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Special Educational Needs: Young Offender Institution

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 11 February 2009, Official Report, columns 2097-8W, on special educational needs: young offenders, what estimate he has made of the cost of undertaking an educational needs assessment within 10 days for a young offender placed in a young offenders institution to the (a) Prison Service and (b) local authority within whose area the young offenders institution is located; and how these costs compare to those which would be incurred if the local authority in which the young offender was resident immediately prior to a custodial sentence being imposed were required to provide copies of relevant psychological reports and assessments within the same time frame. (258830)

Cost estimates sought in this question are not available. However, I can report that:

(a) It is not possible to separate out the cost of conducting an educational assessment on a child or young person in juvenile custody from other delivery as the cost is incorporated into the hourly rate paid to staff working in juvenile custodial establishments. As custodial establishments vary in size, the larger ones will carry out proportionately more assessments and will therefore benefit from economies of scale in price negotiations within awarding bodies.

(b) Local authorities are currently not responsible for assessing the educational needs of young people in young offender institutions because local authorities do not currently have responsibility for providing education and training for young people in juvenile custody. The current Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill proposes legislation to change this to make local authorities responsible for securing education and training for persons in juvenile custody.