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Petitions

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010

Petitions

Thursday 8 April 2010

Presented Petitions

Petition presented to the House on Wednesday 7 April 2010 but not read on the Floor

Extension of Franchise to 16-18 Year Olds

The Petition of the students of Coloma Convent High School and the people of Croydon,

Declares that the franchise should be extended to 16 and 17 year olds, so that 16-18 year olds who can currently pay tax, marry, start a family and join the armed forces can have influence in our democracy.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to bring in a bill to enfranchise 16 and 17 year olds.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr. Andrew Pelling.]

[P000822]

Petitions presented to the House on Thursday 8 April 2010 but not read on the Floor

Badman Report (Sunderland North)

The Petition of persons resident in the Sunderland North parliamentary constituency,

Declares that they are concerned about the recommendations of the Badman Report, which suggests closer monitoring of home educators, including a compulsory annual registration scheme and right of access to people’s homes for local authority officials; further declares that the Petitioners believe the recommendations are based on a review that was extremely rushed, failed to give due consideration to the evidence, failed to ensure that the data it collected were sufficiently robust, and failed to take proper account of the existing legislative framework.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families either not to bring forward, or to withdraw, proposed legislative measures providing for tighter registration and monitoring of children educated at home in the absence of a thorough independent inquiry into the condition and future of elective home education in England; but instead to take the steps necessary to ensure that the existing Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities are properly implemented, learning from current best practice, in all local authorities in England.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

[P000828]

Equitable Life (Henley)

The Petition of residents of the constituency of Henley in the Oxford region of the U.K regarding the Government’s response to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s reports on Equitable Life,

Declares that the Petitioners either are or they represent or support members, former members or personal representatives of deceased members of the Equitable Life Assurance Society who have suffered maladministration leading to injustice, as found by the Parliamentary Ombudsman in her report upon Equitable Life, ordered by the House of Commons to be printed on 16 July 2008 and bearing reference number HC 815; and further declares that the Petitioners or those whom they represent or support have suffered regulatory failure on the part of the public bodies responsible from the year 1992 onwards, but have not received compensation for the resulting losses and outrage.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to uphold the constitutional standing of the Parliamentary Ombudsman by complying with the findings and recommendations of her Report upon Equitable Life.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

[P000829]

Student Visas

The Petition of residents of Cambridge (English UK & EFL Organisations),

Declares that the current review of the Tier 4 points based system for Student Visas may result in many fewer legitimate students travelling to the UK to learn English. Further declares that this will lead to the closure of many language schools and reduce the number of foreign students that go into higher education in the United Kingdom.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government whilst recognising the importance of Immigration Control to proceed in a way that does not disadvantage English language schools

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

[P000827]

Observations

Children, Schools and Families

Badman Report (Teignbridge)

The Petition of persons resident in the Teignbridge parliamentary constituency,

Declares that they are concerned about the recommendations of the Badman Report, which suggests closer monitoring of home educators, including a compulsory annual registration scheme and right of access to people’s homes for local authority officials; further declares that the Petitioners believe the recommendations are based on a review that was extremely rushed, failed to give due consideration to the evidence, failed to ensure that the data it collected were sufficiently robust, and failed to take proper account of the existing legislative framework.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families either not to bring forward, or to withdraw, proposed legislative measures providing for tighter registration and monitoring of children educated at home in the absence of a thorough independent inquiry into the condition and future of elective home education in England; but instead to take the steps necessary to ensure that the existing Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities are properly implemented, learning from current best practice, in all local authorities in England.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Richard Younger-Ross, Official Report, 6 April 2010; Vol. 508, c. 29P.]

[P000819]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families:

DCSF commissioned the Badman review of home education in January 2009 and the report was published on 11 June 2009. As part of the review, Graham Badman took written and oral evidence from a range of individuals and organisations who responded to his public call for evidence, including home educators and local authorities. Alongside this he also considered published literature, the current legal position and guidance and the approaches taken in other countries. He was assisted by an expert reference group. I am confident that his report draws from a wide and heterogeneous evidence base.

The Children, Schools and Families Select Committee also considered the Badman report and was supportive of most of the recommendations. It agreed that a short statement of educational approach would be helpful in establishing dialogue between home educating families and local authorities; that an annual meeting between local authorities and home educators was needed; and that better support for home educators and better training for local authorities would together lead to an improvement on the current arrangements.

Our proposals to legislate for a light touch registration and monitoring scheme for home educating families have now been removed from the Children, Schools and Families Bill to enable some parts of the Bill to be passed into law before Parliament is dissolved. However, Government remain committed to introducing such a scheme and to the provision of additional support for home educating families.

