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Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We have no plans to revise the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 for the reasons suggested by the noble Earl. In accordance with the requirements of the Transparency Directive, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill was notified to the European Commission on its introduction to Parliament in February of this year.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government believe that the Act is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Government note that the article about the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), dated 26 October, on which respondents to the YouGov poll were invited to comment, contains a number of factual inaccuracies and misconceptions. RIPA ensures that vital but intrusive law enforcement powers are properly and closely regulated. It also puts in place for the first time regulations governing the monitoring of employees' communications, together with a civil remedy for employees whose communications have been wrongly monitored who breach those regulations.

Data Protection: US "Safe Harbour" Arrangements

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the coming into force of the "safe harbour" agreement between the European Union and the United States on data protection will ensure that data transfers between the United Kingdom and the United States comply with the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998. [HL4520]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The European Commission has made a formal finding that the US safe harbour arrangements provide an adequate level of data protection for the purposes of Article 25 of the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC). Transfers of personal data from the United Kingdom to organisations in the United States which have made a formal commitment to comply with the safe harbour principles will be taken as meeting the requirements of the 8th data protection principle in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the "safe harbour" agreement between the European Union and the United States on data protection will have any adverse effect on the financial services industry in the United Kingdom. [HL4522]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government can see no reason why it should. The agreement makes it easier to transfer personal data to organisations participating in the safe harbour. The agreement does not affect transfers to non-participating organisations.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What procedures they have in place to monitor the operation of the "safe harbour" agreement between the European Union and the United States on data protection.[HL4521]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Through the committee of member states' representatives set up under Article 31 of Directive 95/46/EC, the Government will seek

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regular reports from the European Commission on the way in which the safe harbour agreement is operating. The Data Protection Commissioner has responsibility for ensuring the proper application of the agreement within the United Kingdom. The Government understand that she will monitor the requests for assessment that she receives about the safe harbour arrangements to see whether they reveal problems with the agreement.

Merrywood School, Bristol

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, when the Secretary of State for Education and Employment made his decision to close Merrywood School, Knowle West, Bristol, he was aware that Gay Elms Primary School, Withywood Road, Withywood, and Whitehouse Primary School, Fulford Road, Hartcliffe, were to be threatened with closure.[HL4515]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): When my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment took his decision in April of this year to approve the closure of Merrywood School it was taken for educational reasons and following a very careful consideration of the facts before him at the time: this decision subsequently being upheld in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

The Secretary of State was aware that the closure of Whitehouse Primary was considered by the council during an area review in 1997 but that the authority had decided against bringing forward closure proposals. The Secretary of State was not aware of any proposals to close Gay Elms Primary School at the time he approved the closure of Merrywood.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, when the decision was taken to close Merrywood School, Knowle West, Bristol, local authority consultation of local residents was undertaken by means of the Internet and telephone polling; and, if so, whether such consultation can take sufficient account of the views of those in deprived areas who do not necessarily have access to such forms of communication.[HL4568]

Baroness Blackstone: As the noble Lord will be aware, consultation prior to the publication of statutory proposals is undertaken by the body publishing proposals, not my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment. I therefore suggest that this Question is for Bristol City Council rather than my right honourable friend or myself. In reaching his decision my right honourable friend was, however, satisfied that widespread consultation was undertaken. As an illustration of this I can confirm that the consultation process included a community inquiry, public meetings and the circulation of 4,500 consultation questionnaires.

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Religious Schools: Grant Aid

Lord Dormand of Easington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the average amount of grant paid to religious schools for (a) capital and (b) revenue costs over each of the last 10 years.[HL4513]

Baroness Blackstone: The Secretary of State for Education and Employment pays grant to the governors of voluntary aided (VA) schools in England in respect of their liability for building work. The large majority of VA schools have a religious character. It is not possible to identify separately only that grant paid to VA schools with a religious character. The table below shows total grants paid to VA schools in England in respect of building works for each financial year.

Financial yearTotal grant paid £ millionNumber of VA* schoolsAverage per school £
1990-911044,38823,701
1991-921114,35225,506
1992-931144,30926,456
1993-941144,26126,754
1994-951124,08627,411
1995-96964,02523,851
1996-971004,00624,963
1997-981123,99328,049
1998-991243,98031,156
1999-20001303,97232,729

Notes:

1. *At January, ie 1999-2000 shows number of VA schools in January 1999.

