12. Apprenticeships are available at a range of levels, from GCSE-equivalent (level 2) to postgraduate degree-equivalent (level 7). People often join the programme at level 2, which is a pathway into employment or an apprenticeship at a higher level.22 However, the introduction of apprenticeship standards has led to a significant decline in the proportion of apprenticeships that are available at level 2 because employers are choosing to develop standards at higher levels. Around 20% of the approved standards are at level 2; in contrast, more than 40% of the old-style frameworks were previously available at this level.23 13. The reduction in availability of level 2 apprenticeships particularly affects the ability of people who are economically disadvantaged to start an apprenticeship.24 The British Retail Consortium told us in its written evidence that the decline in level 2 starts was a real concern for the industry, given the role that retail plays in providing employment for individuals who experience a high level of economic exclusion and who need flexibility in the hours and location of their work.25 Sunderland College and ACE Training also told us of similar concerns, as did ukactive in its written evidence.26
The Commission’s measure finds approximately the same number of people in poverty as the Government’s measure. But the composition of poverty—who is poor—is different. Under the Commission’s measure there are more disabled people and working-age families in poverty, but fewer pensioners, than the Government’s measure suggests. Some people are more at risk of poverty than others. That is because they have “inescapable costs”. Disabled people often need to spend more than non-disabled people just to make society accessible and to have a similar standard of living. Parents—especially lone parents—who want to work frequently cannot avoid the costs of childcare. Those same groups may also find that their ability to increase their income through work is limited. This is where the safety net is needed most. The Department should do more to understand whether the benefits it offers to offset these costs are adequate. It has already said that it will review caps on childcare support. It should also commission an independent survey of the additional costs of disability, and use this when setting rates for disability benefits.
41. A 2016 Government review of education in prisons found that the arts can engage prisoners who have had a poor previous experience of formal education, or who struggle with self-esteem.67 It recommended that there should be no restrictions on the use of prison education budgets for arts and sport courses.68 A separate review of music provision for young offenders and young people at risk of offending found improvements in functional education skills and transferable employment skills, as well as increases in confidence and self-esteem.69 Professor Meek commented: “Going into prisons with a range of different types of programmes, be they arts, music or sports-based, is one of the most effective ways of engaging with the most difficult-to-engage-with prisoners.”70 Although she stressed the precariousness of funding and the “barriers caused by rigid educational curriculums or lack of attention to individualised plans”71 facing arts in criminal justice programmes. 42. But Professor Geoffrey Cossick stated “evidence for the effects [of the arts] on re- offending is genuinely unclear”.72 While the arts undoubtedly contribute to the personal growth that facilitates a change in behaviour away from reoffending, it is difficult to isolate the arts as a causal factor in this change of behaviour. Professor Cossick suggested that the evidence demonstrates that arts initiatives have been shown to deliver intermediate outcomes such as prisoners developing trust and resilience “and thus begin the journey to becoming a non-offender”.73 In March 2019, a new MoJ publication recognised the importance of such intermediate outcomes, and the need for proper measurement, in arts-based interventions among offenders.74
10. We heard that current payment systems do not act as incentives to promote higher quality or more efficient services. The Centre for Mental Health pointed to the fact that many mental health services are paid for on ‘block contracts’, under which a provider will get paid a certain amount every year rather than being paid for the number of procedures it carries out.17 The Department agreed that it was hamstrung by the fact that so much of the money spent on mental health is hidden within block contracts, making it difficult to make judgements about whether that money is being well spent. The Department emphasised the importance of being able to relate the money being spent to the outcomes being achieved in order to start properly measuring value for money. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to replace block contracts with one of two alternative models. This would either be a proper capitated budget, under which a provider would be responsible for the local population, or funding would be attached to the episodes of care themselves.18 NHS England confirmed that it is seeking to realign financial incentives.19 11. The Department explained, however, that it had not ring-fenced funding for mental health because that would have distorted local spending, and emphasised that it is trying to strengthen incentives to focus spending around the patient rather than around the service. Around 30% of people who have long-term physical conditions also have mental health issues. The Department told us it wants GPs, clinicians and others to think about what the right package of care is for each patient in the round, taking into account both their mental and physical health issues.20 NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Mental Health added that all trusts would be required to join quality improvement networks that would, over time, show the impact of funding and targets for waiting times.21
