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Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what meetings she has had with the Association of Colleges to discuss the shortage of (a) teachers and (b) lecturers in further education. 
John Healey: The Secretary of State met David Gibson from the Association of Colleges (AOC) on 14 November 2001 and also addressed the AOC Conference on 20 November. Additionally, my colleague the Minister for Lifelong Learning and I have each met twice with representatives from the AOC, on 15 June and 31 July, and 12 July and 10 October respectively.
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Discussion at these meetings covered a wide range of issues about the FE sector, including recruitment and retention difficulties in some subject areas and the initiatives that Government have introduced to attract new staff to the profession and reward and retain excellent teachers and lecturers, including the Teaching Pay Initiative, Golden Hellos, Student Loan Write Off and Training Bursaries.
Mr. Timms: Bullying can be a serious problem in and around schools and in December 2000 we launched a new anti-bullying strategy, including a comprehensive new anti-bullying pack for schools with an accompanying video aimed at pupils. We have also required headteachers to draw up anti-bullying policies; these should be kept under regular review with Ofsted involved in carrying out inspections. Although the courts have ruled that a school's duty of care to prevent bullying applies within the school precincts, teachers could discuss bullying on school buses with escorts, the transport company and the local education authority and all three could take action when appropriate.
Vandalism can also be a serious problem on some occasions. It is for the operators of school buses as well as the local education authority to address safety issues including the prevention of bullying or violence. The DTLR has recently published "The School Run" training programme for bus drivers (February 2001), designed to help improve the relationships between bus drivers and young people. The publication also contains "best practice" checklists for schools, bus companies and Passenger Transport Executives, and lesson material alerting children to the dangers of misbehaving on buses.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make it her policy to require Oxford and Cambridge Universities to publish information in respect of student admissions to constituent colleges for the year 200102 in standardised format, indicating the number and percentage of (a) applications and (b) acceptances from (i) private schools, (ii) state selective schools, (iii) state comprehensive schools, (iv) sixth form colleges, (v) tertiary colleges and (vi) other places; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 13 December 2001]: Cambridge and Oxford Universities have published information on admissions for entry in 2001 from both the maintained and independent sector, disaggregated by college. The relevant extracts are in the table. The universities are responsible for the accuracy of this information. Further disaggregation is not held centrally.
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|College||Applications for maintained||Offers for maintained|
|Lady Margaret Hall||45.9||(47.3)||41.2||(45.5)|
|St. Edmund Hall||40.1||(42.4)||48.5||(44.8)|
A three-year average from 199901 is shown in brackets
|College||Applications for 2001(37)||Acceptances in 2001(37)|
|Gonville and Caius||46||(48)||36||(48)|
|All standard Colleges||58||(59)||53||(52)|
(37) Maintained percentage
Figures in brackets are for last year
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Mr. Timms: Benchmark information based on national pupil performance in maintained, mainstream schools is published annually in the Department's autumn package. The benchmark data enable schools to compare their performance with other schools grouped according to one measure of social disadvantage, that is, the percentage of children known to be eligible for a free school meal. A copy of the autumn package has been placed in the House of Commons Library; it is also available on the Department's website.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will implement measures to ensure that industry is (a) consulted and (b) represented in attempts to replace the individual learning accounts scheme. 
John Healey: Some discussions have already been held with training providers. We are now about to seek the views of a wider range of stakeholders. This will include representatives of industry and employers, both large and small. The views obtained will be an important element in designing a new ILA-style programme.
John Healey: With any universal offer deadweight will exist. Although not an exact calculation, an assessment of deadweight within the ILA programme can be based upon the evaluation evidence drawn from a series of hypothetical questions. Based on the sample selected the first stage evaluation showed that 44 per cent. of account holders said that they would have been able to pay for their course without their ILA discount.
John Healey: My Department actively engaged learning providers in the development of the individual learning accounts programme. For example, a number of seminars were held with learning providers in 2000, prior to the introduction of the national framework for individual learning accounts, and these continued into 2001. At these events providers expressed a wide range of opinions. In September 2000 James O'Brien, Managing Director, Pitman Training, wrote to Ministers to express concern that the programme was open to abuse, but also said that the cap on public support for each individual's ILA account introduced to help control such abuse had been set at too low a level. This is the earliest correspondence we have traced on the specific topic of potential misuse of the ILA scheme.
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Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 814W, on individual learning accounts, by whom it is not expected that the Department should offer financial advice. 
John Healey: It is not expected within the design or operation of the ILA programme that the Department should provide financial advice to any firm that considered participating in the ILA programme or that was affected by its closure.
John Healey [holding answer 18 December 2001]: Officials have, as a matter of priority, been working to validate outstanding claims for payment to learning providers. I can confirm that we will be making payments this week to almost 1,400 providers who had submitted claims up to 21 November. There are, however, a smaller number of claims from around 140 providers, in some cases for significant amounts, on which we need to carry out further checks before payments can be cleared. Officials will be writing this week to all providers whose claims were outstanding up to 21 November to explain the general arrangements for taking forward the processing of existing and future claims.
We are also continuing to work on validating claims made between 21 and 23 November and on dealing with learning booked on the ILA system up to its closure on 23 November. Once we are satisfied that eligible learning has taken place in accordance with the rules of the programme, we will be able to arrange payments to all providers who are not currently subject to investigation, provided that this status does not change following the analysis of recent complaints received.
