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30 Jun 2008 : Column 647W—continued


30 Jun 2008 : Column 648W

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many (a) new builds and (b) major refurbishments for a cost in excess of £0.5 million were completed by his Department in each year since its establishment. [213742]

Mr. Lammy: This Department had one refurbishment project carried out (in 2007-08) on its behalf by the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, which supplies us with estates services, to enable London staff to be brought together into one building from the five separate sites on which they were based when the Department was created.

Departmental Vetting

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what procedures his Department follows for checking the criminal records of employees; and if he will make a statement. [213131]

Mr. Lammy: The Department was created in the machinery of government changes announced on 28 June 2007 when staff from the former Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) were incorporated into the new Department.

All individuals recruited to the Department and formerly the DTI are subject to a basic criminal records check. As part of the application process individuals complete a self-declaration of their criminal records. In line with the HMG Baseline Personnel Security Standard the Department undertakes a random 20 per cent. basic criminal records check for those not in a regulated post.

In addition to the Baseline Security checks, all individuals recruited to a regulated post, or to a post where they have access to personal or sensitive data about children or vulnerable adults, have been subject to, or are currently undergoing, enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, as a matter of course.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what percentage of successful applicants for jobs in his Department are subjected to a criminal records check; how many (a) successful applicants and (b) criminal records checks there were in each of the last 10 years; how many successful applicants were found to have a criminal record after a criminal records check took place in each of the last 10 years; whether the selection of successful candidates to be subjected to a criminal records check is random or targeted; and if he will make a statement. [213151]

Mr. Lammy: The Department was created in the machinery of government changes announced on 28 June 2007 when staff from the former Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) were incorporated into the new Department.

All individuals recruited to the Department and the former DTI are subject to a basic criminal records check. As part of the application process individuals complete a self-declaration of their criminal records. In line with the HMG Baseline Personnel Security Standard the Department undertakes a random 20 per cent. basic criminal records check for those not in a regulated post.


30 Jun 2008 : Column 649W

The number, by year, of applicants who have been checked is not held centrally and is available only at disproportionate cost.

In addition to the Baseline Security Checks, the Department completes Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks for employees. All individuals recruited to a regulated post, or to a post where they have access to personal or sensitive data about children or vulnerable adults, are subject to a targeted enhanced CRB check.

Since the formation of this Department in 2007 no CRB checks have been carried out.

Higher Education: Admissions

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many students from each socio-economic category participated in higher education in each year since 1995. [209476]

Bill Rammell: Information is available on full-time young (aged 18-20) participation in higher education by socio-economic class. Table 1 shows the following:

Table 1: Full-time young participation by socio-economic class (FYPSEC)
Percentage
Academic year
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Percentage from NS-SECs 1, 2 and 3

44.1

40.9

41.2

42.8

39.5

Percentage from NS-SECs 4, 5, 6 and 7

17.5

17.8

17.4

19.8

19.0

Difference

26.5

23.1

23.7

22.9

20.5

Source:
DIUS

The figures cover English-domiciled 18 to 20-year-olds who are studying for the first time at higher education level at UK higher education institutions or English further education colleges, who remain on their courses for at least six months.

2006-07 was an exceptional year in the higher education sector, due to the significant changes brought about by the introduction of variable fees and the new student support package. We expected, and saw, a drop in student numbers that year, following record numbers in the preceding year.

We are already seeing the position recover from 2006-07: according to UCAS figures, 307,000 applicants from England have been accepted for entry in 2007, a rise of 6 per cent. from 2006. This is the highest figure ever. Furthermore, the proportion of accepted applicants from England who are from the bottom four socio-economic classes increased from 31.7 per cent. in 2006 to 32.1 per cent. in 2007—the highest figure to date. And the latest applicant figures for 2008 entry show that applicants from England are again up by 6 per cent.


30 Jun 2008 : Column 650W

The Government remain committed to widening participation in higher education. It is an economic as well as a social imperative that everyone who can benefit from higher education has the opportunity to do so. Widening participation is about spotting and nurturing talent, with schools, colleges and universities working together to ensure that all those with the potential and merit to benefit from higher education are able to do so.

