we now know that the current cost of running the Careers Service represents

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half of the money needed to provide the new arrangements under the Connexions programme. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments No. 216A and 217 not moved.]

Baroness Darcy de Knayth moved Amendment No. 218:

    Page 44, line 12, after second ("to") insert ("the promotion of equality of opportunity between disabled and non-disabled people in education, training, and all support services covering transition and to").

The noble Baroness said: The amendment homes in on a somewhat narrower target. It aims to ensure that the youth support services will have regard to promoting equality of opportunity for disabled and non-disabled learners. It is similar to amendments I moved and to which I spoke on the first day of Committee--at cols. 621 to 624 of Hansard--in relation to the LSC, local LSCs and the CETW, when the Minister most encouragingly agreed to come back with amendments to meet the point.

This amendment is similar but it is not quite the same, in that Clause 99 has emerged clearly in the two debates on the previous two groups of amendments as an enabling clause. There is nothing concrete or appropriate on which to hang it. If the youth support service cannot have a duty placed on it, it is important to ensure that the service can provide support for young people with learning difficulties. If they are to make the most of the equal opportunities that will be on offer to them in post-school education, they must have the support of the youth support service.

The Disability Consortium on Post-16 Education and Training--SKILL is a member and I declare that I am president of SKILL--feels that some reassurance would not only be valuable but really is necessary. I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say. I beg to move.

6 p.m.

Lord Addington: I should like to give my support to the amendment and to the way in which it was moved. It is difficult to find the right form of words, but the point has to be made. If the youth support service is to do its job properly, it must bring in those who have disabilities. Indeed, that should happen almost automatically in any government legislation. I hope that the noble Baroness will secure an assurance that that will happen. If she does not, I hope that the Government will tell us that they are going to do something about it.

Baroness Blatch: I rise briefly to support the amendment.

Baroness Blackstone: No one would disagree with the sentiment behind the amendment, which seeks to ensure that the new Connexions service promotes equality of opportunity between disabled and non-disabled young people. That is an aim, I am sure, we all share. The promotion of equal opportunities

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among all groups in society is, of course, at the very heart of this Government's philosophy. That is exactly the purpose of the Connexions service, for which Clause 99 lays the foundation. The clause sets out that the aim of the service is to ensure that every young person has the support they need to engage effectively in learning and to achieve their potential, whatever their ability and circumstances, and wherever in England they live.

To achieve that aim, the Connexions service will ensure that all 13 to 19 year-olds have access to a personal adviser who will assess their needs and ensure that they have the support they need. Some young people--for example, those with multiple disadvantage, including learning difficulties--will need more help than others. The personal adviser's caseload must reflect that. In particular, and as we shall discuss later, the Connexions service will support the transition of young people with statements of special educational needs from school to other post-16 learning.

This amendment simply states what is already implicit in Clause 99. Indeed, I can assure the noble Baroness that we intend through the service to go beyond the promotion of equality and take steps to help to make equality between disabled people and non-disabled people a reality. I hope that the noble Baroness will agree that we do not need her additional element in the Bill and that, with the assurances I have given, she will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Darcy de Knayth: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Addington, and the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, for their stalwart support, and thank the Minister very much for her reassuring reply. We all want equality for disabled learners along with able-bodied learners. The youth support service will supply that valuable first rung on the ladder to what we hope will be life long and really inclusive learning. I am grateful to the Minister for what she has said. We have it in Hansard. I imagine that a good deal of guidance will go out as well. It would be reassuring if the noble Baroness nodded or told me that it would also be in guidance. The Minister is nodding. I appreciate that very much. I have no hesitation in withdrawing the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 218A not moved.]

The Earl of Listowel moved Amendment No. 218B:

    Page 44, line 17, at end insert--

("( ) In carrying out his functions under this section, the Secretary of State may--
(a) provide financial or other assistance to persons providing supported residential accommodation to young persons in education or training;
(b) provide financial or other assistance to persons providing mentoring or support and guidance to young people.").

