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2005 under-18 conception rate data—published by the Office for National Statistics in February 2007—showed that since the 1998 baseline year, the under-18 conception rate in England fell by 11.8 per cent., to its lowest level for over 20 years. The under-16 rate fell by 12.1 per cent. over the same period.
Notwithstanding these achievements, we need to see faster progress in order to achieve the challenging target of halving the under-18 conception rate by 2010. Consequently, we have issued guidance to local authorities and primary care trusts, setting out the key features of local strategies in areas where teenage conception rates have fallen fastest. All areas have been asked to review their strategies against this guidance, with a view to raising all areas' performance to the levels of the best. If all areas had performed as well as the top quartile, the national reduction would be 26 per cent.—more than twice the 11.8 per cent. reduction that has actually been achieved.