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Written Statements

Volume 473: debated on Monday 17 March 2008

Written Ministerial Statements

Monday 17 March 2008

Children, Schools and Families

Raising Expectations: Enabling the System to Deliver

I am today publishing a joint consultation document with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills that proposes to put local authorities in the lead in delivering our drive to raise the participation age and sets out plans to reform the skills landscape.

We want every 16 and 17-year-old to participate in education and training. And we want every adult to have the chance to improve their skills to get a job, a better job, or have a more successful economic life. In this document we set out our proposals for moving £7 billion of funding for education and training of 16 to 18-year-olds to local authorities while establishing a new Skills Funding Agency to fund skills development for adults. We have been working closely with our colleagues in the Learning and Skills Council, with the Local Government Association and with the Association of Directors of Children’s Services. These proposals set out our recommended models for consultation ahead of legislative proposals.

The key proposals in the document will help to deliver our ambition to raise the participation age and transform attainment by age 19 and underpin our aim of a demand-led system and the integration of employment and skills.

Local authorities are in the best place to lead the implementation of the new participation age locally. They are already responsible for schools and are taking responsibility for advising young people. We are now giving them new duties to ensure that the right range of provision is in place for young people to continue in education or training until age 19 and for funding it. In doing so, we are making sure that they have the ability to deliver in full the new curriculum and qualifications entitlement for young people, and to raise standards.

The consultation document sets out how, for young people, we aim to place leadership of the system, accountability for outcomes, duties and the funding to deliver, at a local level—local authorities will have the responsibility and duties to deliver for everyone from birth to 19. Our proposals include:

Giving local authorities the responsibility for ensuring clear local leadership to ensure that every young person is pursuing a programme which engages them and prepares them for life, including young people to the age of 25 with learning difficulties and or disabilities. This includes responsibility for delivering the full entitlement to a choice from the 17 new diplomas, an apprenticeship place and the foundation learning tier, for learners working below level 2.

Giving local authorities responsibility for commissioning the £7 billion annually spent on education and training for 16 to 19-year-olds.

More local accountability for local authorities to take an even more integrated approach to delivery of all children’s services from ages 0-19, helping to deliver the children’s plan.

Funding schools and colleges in comparable ways through retaining the national funding formula.

Giving local authorities the powers to commission more places in schools and colleges, and contract with new providers in order to respond to the needs and demands of young people.

Requiring local authorities to work with each other to commission provision across coherent “travel to learn” areas.

Creating a common performance management framework for schools and colleges so that young people, their parents and carers can make informed decisions about learning opportunities and provide a robust framework for local authorities to carry out their duties in relation to school sixth-form and sixth-form college performance and for the DIUS Skills Funding Agency to carry out its duties in relation to FE colleges and providers’ performance.

Bringing local authorities together regionally, so that with the regional development agency who will co-chair the regional tier, they can ensure that they cater for the future economic and skills needs of each region.

Creating a Young People’s Learning Agency to carry out a small number of national-level functions such as developing a national funding formula and helping to ensure that regional proposals are affordable and deliver universally high-quality provision regardless of where a young person lives.

Enabling local authorities to work closely with the Young People’s Learning Agency and the DIUS Skills Funding Agency, to make sure that capital funding through local authorities joins up with funding through the FE modernisation fund, to create a coherent capital programme for both adult and young people’s facilities in FE.

Ensuring that all providers will have a single commissioner for all 16-19 provision who will act on behalf of all the local authorities from which the colleges draws its students.

For adults, we have the opportunity to enable more effective delivery to the benefit of employers and people. The advent of skills accounts and growth of “Train to Gain” mark a radically different model of organising the skills system, where the role of government is to make sure customers are well-informed and well-supported so that their demand for learning leads supply. We will create a dedicated, streamlined agency at the core of our reforms. Our proposals include:

The creation of a new dedicated Skills Funding Agency which builds on the success of the Learning and Skills Council and capable of responding quickly and flexibly to national, regional and local skills needs;

The Skills Funding Agency will route funding swiftly, efficiently and securely to FE colleges and other providers following the purchasing decisions of adults and employers. It will make sure public funds complement the large private investment which is made in adult skills and training;

The Skills Funding Agency will maintain oversight of the coherence and performance of the whole FE service and especially its responsiveness to the strategic skills needs of employers and learners;

The agency will be responsible for the performance management of further education colleges and other providers. It will be the single point of intervention where either pre or post-19 performance does not meet nationally agreed acceptable standards;

As announced in “World-Class Apprenticeships: Unlocking Talent, Building Skills for All”, the Government are creating a new national apprenticeships service (NAS) to take end-to-end responsibility for the apprenticeships programme, including ultimate accountability for national delivery of targets. The NAS will be a discrete, coherent service, led by a director reporting to the Secretaries of State of DCSF and DIUS, and managed at first within the Learning and Skills Council and then the Skills Funding Agency;

The Skills Funding Agency will manage the National Employer Service, the single service for employers with 5,000-plus employees. The relationship between NAS and the NES will be close, so that employers experience a “no wrong door” service;

The Skills Funding Agency will manage the creation and management of the new England-wide adult advancement and careers service, which will play a key role, with Jobcentre Plus, in boosting individual demand for skills and guiding people to the right training to meet their needs and help change their lives;

The new agency will have an operational remit, established as a “next steps” agency;

Our Departments remain committed to college autonomy and deregulating the operating environments. The new further education improvement body and the FE sector’s own proposals for self-regulation will be working together to raise the performance of the FE service for young people and adults.

