HC Deb 26 January 2004 vol 417 cc141-3W
Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the total cost to public funds has been of supporting the charity Parentline Plus since its inception; [147715]

(2) what the percentage change in the number of telephone calls to Parentline by parents is expected to be once the investment of £763,000 has been made; [147716]

2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04
Family Support Grant (ex-Home Office, now Department for Education and Skills)
Project to develop materials for Afro-Caribbean communities 145,000
Core funding 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Share Parent Plus for activity based materials project 48,000
Project to support parents of teenagers 45,000 40,000

place which may be taken up at a range of providers in the maintained, private, voluntary and independent sectors. From April 2004, six months ahead of the original target. the entitlement will be extended to all three year olds. A free place consists of a minimum of five two and a half hour sessions for thirty-three weeks of the year. It is underpinned by a statutory Code of Practice which encourages local authorities and providers to allow parents to take up their entitlement flexibly.

Around 88 per cent. of three year olds nationally are already receiving some free provision. The latest figures on Under 5's provision in England were published in Statistical Bulletin 'Provision for children under five years of age in England—January 2003', a copy of which is available on the Department's website www. dfes.gov.uk/statistics. The number of free nursery education places taken up by three and four year olds in Gloucestershire Local Education Authority area and England was as follows:

(3) what the cost to public funds is estimated to be per email answered by the charity Parentline; [147717]

(4) what the estimated number of service users is for the email service of the charity Parentline; [147718]

(5) how many parents are expected to benefit from the recent investments made to the charity Parentline. [147719]

Margaret Hodge

Parentline Plus is the operating name of FamilyLives, and was formed through the merger of Parentline UK, Parent Network and the National Stepfamily Association, in winter 1999. Parentline Plus is a registered charity.

Family support helpline

From financial year 2000–01 onwards (the first full financial year applicable), central Government funds supporting Parentline Plus in its work as a family support helpline have been:

2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04
Telephone parenting support funded with Department of Health 20,000 20,922
Parenting Fund (Department for Education and Skills) n/a n/a n/a 1762,690
Totals 190,000 1,060,000 1,068,922 1,762,690
1 Family Support Helpline extension, as detailed below

The Home Office commissioned an evaluation of the Parentline Plus family support helpline. This was carried out between August 2002 and March 2003 by the Thomas Coram Research Unit at the Institute of Education, University of London, and will be published on the Home Office website shortly. The evaluation recognised that Parentline Plus provides a good quality helpline service to over 60,000 callers pa (three quarters of whom were first-time callers), and that further expansion in the helpline service is necessary to meet demand from callers. The charity makes significant use of trained volunteers.

The main work supported by the recent £762,690 investment from the Parenting Fund is:

  1. (a) expanding helpline provision to answer 75,000 calls pa (equivalent to a 25per cent. increase in call numbers);
  2. (b) developing and piloting an email service to answer an anticipated 10,000 emails pa;

2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04
Marriage and Relationship Support Grant (ex- Lord Chancellor's Department, now Department for Education and Skills)
Core funding 60,000 61,500 62,000 62,000
Research and development 40,000
Youth Justice Board (NDPB reporting to Home Office) n/a n/a n/a
Information dissemination, marketing of telephone support service, advice to YJB, equipment for call centres 64,914
Improving Behaviour in School Team (Department for Education and Skills)
Bullying helpline 180,000 183,500 188,928 192,744
Research project on bullying, with Family Service Units 80,000 40,000
Section 64 (ex-Department of Health, now Department for Education and Skills) n/a n/a
Capital grant 5,000
Telephone parenting courses project 20,200 20,700
Teenage Pregnancy Unit (ex-Department of Health, now Department for Education and Skills) n/a
Time to Talk project to help parents talk to their children about sex and relationships (also for staff training). 76,944 97,872
Delivery of work connected to relationship work and helpline 88,500
Sure Start (Department for Education and Skills) n/a n/a n/a 115,000
Children's Fund (Department for Education and Skills) (including funding by Children's Fund partnerships) n/a n/a
Young Runaways helpline project 15,998 31,720
Piloting Services and Disseminating/Alone in London 21,456 74,909
Parenting courses for parents and carers in local communities across Liverpool. 5,785
Wirral Parents' Group and Phoneline project 6,976
Essex helpline services. 3,825
Totals 304,914 382,144 497,739 515,674
1 Preliminary work on Change Development Project

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