Chris Wormald: As I say, I am not going to—we will write on the individual case. I should say two things about the application process. One—I think the National Audit Office Report tells the story extremely well—is that we have evolved our processes from wave to wave. We have learned from the experience and we have enhanced our processes as we have gone. There was a very big difference in how we did applications for wave 1 from wave 2 and onwards, when we introduced an application date and an interview stage into the process—we have adapted our processes as we have gone along. We have not and have never claimed, although we think that we have a rigorous application process, that that would guarantee that every single school would go as we wanted. There were some cases that I think the Chair wishes to come on to at the end of the hearing, where it has not gone as well. The view we have taken is that you have to have as rigorous a process as you can, which nevertheless does not crush all innovation out of the system. If you are opening 174 new institutions, unfortunately some of them will not go as planned. That is true of free schools and it is also true of maintained schools, where we have more schools in special measures than we would like in completely traditional schools. We never expected to be able to have a pre-opening process that would mean that every single school succeeded.
Q54 Chair: At the moment it feels like a bit of a free for all—bits have been thrown in the air and there is a hope that out of all this diversity excellence will flourish. Can we start to understand the criteria required for success? Would there be any use in formalising those and, in a sense, having rules to stop people repeating errors of the past, perhaps? If somebody came along with a new chain and they wanted it to be national but not geographically coherent, would it be sensible to stop that happening rather than let some wealthy sponsor risk the interests of children and their own finances in seeking to do it? Does anyone have any thoughts on codification? Dr Dunford: For the last 10 years, during this period when school-to-school support has been developing— and that has been continuous through from the Labour Government to the Coalition Government—it has always felt to me that the Government has never had a coherent strategy on school-to-school support, on school partnerships. It has allowed 1,000 flowers to bloom and some of those flowers, as with the John Cabot group of academies, have done fantastic work; others have not been so good. There is evidence that the harder end of federation improves performance better than the softer, “let’s get together and be nice to each other” end.
11. The Department sets targets that require the Student Loans Company to get borrowers into what it calls ‘repayment channels’. The Department defines borrowers in repayment channels as including both borrowers who are repaying their loan on time and those who are not earning enough to begin repaying. 20 In March 2013, the Student Loans Company’s Annual Report showed that 99% of borrowers living in the UK (2.88 million out of 2.90 million) were in a repayment channel. 21 However, the figures reported in the Student Loans Company’s Annual Report included 438,000 borrowers in March 2013 who had finished repaying or had their loan cancelled, and who were therefore no longer in the repayment system. 22 In addition, borrowers counted as in repayment channels included 368,000 borrowers who were not repaying anything and for whom the Student Loans Company did not have any information on what they were currently doing. 23 The Department and the Student Loans Company have done little to investigate this group of borrowers, and do not know how many might be, for example, working overseas. 24
Neil Leitch: I agree with my colleagues: they don’t. In fact, the Treasury, in looking at tax- free childcare, have some interesting statistics that they quote—it would be useful if we had those available—that show that the vast majority of parents have no idea what the free entitlement means, either in terms of when they can claim it or what the terms and conditions are et cetera. As for flexibility, “affordable, flexible childcare” is a lovely term, but in reality, for the free entitlement, it just does not work. The idea in the review, for example, that we should be tougher on ratios and should work to the maximum is contrary to flexibility. It means that you basically wait to take a child until you fill up the places, rather than take three children at two years of age, you take four children and wait until you get the fourth; or you don’t take six; you take eight if they happen to be three and four-year-olds. That’s not about flexibility.
