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Departmental Responsibilities

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of his Department's performance against its Objective 1 to safeguard children and young people, to improve their outcomes and general well-being, and break cycles of deprivation in 2008; and if he will make a statement. (247466)

Keeping children and young people safe and promoting their health and wellbeing are top priorities for this Government and my Department. We have a range of policies set out across the Children's Plan which contribute to these areas and have introduced a series of national indicators and success measures to monitor our performance.

The latest assessment of our performance, against Objective 1 is detailed in the Department's Autumn Performance Report 2008 (page 78 to 87), presented to the House in December 2008.

In addition, our progress against indicators and success measures in the Department's Public Service Agreements (which include PSA 10 to raise the educational achievement of all children and young people; PSA 11 to narrow the gap in educational achievement between children from low income and disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers respectively; PSA 12 to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people; and PSA 13 to improve children and young people's safety) is monitored quarterly. The assessment of our performance against our PSAs is also given in the Department's Autumn Performance Report 2008.

Our approach to tackling child poverty, namely to break the cycle of deprivation, is set out in the Children's Plan and in the Child Poverty PSA (9). A key objective is to raise educational achievement for children and young people. The Child Poverty Unit (a joint unit sponsored by DCSF/DWP and the Treasury) was established to drive forward the delivery of the Treasury PSA: PSA 9 - to eradicate child poverty by 2020. Progress against PSA 9 is reported in the HM Treasury Autumn Performance Report.