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Children: Work Permits

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what plans he has to publicise the requirements for work permits for child employment; (143272)

(2) how many children who require work permits his Department estimates are in employment;

(3) whether the Head of Children’s Services in a local authority is formally accountable for the implementation of child employment policy in that authority; and if he will bring forward proposals to require a named member to also have special responsibility.

[holding answers 15 June 2007]: In 2005, the Government published “Statutory guidance on the roles and responsibilities of the Director of Children’s Services and Lead Member for Children’s Services”. This guidance is clear that local authorities’ functions relating to child employment under section 559 of the Education Act 1996 and sections 18(2) and 37 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 fall within the Director of Children’s Services areas of responsibility by virtue of section 18(2)(a) of the Children Act 2004. Directors of Children’s Services are accountable to the elected members of their authorities for all aspects of their work.

Local authorities are responsible for granting child employment permits and for the enforcement of child employment legislation, including explaining and publicising its requirements. Information is not collected centrally about the numbers of children who require employment permits. The Government plan to help local authorities, employers, young people and other stakeholders to understand and operate the system by producing clear guidance.