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Social Fund

Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 15 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will correct the figure for the allocation for the social fund to his Department's Glasgow, Provan office, announced in his reply on 4 November to the hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory), Official Report, columns 774–81.

I regret that the figures for the social fund grants and loans budgets for 1988–89 for the Department's Glasgow, Provan office, announced in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory) on 4 November at columns 774–81, were incorrect. The correct figures are as follows:

Grants budget

Loans budget



Glasgow, Provan447,7971,059,669

The correction of these figures brings the total allocations to offices in Scotland to £11,506,069 for grants and £27,143,347 for loans.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what training is being given to his Department's staff in preparation for the introduction of the social fund in 1988.

The training to be provided for clerical staff will consist of self-instruction and microcomputer training which is likely to last one week.The main training for social fund officers (SFOs) will cover a three-week period. During week one each officer will complete a series of linked self-instructional texts each concentrating on a particular aspect of the social fund. They will also study the social fund manual and undertake some background reading.During weeks two and three prospective social fund officers will attend a training course at one of the Department's training centres. This course provides an opportunity for staff to develop the use of discretion and judgment in decision making; this will cover an understanding of the needs of the many client groups who are likely to apply to the social fund—for example, the elderly, the mentally ill and those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. In addition, the social fund officer's liaison role with other statutory and voluntary welfare agencies will be examined. Training will also be given to equip those administering the fund with the knowledge they need to offer money advice to those applications who need it. The review process will also be included. Case studies will feature prominently within the course to help develop further the interviewing skills and technical knowledge of social fund officers. Training on the social fund microcomputer programme will also be given.Higher executive officers, the immediate line managers of social fund officers, will receive training with the addition of a one-day seminar on management, the review process and budgetary issues.Local office managers who will be responsible for the management of the local social fund budget will attend a two-day residential seminar during which their personal role, including liaison with other agencies, budgetary profiling and ongoing budget management will be examined.A video film describing the principles of the social fund is being prepared and will be sent to the Department's

Table 1: Miles covered each year
Non Emergency
Emergency1AmbulancesHired carsAmbulance car serviceTotal
1979Data unavailable due to an industrial dispute

local offices during February 1988. Arrangements are being made for those staff not directly involved in the administration of the social fund to see it.