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Social Exclusion

Volume 456: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2007

4. What assessment she has made of the role of the personalisation of public services in tackling social exclusion. (112464)

Personalisation is crucial to the effectiveness of public services and tackling social exclusion, particularly among the most disadvantaged. People rightly expect services to be tailored to their own needs and circumstances. That is why the Government have introduced measures such as direct payments for disabled people and those requiring social services, specialised help for struggling pupils at school, and stretching programmes for more talented pupils, as well as the pathways to work programme for disabled people receiving incapacity benefit.

In my constituency, we have many varied social and health needs, so I welcome the approach towards personalising services. However, I am concerned that not all our large public bodies are yet ready to provide that personalisation to the person who walks through the door, be it of the jobcentre or the health centre. What assessment does my hon. Friend make of where we stand now and the direction of travel?

I agree with my hon. Friend that we need to go further. She is right to say that public services must be geared to people’s individual circumstances. We will take more steps in that direction through the projects to support the most vulnerable families and children that will be announced shortly by the Department for Education and Skills and through the work being done by the social exclusion taskforce and the Department for Communities and Local Government on ways to support adults with some of the most difficult multiple and complex needs.