John Healey [holding answer 18 December 2001]: A full common address trawl of the ILA system has been carried out to identify multiple individual applications at the same address. This led to investigations by the Department into 41 providers. As a result 15 providers were suspended from the register of learning providers eligible to receive funds from the ILA programme. Investigations are continuing.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to the statement of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State responsible for adult skills the hon. Member for Wentworth (John Healey) of 11 December 2001, Official Report, Westminster Hall, columns 218224WH, on individual learning accounts, what the budget was for ILA by March 2002; and how many of the accounts were budgeted to be used. 
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John Healey [holding answer 17 December 2001]: The total budget available in England over the two years 200001 and 200102 is £202.1 million, which includes £115.1 million which has been recycled from TEC resources. The aim was to have 1 million ILAs opened by March 2002. No precise number was set for ILAs budgeted to be used, as the ILA programme was an entirely new and innovative programme for which take-up could not accurately be predicted in its early years.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 813W, on individual learning accounts, whether there were constraints upon the absolute exercise of the Secretary of State's discretion; and whether the power of the Secretary of State to close down the learning account scheme immediately and without notice was publicised to (a) learning account holders and (b) learning account providers. 
The Secretary of State and I took the decision to shut down the programme with immediate effect from 6.30pm on 23 November. That decision was taken to minimise a serious risk to public funds. Under these circumstances, there was no time to notify providers or account holders in advance.
The shutdown meant that neither the ILA account holders database nor the ILA learning providers database was available to us. However, we issued a press statement on 23 November and provided notification of the shut down-on both the Department and Capita websites which we updated as new information became available. We were also able to resume the operation of the ILA helpline for account holders, on a limited basis, on 27 November.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 814W, on individual learning accounts, if she will give reasons for not offering compensation in the circumstances described. 
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether her Department has contacted the Data Protection Registrar about possible unauthorised access to the ILA account holders database; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: The Department has not contacted the Information Commissioner (previously Data Protection Registrar) concerning possible unauthorised access to the ILA account holder's database. The Department's Special Investigations Unit has been working closely with the police and where prima facie evidence of criminal activity has been found the police have been asked to take over investigations.
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Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 813W, on individual learning accounts, if she will pay interest on sums due to learning providers but not paid on time. 
John Healey: The Department has no plans to pay interest to learning providers on payments delayed because of the closure of the individual learning account programme on 23 November 2001 following evidence of serious potential fraud and theft.
John Healey: Learners and potential learners could visit the website (www.my-ila.com) only for information purposes and to request application packs. Registered learning providers could access the database once they had been provided with a user name and password. This allowed them to register courses, book learning and to confirm learning had taken place. Learning providers could only view personal name and address details of individuals registered on courses with that learning provider. Staff in DfES had view access only. The organisation 'learndirect' had a separate although restricted access to allow them to issue application packs to inquirers.
Selected Capita staff at the ILA centre locations in Coventry and Darlington, together with the programme development team at Trowbridge, had operational access to the database in order to administer the programme.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 813W, on individual learning accounts, if she will place in the Library a copy of the rules of the programme. 
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to the statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State responsible for adult skills the hon. Member for Wentworth (John Healey) of 11 December 2001, Official Report, Westminster Hall, columns 218224WH, on individual learning accounts whether the aim was that all holders should have used their accounts to embark on a course of eligible learning by March 2002. 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list those representations she received before 24 October on the administration of the ILA scheme, distinguishing those which identified the danger of (a) fraud and (b) financial over-run. 
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We have received a number of representations about fraud from hon. Members, individual learning account holders and individual learning account registered learning providers. It is established practice that the Department is only expected to publish or list correspondence if it has specifically invited stakeholders to write or feedback on an issue and that the information supplied will be placed in the public domain. We have not received any representation about financial over-run.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 813W, on individual learning accounts, for what reason those account holders who had not used their accounts by 23 November cannot be subject to a validation process as a condition of being able to undertake eligible learning. 
John Healey: The Individual Learning Account programme was closed on 23 November as a result of evidence of serious potential fraud and theft. That decision was taken to minimise a serious risk to public funds. However, subject to new validation arrangements, all eligible learning booked onto the ILA system before 6.30 pm on 23 November will be honoured.
The programme is now closed to the further booking of learning by ILA account holders and learning providers. Account holders who did not have their learning booked onto the ILA system by 23 November will not be able to benefit from a discount on the cost of their learning.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills by what means the Government intend to enable genuine learning providers to access moneys that have been diverted to bogus learning providers. 
John Healey: The ILA programme was shut down on 23 November and closed to the further booking of learning by learning providers. Officials are setting up, as a matter of priority, arrangements to validate outstanding payments and claims for payment from learning providers so that the majority of providers, who have acted honestly throughout, can be paid as quickly as possible. We will pay for eligible learning that has already taken place and for learning that is already booked on the ILA Centre's system, providing we are satisfied that eligible learning is undertaken, in accordance with the rules of the programme. Learning which was not booked onto the ILA system before the programme was shut down will not benefit from an ILA discount.
The overall purpose of ILAs was to help people overcome the financial barriers to learning by helping with the costs. The incentives and discounts were placed in the hands of the individual as they are best placed to choose learning that is most beneficial to their training needs. Some learning providers will, as a result, have received an increase in their business because of ILAs.
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However, learning providers can only access moneys if an account holder has decided to use their ILA to help pay for learning at their establishment.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many holders of individual learning accounts have complained to her Department about their account being been used without their authority. 
John Healey [holding answer 17 December 2001]: As at 30 November 5,732 complaints had been received from individuals about ILA incentives taken without their knowledge, out of over 2.6 million account holders.
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