The noble Earl said: Earlier in the Committee stage the Minister made it clear that supported residential accommodation and support and guidance for disadvantaged young people were intended to be among the things the Secretary of State could provide

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under Clause 99. But Clause 99 refers only to services. The provision of accommodation might well be challenged in the courts as not being part of the clause. The amendment of my noble friend Lord Northbourne avoids that possible risk. I beg to move.

Lord Hylton: I should like to support Amendment No. 218B. It refers particularly, but perhaps not exclusively, to foyers. I raised this matter at an earlier stage of the Committee's discussions. As the Minister has had clear warning and notice of this question, it would be helpful if she could say how she sees the provision of foyers--both their capital costs and their running costs--fitting into the new scheme of things that will flow from the Bill.

Baroness Blackstone: This amendment relates to the statutory and voluntary youth services. I should like to preface my comments with a few general words which I hope will meet the wishes of the noble Lord, Lord Hylton. As I said earlier in the Committee, we fully recognise the valuable contribution made by these services in providing support and informal learning experiences for young people; and, in particular, in providing a gateway for re-engaging some of the most vulnerable young people in society. We are keen that their contribution is both supported and strengthened. We therefore expect that effective local youth services will be key Connexions partners and that much of their existing provision for 13 to 19 year-olds will be integrated with the new service.

The youth service is, of course, provided by a large number of voluntary and statutory organisations and covers a wide range of activities which promote the social and personal development of young people from 11 to 25. Much of this work will continue in tandem with the Connexions service. But I would expect local authority outreach and detached youth workers focusing on the core 13 to 19 age group to become key personal advisers within local multi-agency teams as these are set up by Connexions partners. It is that kind of youth worker in particular who will be integrated fully into the Connexions service whereas much of the other work done by the youth service will work in tandem. That would apply in particular to some of the more recreational side of what the youth services currently undertake.

On Amendment No. 218B, I recall that the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, proposed a similar amendment to Clause 2 of the Bill earlier in the Committee. At that time he was seeking to clarify which bodies had responsibility for funding different aspects of support for young people. I shall treat the amendment in two parts. The first part would empower the Connexions service to fund or otherwise assist supported residential accommodation for young people engaged in learning. As our Connexions policy document sets out, the function of the Connexions service will be to provide, through a network of trained personal advisers, comprehensive advice, guidance and support for young people. This will include advocacy and referral to specialist services, where

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necessary. Financial or other direct assistance in the provision of social housing is outside the remit of the Connexions service--that must remain part of housing services or work done by the Benefits Agency and the Department of Social Security-- but advice, guidance and advocacy in obtaining accommodation for a young person would fall within it.

The second part of the amendment is slightly perplexing. It apparently seeks to empower the Connexions service to fund or otherwise assist in establishing a network of personal advisers--which is precisely what the clause is about. The Bill already makes sufficient provision. I suspect that the noble Lord wants to explore how far the service will rely on existing services to staff the Connexions personal adviser network and how far it will fund the recruitment and training of new front-line staff.

I am aware of the concerns that the Connexions service could impact on the wider work of the voluntary sector by attracting its key front-line personnel. I should start by reminding the Committee that we fully expect voluntary and non-profit-making bodies, far from being marginalised, to be important Connexions partners in a great many localities. In terms of their wider work, which may fall outside the remit of the Connexions service, perhaps because it is aimed at different age groups, I can assure the noble Earl that we have given careful thought to how we can ensure that we recruit sufficient qualified Connexions staff without having an adverse impact on the related services that will continue to operate in tandem. That is one of the reasons why we have decided to phase in the new service over around three years. We intend to undertake an audit of all the human resource implications of the very wide range of the existing and new advice and support services that will be provided.

We believe that the first part of the amendment would create an expectation which is outside the remit of the Connexions service, and the second would add nothing as the provision is already inherent in the Bill. Therefore, I hope that the noble Earl will not press the amendment.

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