§ Helen Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what recent research his Department has commissioned to investigate the underlying causes of truancy; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Jacqui Smith
[holding answer 16 December 1999]: We are aware that truancy is a complex problem with no one single cause or solution. Last year, the Government published "Truancy and School Exclusion" which set out major research findings on the causes and activities needed to address the issue. This publication drew upon research commissioned by the Department including "Truancy in English Secondary Schools" by D. J. O'Keefe and the Audit Commission Report "Misspent Youth; Young People and Crime". In July 1999 we issued new guidance to schools on attendance. On 1 November, we launched "Tackling Truancy Together" which set out our strategy in further detail including evidence of what works in increasing attendance.