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Health Services (Joint Funding)

Volume 930: debated on Thursday 21 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish examples of good practice in joint funding projects by area health authorities and local authorities.

Good practice in joint funding depends upon local circumstances, and for this reason local and health authorities in England have been given a large measure of discretion in deciding how allocations should be used. I have been particularly interested in some of the imaginative projects authorites have planned—for example, provision of intensive domiciary support, night sitting services, appointment of staff to organise group home and lodging schemes for mentally ill or handicapped people, provision of a community mental health centre for use by both the health and the local authority and experimental day centres for the support of mentally handicapped children and their families. My right hon. Friends and I, and officers of my Department, are active in participating in conferences and seminars in which knowledge of these and other projects is disseminated. We will consider in due course publication of descriptions of successful projects.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many local authorities are involved in joint financing of local social services policies with their area health authorities, where (a) capital projects under £50,000 are involved, or (b) no question of loan sanction is involved; what is their total value; and what proportion of this is for capital or revenue schemes.

Information is not available in precisely the form requested. Reports from regional health authorities in England during 1976–77 identified proposals to spend £1·3 million in that year on capital projects costing less than £50,000—including projects where no question of loan sanction arose—and £2·3 million on revenue schemes. Projects costing £50,000 or more of a total value of £1·5 million, where no question of loan sanction arose, were notified.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take action to foster the exchange of information about successful joint funding projects between local authorities and those concerned with their positive development in the United Kingdom.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what monitoring of the use of joint funding his Department is carrying out.

Regional health authorities in England are required to provide information on the use of their joint finance allocations in a form to enable my Department to identify and take up with the authorities issues which call for discussion. Regional health authorities have a similar monitoring rôle within their regions.