§ Mr. Stephen Twigg
[holding answer 5 July 2002]: Tackling rural issues was one of the aspects which was tested in the piloting of the Connexions Service, the results of which were published by the Department for Education and Skills in the 'Lessons Learned from Connexions Pilots' report on 17 October 2001 (Research Brief ref: RB 308, Research Report ref: RR308). The document is available in the House of Commons Library.
We have also recently commissioned the University of Hull to conduct a study into the relative costs associated with delivering Connexions in rural and urban areas. This study will run from July to November 2002 with a report to be published by the Department for Education and Skills within three months of the completion of the field work. The findings of the study will help to inform a planned review of the Connexions funding arrangements due to be undertaken during 2003. All Connexions Partnerships have been informed of the study and are welcome to be involved where they feel that they have a particular contribution.
The Connexions Service is also involved with the Countryside Agency's study developing practice in rural Connexions Partnerships. This study is at the 828W commissioning stage, but we will in due course be disseminating examples of innovative approaches to help Partnerships deliver a high quality multi-agency support service to young people living in rural areas.