The skills landscape has grown and reshaped itself over the years. Whilst the current landscape has worked well, with the LSC playing a particularly critical role supporting the achievements of young people and adults since 2001, the ever-increasing pace of change means that the skills landscape must change if we are to achieve the skills challenges. With almost three quarters of the workforce of 2020 already out of compulsory education, we need to make sure the skills landscape can respond to the demands of adults and employers.

Likewise, the Government believe that this system of local leadership for education and training for all young people will contribute to a radical transformation in the life chances of young people. This new system will support reform of the curriculum and qualifications and the reform of wider services for young people, to facilitate the raising of the participation age, to the benefit of young people, the economy and society.

The two complementary systems set out in our proposals reflect the different needs of the young people and adult sectors. They allow the two national bodies to work closely together and co-ordinate their activity so that schools, colleges and other providers are in turn able to deliver excellent learning opportunities to all.

As we make the changes, we are committed to minimising unnecessary costs and bureaucracy, and making sure schools, colleges and providers are able to focus on effective education and training. We will continue to involve those that will be affected by the changes as we implement them.

We are confident these plans will provide for new and innovative ways of tackling education and skills challenges and strengthen support for young people and adults. It is absolutely essential that as we prepare for change we continue to challenge schools, colleges and all providers to deliver the best possible outcomes for young people and adults already in education and training. We have just seen the highest rise in numbers of young people achieving at level 2 and level 3 by the age of 19, and the numbers of adults achieving basic skills and level 2 qualifications reaching record levels: the Government are determined these achievements are bettered. We will continue to be ambitious for the next cohort of young people and adults and will make the changes proposed in this document with a view to strengthening further the experience of these young people and adults in learning.

I am placing in the Library copies of the consultation document “Raising Expectations: Enabling the System to Deliver”. The consultation period runs from 17 March to 9 June.

Safeguarding Children and Young People

I would like to update the House on progress on steps which have been taken to strengthen the vetting and barring system, and on commitments made in respect of List 99 by my predecessors, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, West (Ruth Kelly) on 19 January 2006, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, West and Hessle (Alan Johnson) on 28 February 2007.

The safety of children and young people is our top priority. We are committed to ensuring we have the toughest ever vetting and barring system for all those working with, or seeking to work with, children and vulnerable adults. The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, which received Royal Assent on 8 November 2006, introduces further fundamental strengthening of the arrangements for the vetting and barring of individuals employed with children and vulnerable adults. This will incorporate a robust, independent and expert barring process and will provide a modern and improved vetting service for employers, including parents.

Pending the implementation of this new vetting and barring service, we have continued to strengthen existing arrangements in a number of ways.

Revised List 99 Regulations

My predecessor announced the introduction of regulations concerning the placing of individuals on List 99 by including on the list automatically anyone with a sexual offence against a child. These regulations, which amended the Education (Prohibition from Teaching or Working with Children) Regulations 2003, extended the range of offences which will result in automatic inclusion on List 99 to include cautions as well as convictions for sexual offences against children. These changes have ensured that anyone aged 18 or over who is convicted of, or cautioned for, a relevant offence from 28 February 2007 will be automatically included on the list regardless of whether there is evidence that they have been in previous employment in the education and children’s workforce. For the most serious offences individuals are barred without the right to make representations. In other cases individuals are able to make representations, but continue to be barred from employment as teachers or school workers while these are considered.

These regulations have been implemented vigorously and effectively since they came into force on 28 February 2007.

I am particularly grateful for the assistance of the police in providing information on individuals who have committed relevant offences to my officials in order that barring can be undertaken.

Consolidated Safer Recruitment Guidance and Follow-up to the Ofsted Survey of Vetting Practice in Schools

Following the Ofsted survey of vetting practice in schools, the Department introduced new requirements for every school and college to have a single central record of checks. Full, single central records for all staff were required to be in place from 1 April 2007. The existence of an up-to-date record in every school, available for inspection by Ofsted, will help to ensure that schools have carried out and recorded all the checks, including List 99 and CRB checks, on staff properly.

Ofsted inspectors evaluate schools’ compliance with Government requirements regarding vetting of staff during the course of inspections of maintained schools. Reports published since April 2007 indicate that compliance is very high, and Ofsted will continue to report on this aspect. Where schools are found not to be compliant with Government requirements, this will carry implications for their other inspection judgements such as on leadership and management or the care, guidance and support of learners, as well as the grade for the school’s overall effectiveness.