The legislation relating to the Children’s Commissioner is permissive, allowing significant flexibility for the Commissioner to determine how best to carry out his or her primary function of promoting and protecting children’s rights. A non-exhaustive list of activities contained in the legislation serves to illustrate the breadth of the Commissioner’s remit and includes:
4. We received around 140 written submissions from a wide range of witnesses and held ten sessions of oral evidence, hearing from nearly fifty individuals, representing many different organisations. The memorandum submitted by the DfE failed to address our terms of reference and instead presented a sustained paean of praise to the success of the policy. In consequence, we called DfE officials as witnesses to put on the record facts about the programme and how it was run. We supplemented these formal procedures with an informal seminar with experts which helped shape our inquiry, and with visits to Hull and to Boston and New Orleans in the US to learn more directly from the experiences of those involved in transforming schools. Outline programmes for the visits are annexed to this Report. 4
70. While we heard very clearly that the sector was grateful for the funding, no witness told us that two years was sufficient. Even the Minister was clear that he would need to be championing the cause of school sports at the spending review in order to try to secure longer-term funding. We believe that the £300 million funding for the primary sport premium could be very important, but that it risks being wasted if it is not put to effective, long-term use and could become yet another short-lived gimmick. We are concerned that the timeframe of the primary sport premium is not sufficient to allow a long-term provision to be built. It risks replicating previous short-term fixes rather than creating a long-term solution. On its own, the primary sport premium is inadequate. If the Government is to secure a legacy from London 2012 and demonstrate its commitment to school sport, the primary sport premium must be embedded within a long-term strategy, with sustained funding.
The Defence Sixth Form College at Welbeck (DSFC) offers a two-year residential A level course to young men and women who would like, in the future, to enter one of the more technical areas of the three Services or the MOD Civil Service. DSFC provides the preferred entry route to the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme (DTUS). Whilst at the College the students remain civilians although Combined Cadet Force attendance is compulsory. Parents/guardians are required to make a contribution to their child’s maintenance based on their aggregated residual income. The Defence Technical Officer and Engineer Entry Scheme (DTOEES) encompasses the DSFC Welbeck and the DTUS which are quad-Service schemes. The Universities of Southampton, Newcastle, Loughborough, Aston and Northumbria support DTUS. The DTOESS Annual Report 2012 includes statistics on academic achievement and is available at http://www.da.mod.uk/dtoees/ public-documents/20130151-DTOEES_Annual_report_final-U.pdf. The Armed Forces offer financial support to selected recruits to support them in education prior to joining the Services. Sixth Form scholarships and bursaries for undergraduates are available. Cadetships are offered mainly to Medical professionals; details of the financial support schemes are in Table 6.
It is also increasingly recognized that large segments of the rural population face ‘financial exclusion’ and continue their traditional dependence on the informal sector. Cross-country data for 99 countries in 2003-04 reported by Beck et al. (2007) indicates that, India ranked 24 th in terms of geographic branch penetration (number of branches per 1000 sq. kms) with a figure of 22.6 and 59 th in terms of demographic penetration (number of branches per 100000 people) with a figure of 6.3, whereas the highest for these indicators were 636.1 (for Singapore) and 95.9 (for Spain), respectively. The Government-appointed Committee on Financial Inclusion (Chairman: Dr.C.Rangarajan) in its Report in 2008 notes that, 45.9 million farmer households in the country out of a total of 89.3 million households do not access credit, either from institutional or non- institutional sources. The challenge remains for developing appropriate policies, procedures and products that can overcome this difficulty within the bounds of resource constraints. Some of the challenges which need to be effectively addressed include lack of adequate infrastructure in rural areas, relatively low volumes of transactions, comparatively higher transaction costs, and other factors such as the literacy levels of target customers.
