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Children: Protection

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress his Department has made in its communications campaign on children's safety; and if he will make a statement. (247010)

One of the key commitments of the Staying Safe: Action Plan was to launch a major communications campaign on children's safety. This commitment was supported with a £9.0 million investment over the CSR 2008-11. It covers all safeguarding priorities in support of PSA 13 (to Improve Children and Young People's Safety) and is aimed at both the children and young people's work force and the general public.

Since April 2008, we have been working across government and the third sector to strengthen and promote messages that promote the safety of children. Such initiatives include a national home safety campaign, a campaign to reduce cyber-bullying, information to schools to help promote fire safety, and support of the established BERR campaign to reduce accidents using fireworks.

We are currently undertaking preparatory work to widen our communications approach for 2009-10 and 2010-11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions his Department has had with Reading Local Education Authority on the level of protection it provides for vulnerable children. (248866)

In response to Reading’s Joint Area Review and 2008 Annual Performance Assessment, Department for Children, Schools and Families officials have held discussions with representatives of Reading borough council, including with the director of children’s services, the chief executive and the lead member for children’s services, to explore the issues raised in the Joint Area Review report and discuss improvement measures for the council’s safeguarding services for vulnerable children and young people. As a result of those discussions, the Department and Reading borough council are commissioning a package of tailored external support which will begin in February, to support necessary improvements in the council’s services.