List 99 Review

In his statement to the House on 28 February 2007 my predecessor referred to the work undertaken in following up the commitments made on 19 January 2006 by the then Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, West. In particular he referred to 56 cases where Ministers or officials had decided not to include an individual on List 99. My predecessor confirmed that all of these individuals had been followed up and that one individual was barred. In addition, he also referred to 32 cases of individuals who were on the sex offenders’ register, but had not previously been referred to the Department by the police. He confirmed that all 32 individuals were now barred.

As well as ensuring that cases considered since 1997 where there were sexual offences which indicated a risk of harm to children were examined, the then Secretary of State also made a commitment on 19 January 2006 to examine similar cases determined before 1997. Sir Roger Singleton and his panel would examine those cases which, had the sex offenders’ register existed, would have resulted in the individual’s inclusion on the register and all cases involving a sexual offence or allegation which resulted in a decision not to include on List 99 or in a restriction or partial bar. My predecessor also asked Sir Roger to include all cases where there were sexual allegations between 1997 and 2005 in addition to all cases involving sexual offences or allegations before 1997. The aim of this was to establish whether any individual posed a risk of harm to children and if any action should be taken. As well as advising me on contemporary cases, Sir Roger Singleton’s panel have also been examining these historical cases.

This important and painstaking work has been given the highest priority. In total 2,559 relevant case files have been reviewed by Sir Roger Singleton’s panel. 1,741 of these files were from the period 1940 to 1997, and 818 were cases from the period 1997 to 2005. As a result of the panel’s examination, and further information gathered from the police, 46 individuals have been barred.

This important work is continuing and the review of historical cases is approaching completion. I will bring a further report to the House in due course.

In his statement of 28 February 2007, my predecessor gave an update on the 210 cases where individuals had been placed on List 99, but subject to a partial bar which restricts their employment with children to certain types of establishment or types of work in schools. These cases have been examined and, where appropriate, enquiries made in order to gather additional information from police and other sources. My predecessor reported that in 42 of the 210 cases there is no indication of any sexual offence or allegation, and in one case the person concerned was deceased. These cases are closed. My predecessor also reported that there were 12 cases where, as a result of further enquiries, the partial bar had been changed to a full bar. I can now report that as a result of additional police information the partial bar has been changed to a full bar in 4 more cases, a total of 16. One further individual is deceased. The review of these partial bar cases is now complete. The panel has advised that no further action is required.

All the individuals who still have partial bars remain on List 99. A standard or enhanced CRB disclosure will reveal the barred status of the individuals concerned to an employer, and their status will also be disclosed by the required List 99 check.

All partial bar cases, along with other barred cases, will be considered by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) for inclusion in the new barred lists under the terms of the Transitional Provisions Order made under the Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act. If the ISA decides that these individuals pose a risk of harm they will be placed on the new barred lists.

My predecessor reported that as at 27 February 2007 there were 4,921 individuals on List 99. As at 13 March 2008, the number of individuals on List 99 is 8,036. The vast majority of the increase is as a result of the amended List 99 regulations which came into force on 28 February 2007.

I am extremely grateful for the work of Sir Roger Singleton and the panel of experts who have been advising me on List 99 cases. Their role in advising on List 99 cases will shortly be transferred to the new Independent Safeguarding Authority.

The New Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA)

Following the full implementation of the Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act, decisions on whether to prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults will be taken by the Independent Safeguarding Authority, an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Home Office. Chaired by Sir Roger Singleton, the ISA will be responsible for making decisions under the new vetting and barring arrangements, and it was formally established in January 2008 to take forward the transitional and preparatory work in readiness for the new scheme. As part of the transition, from 31 March 2008, we will begin to transfer the administration of List 99 casework to the ISA, which will advise the Secretary of State on the barring decisions under the provisions of paragraph 1 of Schedule 8 to the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act.

The new vetting and barring scheme will replace the current List 99, Protection of Children Act (PoCA) list, the disqualification orders handed down by the courts, and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (PoVA) list with new lists barring individuals from working with children and vulnerable adults. Statutory instruments have been made which come into force on 7 April 2008, which govern the arrangements under which ISA must include, or consider including, in the new barred lists all those individuals who are barred under the current schemes.

A Home Office Minister will make a statement to the House in due course on the ISA’s work and progress towards the implementation of the new scheme.

School Admissions: Strengthening the System

Last Tuesday I announced the next steps we are taking to strengthen the admissions system. This statement provides an update for the House, and sets out further steps we are taking to ensure the proper implementation of the School Admissions Code, so that no parent or child is disadvantaged by unfair admission arrangements.

Extending the Role of the Schools Adjudicator

As I announced last week we will be introducing an amendment to the Education and Skills Bill placing a duty on local authorities to report annually to the chief adjudicator on the legality, fairness and effectiveness of admission arrangements in their area. Following Royal Assent, the chief adjudicator will be able to draw upon these reports in his annual report to me.