Susan Raeburn: The new admissions procedure came in about two and a half years ago now. I was a bit sort of, “Oh” because it was taken out of our hands. Basically the people came to the school where they wanted a place and they said, “We want a place in the school”. You said, “Yes, I have space” or, “No, I haven’t” and you just did it. Now it is the frustration of your having to apply to the local authority and so on. They are very good with my school—I don’t know how you find it—in that I have a really good relationship and we usually do verbal agreements rather than making people wait for weeks on end to get in. But for me, I think the notice to leave is the frustrating one. Quite often people say, “We are leaving today”. “You are leaving today? Right, okay.” Andy Schofield: Yes, a month before their GCSEs. Susan Raeburn: Yes, “We are leaving today”. I have had that. The last two children to go, one last Friday, “We are leaving today” and you have absolutely no idea and so therefore you can shove their books in and make a little note, but you haven’t had time to write a leaving report or anything else. So sometimes it is the system that is tricky for them, and our system, i.e. the admissions, can get a backlog and it can take quite a long time—
8. There are flaws in the methodology used to consolidate the accounts of academies, as well as data quality issues, which undermine accountability. In 2012-13 the Department and the Agency consolidated academies into their financial statements for the first time, and the C&AG qualified his opinion on a number of grounds, relating to methodology and poor data. Of four qualifications, the Department accepts that two will be difficult to rectify. First, the Department has to consolidate academies’ September-to-August accounts into its own April-to-March account, which involves making adjustments that carry risks. The Department intends to discuss what to do about this with HM Treasury and the National Audit Office. Second, the Department knew what land and buildings were used by academies, but did not always know who owned them. The Department predicts that it would cost £30 million to collate the necessary data on land and buildings and a further £8 million a year to keep these data up to date.
Yet, bearing in mind the negative commentary that these individuals inevitably drew, the Betting Act 1926 was arguably a boon for illegal bookmakers. Bookmaking was scarcely a business that one could engage in from a standing start. Successful bookmaking required relatively complex mathematical skills, detailed knowledge of the vagaries of sporting activities (especially horseracing) and a solid network of customers and contacts. It was almost inevitable, then, that bookmaking’s transition from an illegal covert activity to a legitimate set of business practices was characterised in Ireland by continuity rather than change. This is borne out by even the most cursory examination of evidence relating to betting prior to the 1926 Act. Cases of illegal bookmaking brought before the courts in the years prior to the 1926 legislation suggest two patterns. First, many of the individuals who
At the 2016 Hangzhou Summit the Implementation Framework of the G20 Action Plan on SME Financing was adopted. Under the German Presidency, G20 member countries reported in a self- assessment on the status of their credit infrastructure in the key areas credit reporting, secured transactions & collateral regimes and insolvency and the GPFI Baseline Report on the SME Finance Action Plan Implementation Framework: Credit Infrastructure Country Self-Assessment Consolidated Report was delivered. The report will be updated every two years and will show progress on the reform measures implemented. The Implementation Framework has been presented at the AFI SME Finance Working Group meeting in March as non-G20 countries are highly encouraged to participate. A follow up discussion is expected in September to move towards roll out in willing non-G20 countries.
The Digital Garage opened in Manchester on 1 December 2015 and provided free seminar training and one to one mentoring sessions in digital skills to small businesses and individuals in the Greater Manchester area. Regular seminars were held at Manchester Central Library and staff were available for one to one bespoke mentoring. The Digital Garage team had also visited neighbouring towns, including Bolton, Chorlton and Didsbury. Nearly 2,000 people had received training in Manchester. As the digital garage moved from town to town, the Manchester Digital Garage closed on 31 March 2016. The Digital Garage in Manchester was part of a national commitment to train small businesses in the digital skills they need to succeed. The Digital Garage initiative has so far helped train over 21,000 people both in physical digital garages in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester, but has also toured Belford, Caerphilly and Cheltenham, as well as running an online academy. Google works with local and national partners to deliver this programme. National partners include Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and charitable organisations such as Code Club, MediaTrust, Raspberry Pi and Technology Trust.