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Connexions Service

Volume 401: debated on Wednesday 19 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what qualifications mentors working with Connexions are required to have. [103646]

Connexions Personal Advisers are drawn from a range of professional backgrounds. To be fully qualified they must possess an NVQ level 4 or equivalent in a relevant professional discipline (e.g. careers, youth work, social work) and have attended a bespoke training programme, either Understanding Connexions or the Diploma for Connexions Personal Advisers. Training is accredited by higher education institutions approved by the Connexions Service National Unit.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many mentors are retained in each region by Connexions partnerships; and what his estimate is of how many there will be at the end of 2003. [103649]

The latest Management Information collected from Partnerships shows that at the end of December 2002 there were 6,399 Connexions Personal Advisers in post. Broken down by region, the figures are as follows:

RegionPersonal advisers1
South East608
South West731
East of England450
West Midlands879
East Midlands493
Yorkshire and the Humber799
North West1,177
North East424
1 End December 2002


Data excludes Norfolk and Berkshire Partnerships which started January 2003.


Partnership MI at end December 2002

The funding provided in the Spending Review 2002 makes provision for this number to rise to almost 10,000 in 2004.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of mentors working with Connexions (a) have been checked by the Criminal Records Bureau and (b) are waiting for their checks to be completed. [103683]

Although Connexions Partnerships provide us with the numbers of Personal Advisers they have recruited, they are not required to provide data on the numbers who have been subject to List 99 and Criminal Records Bureau checks. To do so would serve no purpose as it is a legal requirement for employers to ensure that all Personal Advisers have been subjected to completed List 99 checks before they can come into direct contact with young people. Collecting information on the numbers checked would only serve to place an unnecessary burden on partnerships.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what rights a parent has to know (a) whether their child is being advised by a mentor from the Connexions service, (b) the name of that mentor, (c) the occasions when meetings have taken place and (d) the subjects that were discussed. [103648]

Connexions Partnerships will generally advertise the existence of the Connexions service within their locality. In addition, through the Partnership Agreement, Partnerships will work with schools, colleges and other appropriate institutions to make the availability of the Connexions Service known to parents and their sons and daughters; letting them know that it is available to all 13–19 year olds within their school or institution, via various contact points within the community or through the on-line service, Connexions Direct. Connexions Personal Advisers also strongly encourage young people to discuss any Connexions support with their parents but respect the right of the young person not to do so.Partnerships are not obliged to notify parents that their child is actively involved with Connexions—either in one to one sessions with a Personal Adviser or through more general group sessions. The exception to this may be if the Personal Adviser is working with a young person in a school where it has been agreed that the school's confidentiality policy is followed, which may give the parents the right to know this information.All information sharing policies drawn up by Connexions Partnerships must be in accordance with the Data Protection Act and other relevant legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what contact mentors who have not been security checked by the Criminal Records Bureau are allowed to have with young people. [103647]

Before being allowed any direct contact with young people—supervised or otherwise—all Personal Advisers must, as a minimum, have been List 99 cleared (a DIES maintained list of people whose employment working with young people has been barred or restricted by the Secretary of State). Partnerships must also carry out Criminal Records Bureau checks on all Personal Advisers. However, as List 99 provides robust clearance on child protection issues, Personal Advisers cleared in this way are able to have unsupervised, direct contact with young people while the Criminal Records Bureau check is undertaken.The Financial Memorandum for Connexions Partnerships requires Connexions Partnerships to take all reasonable precautions to avoid employing any person convicted of a criminal offence involving an offence against the person, or an offence involving sexual behaviours, except with the prior written consent of the Secretary of State. Where the Criminal Records Bureau check reveals other such criminal convictions, it is up to the Partnership to decide if they wish to obtain this consent.