The chief schools adjudicator, Dr Philip Hunter, has written to my Department to propose the following for this year:

He will write to all local authorities before 15 April asking that they send him, by the end of June, a full set of admission arrangements for all the schools in their area, and their account of the legality, fairness and effectiveness of the admission arrangements that are being proposed for 2009 school entries in their area.

He will consider these returns, act where necessary to ensure compliance with the code, and then report to me later in the summer on compliance for 2009 admissions.

I propose to accept his proposals, and have asked him to provide an interim update in July and a final report on 1 September. I have placed a copy of his letter and my reply to him in the Library of the House.

Objections and Adjudicator Report

I have also today published draft regulations for consultation that extend the period in which objections can be referred to the schools adjudicator on determined admission arrangements for entry in 2009. Extending the period from six to sixteen weeks will ensure that parents, local authorities, admissions authorities, admissions forums and religious authorities have sufficient time to check proposed admission arrangements, and can refer an objection up to 21 August each year for admissions in the following year.

As I said in my statement last week we are currently verifying our recent findings with the local authorities and schools concerned and I will make another statement to Parliament when this process is complete.

Communities and Local Government

Fire and Rescue Service

I would like to report to the House that this morning Sir Ken Knight, the Government’s chief fire and rescue adviser, published his report into the fire and rescue service (FRS) operational response to the widespread summer flooding of 2007.

Sir Ken’s report praises the FRS for its dedication and professionalism in dealing with severe challenges during the floods in protecting lives, infrastructure and property. I fully endorse those views.

The report examines a number of key issues including: FRS command and control, the national capability to respond to major floods, equipment and health and safety, training, effective use of flood risk information, the national co-ordination of FRS assets like high volume pumps, and the role of category 2 responders including utility companies in such emergencies.

The Government welcome this report. Its findings will contribute directly to Sir Michael Pitt’s “Lessons Learned” review final report which is due to be published in the summer.

I have placed copies of the report in the Libraries of the House.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Consular Fees Order 2008

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently undertaken a review of the fees charged for visa and consular services overseas. On 12 March 2008 Her Majesty in Council approved the Consular Fees Order 2008. This revokes and replaces the Consular Fees Order 2007 and two Consular Fees (Amendment) Orders. The Government are today announcing changes to the consular fees to be charged under this order with effect from 1 April 2008.

Passport fees, at home and overseas, remain at current levels. However the order enables fees for passport applications made both overseas and in the United Kingdom to be non-refundable in the event that the application is unsuccessful, whereas previously they were not.

The order includes a premium service legalisation fee of £67 for companies, solicitors and notaries, to be charged from a new office in central London. The standard legalisation service both offered by consular officers at posts overseas and by the London legalisation office (to move to Milton Keynes later in the year) will remain at £27.

Fees for receiving applications for entry clearance to the United Kingdom, for passing through the United Kingdom, direct airside transit visas and certificates of entitlement of abode, which were previously charged under the Consular Fees Order, are now charged under section 51 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and, in respect of those fees that are set at levels that exceed the administrative cost of the application, in reliance on section 42 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc.) Act 2004. However fees for receiving applications for entry clearance to Commonwealth countries, British overseas territories and Crown Dependencies continue to be charged in the order. Fees for applications for entry clearance to the Crown Dependencies made from outside the UK have in most cases been increased by approximately 3 per cent. in line with inflation.

It is right that those who benefit from consular services should meet the cost of them, rather than the UK taxpayer. The new fees represent the full economic cost of what we do, and will ensure that British missions overseas continue to provide a high standard of service to consular customers.

The new fees are included in the attached table.

Table of Consular Fees

Part I

Legalisation

Fee

£

1.

Attesting or legalising a signature or seal except where —

(a)

the signature or seal is on a certificate or survey of foreign passenger ships running to or from the United Kingdom, or

(b)

the signature or seal is on a document required for the deposit or withdrawal of money in or from any British Post Office or other Government Savings Bank, or

(c)

the signature or seal is in connection with stocks or bonds on the registers of the Post Office, with Savings Bank annuities or with annuities granted direct by the National Debt Commissioners —

(i)

Standard service

27.00

(ii)

Premium service

67.00

Part II

Notarial and Related Matters

Fee

£

2.

Preparing any certificate, declaration or document not listed elsewhere in this Schedule —

(a)

in standard form, for every copy

34.00

(b)

not in standard form, for every 100 words —

(i) in English

42.00

(ii) in any other language

67.00

3.

Preparing or signing, or both, a declaration of existence —

16.50

Except in connection with pay or pensions payable by a department of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, or the Government of any other Commonwealth country

4.

Administering an oath or attesting the signature on a declaration or affirmation except where —

50.00

(a)

the oath, declaration or affirmation is made under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995(a) or in connection with the loss of a passport

(b)

fee 16, 17, 27, 28, 29, 32, 38, 44, or 45 is to be taken

5.