High School Provision (Stoke-on-Trent South)

The Petition of residents of Stoke-on-Trent and others,

Declares that there is a desire among the people of the city of Stoke-on-Trent that there should be a High School serving the communities of Longton, Meir, Weston Coyney, Normacot, Dresden, and other areas in that vicinity.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons call upon the Government to take steps to instruct Stoke-on-Trent City Council that it may, as part of the BSF programme, have a “two-school solution” to the issue of the location of the new 20:20 Academy, thereby building a new school on the fields adjacent to Longton High School and continuing to use the Mitchell High School.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr. Robert Flello, Official Report, 30 March 2010; Vol. 508, c. 786.]

[P000801]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families:

It is the responsibility of the Local Authority (Stoke-on-Trent City Council) to determine the estates strategy that will be applied to the delivery of Building Schools for the Future (BSF) in Stoke-on-Trent. I understand that the Local Authority’s vision is now well developed and ready for detailed planning to start. The Local Authority could however, choose to re-examine its estates strategy, and submit a revised Outline Business Case in the light of its re-examination. There is no barrier to the Local Authority bringing forward a revised proposal should it wish to do so; incorporating an altered number of schools or altered locations. There is a risk however that this may delay the delivery of BSF in the city, as a new Outline Business Case would need to be assessed and approved. The existing proposals would need to be placed on hold while any changes to the existing estates strategy were considered. If the delay was prolonged, the allocation of funding for this project may run beyond the deadline by which the current allocation of funding is required to be spent.

It is for the Local Authority to identify a suitable site for the Discovery Academy. I understand that the Local Authority is conducting a feasibility study on a number of sites, and is currently undertaking consultation on this matter, so the ultimate site has yet to be confirmed.

Health

Diabetes Services (Croydon)

The Petition of the people of Croydon,

Declares that in Croydon there is good work being done to combat diabetes and that Croydon now needs more screening tests for diabetes; more albumin creative ratio checks and HbA1C tests for those already living with diabetes; and Government support for Croydon’s services that combat the diabetic arterial diseases that can lead to amputations; and that with the right support amputations could be cut by 30 per cent. through better total care and public health education to allow for earlier intervention to stop amputations.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to support Croydon’s services that combat the diabetic arterial diseases and to encourage health providers to make available more screening tests for diabetes and more albumin creative ratio checks and HbA1C tests fur those already living with diabetes.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr. Andrew Pelling, Official Report, 30 March 2010; Vol. 508, c. 790.]

[P000813]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Health:

The Diabetes National Service Framework highlights the importance of people with diabetes having regular checks. The annual review enables the person with diabetes and their healthcare professional to discuss the results of key tests and measurements, and for any complications to be identified as early as possible.

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) rewards practices for the number of patients with diabetes who receive key care processes, including measuring blood pressure, HbAlc (blood glucose) and cholesterol.

Although the Department of Health provides strategic leadership to the NHS and social care organisations in England, it is for local NHS organisations to plan, develop and improve services for local people.

Croydon PCT considers the improvement of the overall performance on the HbAlc target to be a key priority. The PCT is also working to improve access to and consistency of specialist diabetes care during admission to hospital for other reasons.

GPs (Croydon)

The Petition of the people of Croydon,

Declares that having only three GPs on call from midnight to 8am covering 370,000 residents in Croydon is clearly inadequate and forces Croydon residents into more expensive care at A&E thus wasting public money.

The Petitioners therefore call upon the House of Commons to urge the Government to direct Croydon NHS to provide for more GP overnight coverage.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr. Andrew Pelling, Official Report, 30 March 2010; Vol. 789, c. 508.]

[P000812]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Health:

PCTs have a responsibility to ensure they provide, or secure provision of, a sustainable out of hours GP service for their local population in line with National Quality Requirements.

The National Quality Requirements require providers to demonstrate their ability to meet predictable fluctuations in demand. PCTs and their providers should provide the level of resource needed to meet the National Quality Requirements.

Where a provider is failing to meet the Quality Requirements, PCTs as commissioners of the service and SHAs must act to support providers to improve their performance. NHS London will provide any support necessary to Croydon PCT if the organisation is not meeting the National Quality Requirements.

Although the Department of Health provides strategic leadership to the NHS and social care organisations in England, it is for local NHS organisations to plan, develop and improve services for local people.

Leader of the House

Christian Values

The Petition of Premier Christian Radio and others,

Declares that 20,000 Christians have stated, in a campaign organised by Premier Christian Radio, that they intend to vote in the forthcoming election in line with Christian values; and that the Petitioners believe that business as usual has damaged the credibility of Parliament and is unacceptable.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons take all steps necessary to restore the credibility of Parliament.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sir Alan Beith, Official Report, 7 April 2010; Vol. 508, c. 1145.]

[P000821]

Observations from the Leader of the House of Commons:

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority was established in July 2009 by the Parliamentary Standards Act to ensure the allowances system is governed by independent external regulation. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority announced the new scheme for MPs’ allowances on 29 March; the scheme can be viewed at: http://www.parliamentarystandards.org.uk/. The new scheme will be in place for the beginning of the next Parliament.