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Baroness Blackstone: I am sorry that the noble Baroness did not wait and allow me to finish what I was about to say. Indeed, that is not helpful. We should be having a reasonable discussion. I was not saying that this was a Second Reading debate; I said that a huge number of questions had been raised which would have been appropriate to a clause stand part debate, in which case I would have been perfectly happy to accept them.
As I said before, if we are going to get through this Committee stage, we must try to avoid getting into details that relate to later amendments. Perhaps I may outline some of them. I see that the noble Baroness is shaking her head, but, quite honestly, she and a number of other speakers in this debate have raised issues that relate to later amendments. I shall not answer them when dealing with this amendment. However, I shall do my best to respond to as many of these questions as possible. I shall then deal with the amendments on the Marshalled List.
The noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, raised the question of whether we are talking about additional powers, which would not destroy existing duties. That is indeed what we are talking about; that is exactly what I tried to say when we discussed the matter in relation to the previous grouping. Again, as I said previously, this legislation does not attempt--nor should it--to prescribe in detail how the service will operate. I should point out to the noble Baroness,
Many of the questions that have been raised are currently the object of discussion with all the partners, the statutory bodies and a whole range of organisations. We shall return to them in the prospectus that will be published late in the spring, as I said when discussing the previous grouping of amendments.
Perhaps I may return to the issue of cost. I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, who raised this question at the end of his contribution when moving an earlier amendment. We are committed to resourcing the Connexions service properly so that every 13 to 19 year-old, whatever his or her circumstances, has access to the help needed. The noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, also raised this issue. Perhaps I may tell her that resources for the service will come from the pooling of existing central government resources and from those that are already devoted by local partners to youth support and guidance. Of the resources that we expect existing agencies to contribute, about half will come from the existing Careers Service budget because that service will be absorbed into the new service.
As I said earlier, we have to ensure that the Connexions service is properly funded; otherwise it will not be able to undertake the important tasks that we propose. However, we are currently considering what additional funding will be required as part of the Government's Year 2000 Spending Review. Members of the Committee will understand that I cannot in any way predict what the outcome of the review will be.
We are actively examining the number of personal advisers that will be required. Our current planning assumptions are that the service may need between 15,000 and 20,000, although the number will not necessarily be as high as 20,000. Perhaps I may point out to noble Lords who raised the question that the number will be built up over a period of time. I believe that the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, questioned how far it would be possible to get from a standing start to 20,000 people. We are not quite at a "standing start", in the sense that there are substantial numbers of people undertaking work that is highly relevant to Connexions, many of whom will be absorbed into the new service. That includes a large number of careers advisers. However, the rate at which the service is phased in will depend partly on the resources available to it and on the time it takes to recruit sufficient numbers of suitable and qualified staff. Again, I cannot give detailed answers at present.
The noble Baroness raised questions about data protection. Perhaps I may reassure her that we shall apply all the appropriate data protection principles. The noble Baroness also asked about the voluntary sector. This is a good example of a matter that could be dealt with more appropriately under later amendments where it features more directly.
I turn now to the points raised by my noble friend Lady David. As currently constituted, the Careers Service will cease to exist. We expect that the best Careers Service companies will play a major role in the Connexions service, along with other partners. Careers advice and guidance will continue to be an important part of the new service. Therefore, it will be vital for the new partnerships to build on the skills and experience that exist within Careers Service companies. In fact, the staff who work within such companies will form the core of the Connexions service, alongside staff from the youth service and other organisations. I can reassure my noble friend that schools will continue to receive the support and impartial advice that they need on career matters through the new service.
The noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, asked about existing areas and how they will fit in with the new areas. This is a very substantial change and there will be a need for a restructuring. The existing areas will no longer be relevant from the point of view of the Careers Service because we will move towards a Connexions service based on the 47 local learning and skills councils' geographical areas.
Turning to Amendment No. 216A, I think that I understand its purpose. However, I have to question the use of the word "or". This seems to imply that the promotion of social inclusion may be a separate and alternative purpose of the Connexions service for encouraging, enabling and assisting effective participation in learning by young people. As noble Lords who have spoken in the debate will know, the promotion of social inclusion is a central plank of the Government's agenda. We believe--the evidence available strongly bears this out--that the most enduring way of promoting social inclusion is to equip young people with the skills that they need in order that they may engage fully in both economic and social life. Participation in effective learning is central to our social inclusion agenda.
I am sure that the noble Earl accepts that the Connexions service is about more than promoting social inclusion. It is about providing appropriate support for all young people so that they can participate in effective learning and achieve their potential. The promotion of social inclusion is implicit
Turning to Amendment No. 216, I do not think that it adds anything to what is already implied by the existing wording of Clause 99. This makes clear that the objective of the support services to be provided will be to secure the effective participation of young people in learning. Participation in learning which is not appropriate to an individual's needs could hardly be described as effective.
If there is any doubt in the mind of my noble friend Lady David--I refer to the headteacher's letter--I can assure her that the Connexions service will be a universal service, as I indicated earlier in Committee. The Connexions service personal advisers will ensure that appropriate advice, guidance and support are available to all 13 to 19 year-olds, of all abilities, whatever their needs and circumstances and wherever in England they live. Clearly, this will involve giving particular time and attention to those young people whose needs are the greatest and most complex, and who suffer very often from multiple disadvantage, an issue raised by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel.
The service will be comprehensive. It will integrate and build on the support services for young people currently provided by a range of rather unco-ordinated and different public, private and voluntary organisations. We hope that it will simplify young people's access to support, fill gaps and eliminate duplication. It will also be proactive in assessing young people's needs and in raising their aspirations.
We intend that it will work closely with the LSC, both to improve information, advice and guidance on post-16 learning opportunities and to ensure that those opportunities match young people's aspirations.
Baroness David: I think that I heard the Minister say that the Careers Service would go. If she did say that, how will that affect its duties under the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993, which amends the 1973 Act? Will that Act have to be repealed?
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