Supplying witnesses, for each witness

20.00

6.

Initialling alterations in any document not prepared by the consular officer or marking exhibits, for each initialling or marking

10.00

7.

Making or verifying (including certifying when necessary) a copy of a document —

(a)

in typescript, for each page

34.00

(b)

reproduced by electronic means outside the consular premises, for each page

34.00

(c)

reproduced by electronic means within the consular premises, for each page (with a minimum charge of £25)

5.00

8.

Uniting documents and sealing the fastening (except where fee 45 is applicable)

20.00

9.

Affixing a photograph to a document not prepared by the consular officer, and if necessary, certifying it (except where fee 16 or 17 is applicable)

20.00

10.

Obtaining a legalisation or other certification from another authority upon any document (in addition to other direct costs if any)

42.00

11.

Supplying certified copies of documents which form part of the records of a court which is, or was formerly, established under the Foreign Jurisdiction Acts 1890(b) and 1913(c), for each page

59.00

12.

Making or verifying (including certifying when necessary) a written translation, for every 100 words or characters written in the foreign language (except where fee 31, 32 or 47 is to be taken) —

(a)

from or into Amharic, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean (three Japanese Kana count as one character when used independently)

67.00

(b)

from or into any other language

42.00

13.

Translating and interpreting viva voce except when performing official duties, for every 15 minutes

30.00

(a) 1995 c.21.

(b) 1890 c.37.

(c) 1913 c.16.

Part III

Passport Applications Made to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Fee

£

14.

Administering an application made abroad, including applications for replacing an expired passport, replacing a passport of restricted validity with a new passport of full validity, issuing a new passport with amended personal details and replacing a lost or stolen passport and, if the application is successful, providing a 32 page passport —

(a) where the applicant is aged 16 years or over

119.00

(b) where the applicant is under 16 years old (for a passport valid for 5 years)

76.00

15.

Administering an application made abroad, including applications for replacing an expired passport, replacing a passport of restricted validity with a new passport of full validity, issuing a new passport with amended personal details and replacing a lost or stolen passport and, if the application is successful, providing a 48 page passport

144.00

16.

Administering an application made abroad and, if the application is successful providing an Emergency Passport (or other document not otherwise provided for in lieu of a passport)

55.50

17.

Administering an application made abroad and, if the application is successful providing a Temporary Passport valid for not more than one year

70.50

Part IV

Passport Applications Made in the United Kingdom

Fee

£

18.

Administering an application made in the United Kingdom, including applications for replacing an expired passport, replacing a passport of restricted validity with a new passport of full validity, issuing a new passport with amended personal details and replacing a lost or stolen passport and, if the application is successful, issuing a 32 page passport —

(a)

for applications made by post —

0)

where the applicant is aged 16 years and over

72.00

(ii)

where the applicant is under 1 6 years old (for a passport valid for 5 years)

46.00

(b)

for applications made in person —

(i)

where the applicant is aged 16 years or over using the fast-track service

97.00

(ii)

where the applicant is under 16 years old (for a passport valid for 5 years) using the fast-track service

81.00

(iii)

where the applicant is aged 1 6 years or over using the fast-track collect service

109.00

(iv).

where the applicant is under 1 6 years old (for a passport valid for 5 years) using the fast-track collect service

91.00

(v)

where the applicant is aged 16 years or over using the premium service

114.00

(vi)

where the applicant is under 16 years old (for a passport valid for 5 years) using the premium service

94.00

19.

Administering an application made in the United Kingdom, including applications for replacing an expired passport, replacing a passport of restricted validity with a new passport of full validity, issuing a new passport with amended personal details and replacing a lost and stolen passport and, if the application is successful, issuing a 48 page passport —

(a)

for applications made by post

85.00

(b)

for applications made in person —

(i)

using the fast-track service

105.00

(ii)

using the fast-track collect service

109.00

(iii)

using the premium service

123.00

20.

Administering an application made in the United Kingdom and, if the application is successful, issuing a collective passport —

(a)

for applications made by post

39.00

(b)

for applications made in person

54.00

Part V

Other Documents Relating to Travel or Entry into the UK, Commonwealth, Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies

Fee

£

21.

Preparing or forwarding, or both, any letter, certificate, declaration or other document which may be required by an authority in any country or territory in connection with an application for or the issue or renewal of an entry clearance (for a country or territory for which the consular officer does not himself have authority to issue entry clearance), a residence permit or identity card or forwarding any other certificate or document (except a Home Office travel document and applications for registration and naturalisation)

59.00

22.

Renewing a Travel Certificate, a certificate of identity or other travel document on behalf of a Commonwealth country or of a dependency of a Commonwealth country (except where fee 24 is to be taken)

59.00

23.

Renewing a Travel Certificate, a certificate of identity or other travel document on behalf of a Crown Dependency or a British overseas territory (except where fee 24 is to be taken)

59.00

24.