2. Figures include special agreement schools prior to 1999.

3. From 1997-98, table includes New Deal for Schools expenditure paid as VA grant.

4. Table excludes capital expenditure by LEAs on VA schools, and expenditure under the grant maintained programme to schools becoming VA from 1 September 1999.

Capital support for other types of maintained school is made to local education authorities. Voluntary controlled schools, most of which have a religious character, and the small number of foundation and community schools that have a religious character do not normally receive capital support direct from the department. The department does not hold information on the proportion of capital grants that go to such schools.

Central government support for the revenue costs of all maintained schools is paid through LEAs and no central record is kept of the proportion going to schools with a religious character.


Autistic Spectrum Disorder: Educational Provision

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the estimated overall cost in 1999-2000 to local education authorities of educational provision for children with an autistic spectrum disorder in (a) special school provision (both autism specific

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    and generic) and (b) mainstream provision; and what the projected cost is for 2000-01; and[HL4487]

    Which local education authorities have accessed moneys, and if so how much, from the Standards Fund 1999-2000 (a) for improvement of speech and language therapy for children with communication difficulties, including autistic spectrum disorders; (b) for special educational needs training and professional development of teachers and other staff; and (c) to support special schools outreach provision; and[HL4488]

    How many bids were received by the Department for Education and Employment from the Standards Fund 1999-2000 for autism specific projects by (a) local education authority and (b) amount of grant; and[HL4489]

    Whether they will provide a breakdown by allocation of Standards Fund money for special educational needs in 1999-2000 by nature of application of grant.[HL4490]

Baroness Blackstone: There is no information available on the costs to local educational authorities of education provision for children with an autistic spectrum disorder. Section 52 budget data from LEAs showing expenditure on schools does not distinguish by types of special educational need.

Standards Funds have been available for a number of years to support expenditure on training for staff involved in the education of children with special educational needs. Prior to 2000-01 there was no specific element for speech and language therapy within the Standards Fund, but within the general provisions of the grant there was allowance for funding to be used for the training of staff involved in the education of children with communication difficulties. However, provision has been made for this year, 2000-01, specifically for speech and language therapy pilot projects: £1.9 million of supported expenditure shared among 26 LEAs, as shown in the table below. For 2001-02, all LEAs will be able to draw on grant support for work in this area, as part of the Special Educational Needs Standards Fund, which will be distributed solely by formula.

Standards Fund Speech and Language Therapy Projects 2000-01
(Total supported expenditure, against which DfEE pays grant at a rate of 50%)

LeaAmount £
Medway100,000
Cambridgeshire92,500
Isle of Wight99,920
Newcastle upon Tyne100,000
Nottingham City91,012
Wiltshire93,290
Cumbria63,000
Havering79,000
Cornwall110,403
Telford & Wreakin99,587
Shropshire99,587
Merton50,000
Sutton50,000
Islington80,000
Camden120,000
Nottinghamshire94,426
South Tyneside100,000
Ealing115,000
Bristol45,000
Blackburn with Darwen101,183
Bournemouth92,975
Blackpool60,000
Darlington21,000
Hounslow60,000
Brighton & Hove62,000
Tower Hamlets100,000

In 1999-2000 all local education authorities received Standards Fund support for special educational needs training: £21 million of supported expenditure allocated by a national formula; £8 million of supported expenditure was also allocated to 62 local education authorities for inclusion related projects in 1999-2000, a number of which would have had as one of their purposes the improvement of outreach links between special and mainstream schools.

There was no specific category within the Standards Fund in 1999-2000 for autism. The general special education needs training element of the Standards Fund allowed for expenditure on a range of issues including training for staff involved in the education of children with autism. As it was distributed by formula to all local education authorities it did not require bids for specific projects.


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Standards Fund allocations for special educational needs for 1999-2000 amounted to £35 million. Within this the grant was allocated as follows:

Parental partnerships:£6 million, allocated by formula to all LEAs
Special education needs training:£21 million, allocated by formula to all LEAs
Inclusion/EBD:£8 million allocated by competititive bidding; 62 LEAs were successful out of 97 that applied.


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