asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what representations he has received about the dilution of the disablement resettlement office and blind persons' resettlement officer services; if he will list the organisations which have expressed concern about such dilution; if he is aware of the possible hardship such dilution will cause to disabled people seeking employment; and if the will make a statement;(2) how many full-time disablement resettlement officers and blind persons' resettlement officers have been employed by the Manpower Services Commission each year since 1970; whether the staffing levels of these specialist placing services are related to the numbers of blind, partially sighted and disabled people seeking employment whether registered disabled or not and to the general level of unemployment in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 24 November 1981, c. 344]: I have received no representations specifically about any dilution of services provided by disablement resettlement officers and blind persons' resettlement officers. There has been no significant change since 1970 in the staff resources allocated. However, precise information about the number of full time officers employed each year is not available because both the number of officers in post and the mix between full and part time officers has varied from time to time with the movements of individual staff, and the demands put on the service locally.Between 1970 and 1980 disablement resettlement officers in post numbered around 520. During 1980 there were about 530 disablement resettlement officers in post. Both these figures include full and part-time officers. The number of BPRO posts has also not changed significantly over the period, and is currently 38, again including both full and part-time officers.The overall staffing levels of these services are not directly related to the number of unemloyed disabled people. But I well recognise the difficulties facing disabled people seeking employment in the present situation, and in spite of the need to make economies elsewhere the Government has asked the Manpower Services Commission to maintain the level of its services to disabled people.