Revalidating or renewing a Seaman's Certificate of Nationality and Identity or a Seaman's Identity Book (in addition to fee 21 where applicable)

59.00

25.

Receiving an application for entry clearance to a Commonwealth country or British overseas territory

44.00

26.

Receiving, outside the United Kingdom, an application for —

(a)

entry

clearance to the Crown Dependencies —

(0

as a visitor, in each case for single, double and multiple entries valid for up to six months from the date of issue

65.00

(ii)

for settlement

515.00

(iii)

as a student

99.00

(iv)

outside the Immigration Rules on an application by entertainers in accordance with Chapter 17 Section 3 of the Home Office Immigration Directorate's Instructions

99.00

(v)

outside the Immigration Rules on an application by sportsmen and women in accordance with Chapter 17 Section 8 of the Home Office Immigration Directorate’s Instructions

99.00

(vi)

outside the Immigration Rules on an application by voluntary workers in accordance with Chapter 17 Section 9 of the Home Office Immigration Directorate's Instructions

99.00

(vii)

for any purpose other than those listed sub-paragraphs (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) and (vi) listed above

205.00

(b)

a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode in the Crown Dependencies

200.00

Part VI

Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships

Fee

£

27.

Receiving notice of an intended marriage, civil partnership or overseas relationship

59.00

28.

Solemnising or attending a marriage under the Foreign Marriage Acts 1892 (d) and 1947 (e): administering oaths to the parties and registering the marriage

126.00

29.

Registering a civil partnership under the Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) Order 2005 (f)

126.00

30.

Issuing in English or in the local language a certificate that no impediment to an intended marriage or civil partnership has been shown to exist or issuing a “certificate de coutume” for an intended marriage or intended overseas relationship in accordance with local law

59.00

31.

Forwarding a record of a marriage under the local law to the appropriate Registrar General in accordance with the Foreign Marriage Order 1970 (g), including the provision of any necessary certification

34.00

32.

Forwarding a record of an overseas relationship to the appropriate Registrar General in accordance with the Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) Order 2005 (h), including the provision of any necessary certification

34.00

33.

Registering a birth or death (in addition to fee 35 where applicable)

92.00

34.

Making an addition to or correction in the consular register of births, deaths, marriages or civil partnerships at the request of the parties concerned

34.00

35.

Issuing a certified copy of an entry in the consular register of births, deaths, marriages or civil partnerships (in addition to fee 36 or 33 where applicable)

59.00

(d) 1892 c.23

(e) 1947 c.33.

(f) S.I. 2005/2761

(g) S.I. 1970/1539.

(h) S.I. 2005/2761

Part VII

Searches

Fee

£

36.

Making a search in (in addition to fee 2(a) and 35 where applicable) —

(a)

the consular registers of births, deaths, marriages or civil partnerships where the number or date of entry is not provided

59.00

(b)

the records of the Identity and Passport Service where the request originates in the United Kingdom

14.00

(c)

any other records or archives of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom

103.00

(d)

naturalisation or registration records kept by a consular officer

72.00

37.

Having a search made for, or attempting to obtain copies of, or both, entries in the local registers or records of local authorities responsible for births, marriages or overseas relationships or for any other document, irrespective of whether an entry or record or any other document is found or obtained after a period of 18 months (in addition to direct costs exceeding £5.00 if any)

121.00

Part VIII

Nationality and Registration

Fee

£

38.

Administering an oath of British Citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981(i) at a citizenship ceremony

50.00

39.

Preparing or forwarding, or both, an application for registration or naturalisation to the Home Office

59.00

40.

Preparing or forwarding, or both, any other application requested by any Department of Her Majesty's Government

59.00

41.

Supervising a knowledge of life test for naturalisation under the British Nationality Act 1981 in consular premises

121.00

(i) 1981. c.61.

Part IX

Estates

Fee

£

42.

Administering fully or partly, safeguarding, or arranging the transmission of all or part of the personal effects and other estate of a deceased person or if sold, the proceeds, except for the wages and personal effects of a seaman. Except where the gross current market value is less than £1,000; charge based on the amount of the gross current market value

2% rounded to the nearest £10.00

However where a local lawyer is employed and consular officer's actions are nominal

76.00

Part X

Attendances

Fee

£

43.

Attending (except in connection with trade and investment enquiries) for each hour or part hour. The time taken will include reasonable travelling time from the consular premises and return or out of office hours to the consular or other premises and return —

(a)

at the consular premises or elsewhere during office hours except when attending to supervise an examination for two or more persons sitting examinations at the same time when the fee may be apportioned between them

121.00

(b)

at the consular premises or elsewhere outside office hours

121.00

up to a maximum in any 24 hour period for each consular officer of

870.00

Part XI

Matters Relating to Legal Proceedings

Fee

£

44.

Presiding at the taking of evidence under a commission or order from a Court, including any action by the consular officer as examiner —

(a)

for up to two hours on the first day

241.00

(b)

for each additional hour or part hour

121.00

45.

