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Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many times the Parents Panel has met since it was established; what conclusions it has reached; if he will publish the minutes of the panel's meetings; and what the cost of the panel has been. (200992)

We are currently in the process of tendering for an organisation to run the Parents Panel and a survey to provide information on parents’ confidence in their ability to help their children to thrive and in the support services available to them. Panel members will be recruited in a way that ensures the panel is as representative of parents as possible. We expect to hold the first meeting of the Parents Panel in autumn 2008.

In the meantime, we are convening a group of 36 parents to discuss key issues arising from the children's plan. This parents group will meet on 15 May and 9 July and is made up from parents who attended the recent Time to Talk events on the children's plan.

The cost of running the two parents group events is just over £75,000. This includes: recruiting parents; providing facilities for the meetings; organising and facilitating the events; developing stimulus materials; providing an on-line forum for parents’ discussion before and between meetings; contributing to parents’ out of pocket expenses.

We will publish the findings of both the parents and the parents group.