Space Technology

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps the Government is taking to support space science. [213939]

Ian Pearson: The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) provides support for space science, and the UK research programme in space science is mainly delivered through the European Space Agency (ESA). The British National Space Centre co-ordinates civil space activity and has recently published the UK Civil Space Strategy 2008-12.

STFC provided £88.0 million in 2006-07 and £95.6 million in 2007-08 in support for space science. These figures do not include support for earth observation provided by the Natural Environment Research Council.

The support allows UK scientists to take the science lead and provide scientific instruments for international space missions designed to expand our knowledge of the universe. It also provides opportunities for the UK space industry to bid for industrial contracts.

Trade Associations

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the likely effect on the numbers of spurious actions of the introduction of a right of representative action for trade associations. [211749]

Ian Pearson: The Department has made no such assessment.

Health

Accident and Emergency Departments

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many accident and emergency units have (a) opened and (b) closed in each constituency in each year since 1997-98. [213631]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information is not available in the format requested. National health service trusts self-report the total number of accident and emergency (A&E) services they provide against definitions provided by the Department for the three types of A&E on a quarterly basis. This includes information on the number of self-reported type one (major) A&E services at national and strategic health authority level.

It is a matter for the local national health service to ensure that emergency care services are provided that are responsive to people's needs. Changes to services are a matter for local, not central decision.


30 Jun 2008 : Column 651W

Anaesthetics

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many recorded cases there were of anaesthetic awareness in each of the last three years, broken down by region; [212779]

(2) what (a) support, (b) counselling, (c) information and (d) guidance is available to patients who experience post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing anaesthetic awareness; [212780]

(3) what proportion of incident and accident forms were sent to the National Patient Safety Agency following cases of anaesthetic awareness in each of the last two years. [212781]

Ann Keen: Information about reported incidents of anaesthetic awareness available from the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) is contained in the following table:

Strategic Health Authority (SHA) 2005 2006 2007 Total number

East Midlands SHA

1

0

2

3

East of England SHA

0

0

1

1

North East SHA

0

0

1

1

North West SHA

2

0

2

4

South Central SHA

0

1

1

2

South West SHA

1

0

0

1

Total

4

1

7

12


These numbers may under-represent the total number of incidents. All national health service organisations are asked to send details on all the patient safety related incidents that are reported to them via local risk management systems to the NPSA's NRLS. For the majority of organisations, these incidents can be automatically uploaded to the NRLS. In the most recent quarter 98 per cent. of incidents received by the NRLS were reported via this route. However, the NPSA is unable to confirm whether all relevant incidents reported locally to NHS organisations are subsequently reported to the NRLS.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists has published “Information for Patients: Risks Associated with your Anaesthetic”, which was revised in June 2008. This informs patients that awareness during anaesthesia can occasionally happen, what steps are taken to prevent it and what to do if they think it has happened to them. Patients who report that they think they have been aware can expect that the hospital will ensure the anaesthetist is promptly informed; that the anaesthetist who conducted the anaesthetic will spend time with them and they may be offered further counselling. More information can be found at:


30 Jun 2008 : Column 652W

Blood: Contamination

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of documents relating to the infection of haemophiliacs by contaminated blood products that were rediscovered by his Department have not been released to the Independent Inquiry into Contaminated Blood and Blood Products chaired by Lord Archer QC of Sandwell; under what provisions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 these documents have been withheld; and if he will make a statement. [214733]

Dawn Primarolo: Some 4,500 documents were discovered in unregistered files, and subsequently issued to Lord Archer’s Inquiry and placed onto the Department’s website.

In total 18 documents were withheld entirely, and 17 documents partly withheld, under the following exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act:

Exemption Document withheld Part of document withheld Total documents wholly or partly withheld

Section 38—Health and Safety

1

9

10

Section 40—Personal information

3

6

9

Section 42—Legal professional privilege

8

1

9

Section 43—Commercial interests

6

1

7

Total

18

17

35


Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of documents returned to his Department by Blackett, Hart and Pratt Solicitors have not been released to the independent inquiry into contaminated blood and blood products; under what provisions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 these documents have been withheld; and if he will make a statement. [214734]

Dawn Primarolo: Of around 600 documents returned by the firm of private solicitors, one document has been withheld under Section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act.


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