Providing evidence of service or attempted service (in addition to fee 43 or 46)

121.00

46.

Providing the services of a consular officer or consular employee —

(a)

to assist the consular officer in the taking of evidence under a commission or order from a Court, for each such person —

for each hour or part hour

121.00

(b)

to affect or endeavour to affect service of a document, for each hour or part hour outside the consular premises —

during office hours

121.00

outside office hours

151.00

47.

Forwarding a request to a local authority for the taking of evidence or the service of a document, where necessary, certifying the accuracy of a translation accompanying the document

121.00

Part XII

Repatriation and Financial Assistance

Fee

£

48.

Arranging the repatriation of a person or members of the same family travelling together

121.00

49.

Arranging for currency to be made available against the deposit of funds with Her Majesty's Government by any means (in addition to fee 43 where payable)

61.00

Part XIII

Shipping, Seamen and Related Matters

Fee

£

50.

Granting or considering whether to grant a provisional certificate of registry, whether the owner is a private individual or body corporate

352.00

51.

Receiving a return of the birth or death of any person on board a ship and endorsing the agreement with the crew accordingly

51.00

52.

Examining or arranging for the examination of provisions or water, payable by the party who proves to be in default (in addition to any cost of a survey)

51.00

53.

Noting a marine protest and furnishing one certified copy if required and for each further copy

42.00

54.

Extending a marine protest, filing the original and furnishing one certified copy is required (in addition to fee 1 and 2 where applicable) —

(a)

for up to 200 words, excluding the declaratory clause

101.00

(b)

for every subsequent 100 words or less

42.00

55.

Making a request, or issuing or arranging for the issue of a document, in connection with a survey of a ship (in addition to fee 7 where applicable) —

(a)

for the purposes of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 (SOLAS) or of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 as modified by its Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL)

67.00

(b)

for any other purpose

121.00

56.

Issuing a bill of health

42.00

57.

Preparing or signing, or both, any document, whether required by the Merchant Shipping Acts or by the local authorities, relating to the master or the members of the crew of a ship, to their numbers, names or other details, or to their engagement, discharge, desertion or death (except where fee 51 is taken in addition to fee 43, or a death inquiry is held under section 271 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995(k))

67.00

58.

Signing and, if required, sealing any documents at the request of the master of the ship (except where this is required under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, or fee 57 is taken)

67.00

59.

Inspecting —

(a)

a ship's papers when required to enable a consular officer to do any matter or thing in respect of a ship (except where fee 57 is taken in addition to fee 43)

50.00

(b)

the marking of a ship, irrespective of the number of visits (in addition to fee 43)

50.00

(k) 1995 c.21.

Justice

Prison Drug Treatment

The Government are committed to improving prison drug treatment. Effective prison drug treatment lies at the heart of reducing re-offending; reducing the harm to individuals, their families and the wider community caused by drug misuse; and in helping offenders to lead law-abiding, productive lives upon release.

I am today with the Minister of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South (Dawn Primarolo), and the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, South (Mr. Lewis), announcing additional Department of Health (DH) funding for prison clinical drug treatment. £12.7 million was invested in 2007-08, this will rise to £24.4 million (actual) in 2008-09, £39 million (indicative) in 2009-10 and £43 million (indicative) in 2010-11. This additional funding, further developing the integrated drug treatment system (IDTS) in prisons, is aimed at improving the volume and quality of drug treatment with a particular emphasis on the first 28 days in custody and better integration with the community services to which most drug-misusing prisoners will return.

We are also pleased to announce that a national prison drug treatment review group will be established to oversee the continued development of prison drug treatment, informed by recommendations arising from a review of prison drug treatment funding conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) last year.

We are pleased that Professor Lord Kamlesh Patel from the university of Central Lancashire has agreed to chair this group which will consider the PwC recommendations in more detail, agree a single set of priorities and compile national guidance around the streamlining of the commissioning, delivery, funding and performance management of drug treatment for offenders. Lord Patel has made an important contribution both in his role as chairman on the Mental Health Commission and as a non-executive director on the board of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse.

Considerable progress has already been made—funding for prison treatment has increased year on year (up 1008 per cent. since 1996-97), prison drug treatment services have developed rapidly in the past few years with record numbers engaged in treatment. However at the same time, delivery systems had become increasingly complex. In May 2007 the Secretary of State for Health and the then Home Secretary requested an urgent review of the use of existing resources for drug treatment in prisons. The objective of the review was to explore how existing resources could be used more effectively to ensure that that prison drug treatment services reduced re-offending and met the treatment needs for prisoners throughout their time in custody and in preparation for their release.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was appointed to undertake the review and their report was received in December 2007. The PwC report acknowledged the considerable investment in prison-based drug services over the last 10 years which had lead to major improvements, with many examples of excellent practice. But the report also identified the lack of a clear inter-departmental strategy; fragmented organisational arrangements for funding, commissioning, performance management and delivery of services; the lack of a clear evidence base for some services currently offered; and inefficiencies and gaps in services. The report recommended eight steps which should now be taken to build upon and improve the delivery of drug services to offenders in prison and to extract better value from the considerable resources invested.

The principal recommendation is to set up a national offender drug strategy group to commission a series of projects that would:

determine and agree the key outcomes needed for prisoners and offenders, both in prison and on release into the community;

establish a set of national minimum standards for drug treatment in prison;

identify opportunities for achieving efficiency savings to invest in prison and offender drug treatment services;

examine the case for prioritising some groups of prisoners and offenders;

develop the commissioning model at national, regional and local level;

develop a single health and a single criminal justice funding stream to target services more effectively; and

agree systems for improved information sharing to support better quality performance management and case management.

Copies of the executive summary of the PwC report, “Review of Prison-Based Drug Treatment Funding, December 2007” have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

Work and Pensions

Health of the Working Age Population

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and I have today received Dame Carol Black’s review of the health of Britain’s working age population, “Working for a Healthier Tomorrow”, commissioned by our Departments last year.

The report sets out the impact of working age ill-health and the scale of the challenge ahead of us. Ill-health among working age people impacts on many of our key priorities, such as eradicating child poverty, achieving full employment, tackling health inequalities and creating a strong and successful economy. While we have done much across government on this agenda over the past few years, there is clearly more still to do. This is the focus of today’s review.

The Government welcome the review and will consider Dame Carol’s findings carefully. Over the coming months we will study her recommendations closely and will develop detailed proposals to make a real difference. This work will support our wider challenge of ensuring that the NHS becomes more than just a treatment service for patients who are ill, but helps to keep people healthy and prevent ill-health from occurring too.

While it will take some time to develop this package of measures, I can today set out the immediate steps we are taking to ensure that 2008 marks a step change in the way we approach the health of the working age population.

Dame Carol has flagged up that employee access to occupational health is often poor and there needs to be increased support for smaller employers. We can today announce that we are taking a next small step to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). An £11 million capital fund is being established to allow us to set up six new NHS Plus demonstration sites to look at innovative ways of supporting SMEs with occupational health services, adding to the five demonstration sites we established last year.

Meanwhile, we recognise that early intervention is crucial to helping people with health conditions stay in work and preventing milder health conditions from worsening. Therefore we will also be looking at the best way of exploring Dame Carol’s suggestion of a “Fit for Work” service for people in the early stages of sickness absence. Any such pilot will be evaluated to assess the benefits to individuals and businesses and the level of potential savings which could support the costs. There may also be the opportunity for employers to contribute to such a service if it were found to be effective.

We are also committed to improving the support for those people who do fall out of work on to benefits. The new employment and support allowance and the significant investment we are making in Pathways to Work will help many new benefit recipients to return to work and fulfil their potential. I am also committed to helping those people who are currently on incapacity benefit. While they can already volunteer for the support available through Pathways, it is my ambition that, over time and as resources permit, we transfer everyone on incapacity benefit to the employment and support allowance. We will also look to apply a more active approach to existing incapacity benefit claimants as well as new ones, starting with those under 25. We will explore using a new funding mechanism to reward private and voluntary sector specialist providers for investing in helping long-term incapacity benefits claimants to return to work.

We will also ensure that, from 2010, all existing incapacity benefit customers will have the new work capability assessment applied when their entitlement to benefit is due to be reassessed. The new test will be a more accurate assessment of functional ability, reflecting the activities needed in today’s workplace, and looking at what people can do, as well as what they cannot do. In particular the new test will include a more extensive and fairer assessment of mental function.

Dame Carol rightly points out that mental ill-health represents a key challenge for Government. As such, supporting people with mental health conditions will be a central element of the Government response, with our proposed national strategy on mental health and work forming part of the package. The development of the strategy will be led in part by Dame Carol herself, working closely with stakeholders in this area. As we develop this strategy we will assess the effectiveness of existing programmes and treatments on people with mental health conditions. We will also consider the findings of the Royal College of Psychiatrists report, “Mental Health and Work”, commissioned to support Dame Carol’s review.

We are also committed to ensuring that our “Pathways to Work” and “Improving Access to Psychological Therapies” (IAPT) programmes are aligned as they are rolled out across the country, ensuring that people receive mental health and employment support in a joined-up fashion. I can today also announce that DWP will provide funding to test placing private or voluntary sector advisers in the IAPT programme, offering employment advice to working age people receiving therapy, whether in employment or not.

The measures I have set out today are our first steps in the journey set out by Dame Carol. We are committed to making this journey and radically improving the health of working age people. We want to help more people to enter or remain in work and establish healthier workplaces as the norm, with an ultimate ambition of good jobs for all. Success in this agenda will benefit individuals, families, communities, businesses and the economy as a whole.

Copies of “Working for a Healthier Tomorrow” and its accompanying evidence summary will be placed in the Library of the House.